I have been noticing (or may be it's just a feeling?) that many of TeX and friends contributors/enthusiasts are Europeans rather than North Americans despite that fact that the fathers of TeX and LaTeX are from the US. Am I right on this? If so, is this a general trend in the open source/free culture movement? Does it reflect a more socialist inclined societies? What are you opinions on this.
A big obstacle why TeX is not so much fiddled with in US is the academic practice that is one of the main driving forces, if not the biggest, behind the need to create/tweak TeX related things.
In US, MSc and PhD theses are very tightly, and unfortunately often with very little typographical taste, specified. Hence, you don't get to procrastinate with TeX as much as in other countries when you feel like you need to adjust the timer of your toaster to UNIX time or assign seventh button of your mouse to tile your desktop windows according to the golden ratio.
Based on my biased perspective people who get hooked up with TeX during the studies either never touch it again or get more and more involved.
Even PDFTeX is written by Hàn Thế Thành during his PhD thesis.
To invoke a political argument, you need to invoke governmental and private sector contributions with actual numbers, otherwise it becomes yet another stereotypical justification to a hypothesis. If that was true, then we wouldn't have, say for Python world, IPython, the whole scientific stack NumPy, SciPy etc. which are equally socialist in their nature and contributed mainly from US together with conferences such as PyCon.
Base numbers: inhabitants of US and Canada: ca. 350 mn, Europe: more than 700 mn people. Occam's razor: forget about socialism in Europe being a reason for European inhabitants to use LaTeX.
To say it in a more friendly manner: come to Europe and see it with your own eyes. Don't believe what people say who never have been here.