Why am I doing this?

For several years I have been working on a software project in my spare time. I want to release it as an Open Source project. Why?

Every month I see one or two horror stories on Slashdot about people who try to work on open source projects and the many conflicts it can cause with their day job.

So why would I want to put myself in that kind of mess?

The answer is simple ... but long, so bear with me. When I was younger, especially in high school, I thought I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write The Great American Novel. So I tried for a while. But it didn't take long for me to realize that you can't just say, "I'm gonna write The Great American Novel," and just go and do it. It doesn't work that way at all. In fact it's sort of the opposite. Sometimes there is a story (or painting or song or whatever) inside you just trying to get out. That's the one that's going to be great. But you can't plan it. You have to just live your life and try to be ready for it to happen. And go with it when it does wherever it takes you.

So that's where Open Source comes in. I have all of these ideas about software. Everyday I go to work and witness how not to do it. And every night I go home and try to get it right.

I think software can be rightly compared to art in the way I have suggested above. It is just one of many means of expression. I don't mean to imply, however, that I see myself as a Steinbeck or Hemmingway, or a Torvolds or Stallman. Anyway, that would be for others to decide and I don't really concern myself with it.

And I'm not doing this to "be like Linus" or to "further the cause". Which are the typical reasons (especially the latter one) I see listed (again in /. type stories) about why people work on open source software. And certainly not for the money (though I would take some if it was dropped in my lap).

See it's my thing. I made it and it should have my name on it. I want control of it and I don't want it to ever be locked away from me in some bureaucratic bit closet when the vicissitudes of business life cause projects to get canned or divisions to get reorganized.

Can I just have that?