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Open Source: Why?

So I won't re-write everything I just posted on C++ Soup about cpp-netlib 0.9.1 being released. I'll just point you over to that blog post and talk about something else in this entry. What I do want to write about is more of a reflection on my reasoning for why I do open source development. I feel like I need to write this down in a more thought-out form with better structure than what I've tried doing before.

Different people have different reasons to do open source development. Some do it for the fame. Some do it to put it in their resume. Some people do it for a living. Some people do it because they don't have anything else to do. Some people do it because they believe it's the right thing to do. I'm none of the above.

I do open source development because I love sharing. I see open source development as a means of collaboratively solving a problem and reaping the results of the process. It's the journey and the destination in my view.

There's something very self-less as well as selfish when you do open source development. I can't say that doing open source hasn't helped me get my name out. I can't say that it hasn't gotten me work. Open source involvement has done these things for me among other things. It has helped me get my name out there as well. However the selfish parts aren't nearly as interesting to me as the self-less part.

Altruism is a funny thing. I really do want to help a lot of people solve the same problems I've had to face as well before. The C++ Network library started because I felt frustrated with all the existing networking solutions in C++ and I thought there might be a different way of doing things that would work. Along the way I discovered a few things that I've shared to like-minded peers. I've learned a lot about myself in the process that I share as well in case others would see something useful in what I learn. The things I do for altruism include open source development because I think code that I write and expose for everyone else to read has the potential to help others see the value in sharing.

I do open source development because it makes me happy to share with the world at large a solution to some problem. It's one way for me to exercise my problem solving skills and keep improving myself in the process as well as help whoever might need the help I can offer.

It's the same reason I volunteer, the same reason I donate, and the same reason I share as much as I can. I do it because it makes me happy.

Do you develop open source? I'd love to know why.


  1. I do open source because I am a craftsman and my idea of fun is creating something useful.

  2. I develop open source for a few reasons.

    First, I believe it's what makes sense to foster progress. If not for open source, the wheel would continuously be re-invented. To solve the same problem over and over again needlessly is stagnation.

    Secondly, I love to share information. If I improve on an existing solution or provide a new solution altogether, I want all others interested to be able to benefit from my insights.

  3. I do open source because that's the best interface between the academic and business worlds


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