How d-jon started?
2 years ago I was working on the java version of Bizagi (http://www.bizagi.com) and the team started to use TSP (Team Software Process) in order to develop the new rendering module, one of the key features of TSP is the ability to measure the time spend on every single task you do on your job, that's how I started to use several linux tools to track my time and all of them were unsuccessful, most of the tools because they're unable to track if I'm working on my desk or leave the office soon, if I forgot to stop the timer when I decide to take my lunch then I had to get back and pinpoint at what time I leave the office, same happens when my boss (or a coworker) ask me a question about some other subject, when I come back to my desk I did not know how much time I spend assisting somebody else, one of the tools lost all my records without any warning, etc etc... I got tired of this and decided to create a simple tool to track my time.
Some months later I realized that my tool was getting stronger, and stronger, so I decided it worth the effort to put d-jon on the web, that's how I did the first refactor of all the code to create a less buggy application, at first I was the only user so I can deal with some bugs, but now that the application is going to be on web I have to fix them.
Vision Software, the company I have been working for 7 years, decided that this tool was good enough to replace the Allnetic solution that was buggy and has several issues. 1 year later d-jon has over 10.000 downloads and it is been used in several Countries, I'm pretty happy that it filled the gap between professional solutions and the free ones.
Why going open?
First of all, one of the most difficult tasks is to get some feedback from the users, not because they don't want, just because there is a lot of spammers out there willing to put porn and viagra ads in every site they can, I started a forum and tried to keep the spammers out of it but was a futile war, they won... crash and burn me, I do not have the time to deal with web issues, and be a policeman of every post on my site, that's why I closed the forum, I had to spend too much time deleting spam messages, then figuring out how to keep the spammers out, etc... I prefer to use that time to improve the application and not to keep these unwanted people out of my life,
So, what if the users do the extensions and fit the tool to their expectations? that's why I decided to open the source code, to let the users improve it and get the best from the tool.
I need to do several things before publishing the code, like license to be used, put all the documentation about the code, create a standard structrure (make and all of that stuff), etc etc... but I thing it worth the effort.