To open source or not to open source

I guess I haven't blogged in a few months. Oops. I probably should have, just to write down what's been happening. Here's what's relevant to this post anyway: I got a Windows Phone 7 pre-production device a while ago, and right now I'm using a production LG Optimus 7 as my everyday phone (and loving it).

I have just released my first WP7 Marketplace app, Network Suite. I've had a few sales already, less than a dozen, but I'm not really expecting much sales from a tool like that. Since that app is now released, I'm considering making a game for WP7 as my next project. More than that, I want to open source it with the intention of having the developer community help out with additional features.

However, therein lies my dilemma. I have already done something like this in the past, and it has not worked out the way I'd hoped. My Windows Mobile app ArkSwitch, which has tens of thousands of downloads, is used by a lot of people, and is installed by default in most custom ROMs today, was open sourced soon after its release in the hopes that the community would help me fix bugs and add features. I have had exactly one person do that at one point in time. That's it. People do download the source code; I can see that on CodePlex. But nobody else is offering to help in any way.

So why should I open source my new game? On one hand, I want to do it regardless of the amount of help I get just so that there's more WP7 code out there that other developers can look at and learn from. That's important. On the other hand, though, I'd probably want to charge a small amount for the game in the Marketplace, and there is nothing preventing an unscrupulous developer from taking that exact same code and submitting it to the Marketplace as well with little or no changes and a different price (or the same price, or free, whatever). I know for a fact that I would be rather upset at such an occurrence. Not because I would be losing potential sales (well, a little because of that) but mainly because this developer did none of the work and is getting rewarded for copying that of others, be it monetarily or in terms of recognition.

So I am seeking advice from my fellow developers. What do you think about open sourcing a project like this? Am I being petty about this? Jaded? Naive? Please let me know your thoughts on this subject, either via comments below or on Twitter. I would appreciate it immensely.

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