On Fear of Open Source

It might sound dumb, but open source terrifies me. I love reading about people suffering from impostor syndrome. I’m also pretty sure that’s why I write a blog post about once every 2 years.

With open source, I have no clue how the licenses work… I created a fork of an open source markdown editor, and took parts of other open source code to make it work how I want. School taught me how to put software together, but I don’t think it ever taught me how to deal with licenses and open source.

The original license is GPLv3. So most of that is okay, but for the preview, I am using MIT Licensed CSS. So while I try to figure out open source licensing and deal with my solitary confinement, let me tell you the story of the Markdown editor I wanted to keep just for myself.


In my last post, I said I was using Quilter. I still follow the development and try to identify areas I can contribute. Some issues I ran into was apps on elementary OS render differently that on Ubuntu, and something about fear of a pull request being rejected.

I also wanted something closer to Ulysses from macOS. There are a bunch of Electron Markdown applications, but they don’t feel or act native.

I started calling my project ThiefMD, since I’d just be stealing code and concepts from other programs. Whenever I go back to macOS or Windows, it’s because I’m missing some utility that satisfies both the functionality I need along with the emotional response.

With open source, I can work on making the software I use be both functional and elicit the emotional response I’m looking for, but I also have no idea if I’m possibly doing something illegal.

Opening up the code to everyone also increases my fear of scrutiny. I started working on Quilter and ThiefMD to learn Vala. The library is a TreeView and the sheets are Buttons with some CSS. As I look more and more at the code, I feel embarrassed about some decisions younger-me made.

While I like to think I’ll use this tool to write some great novel, I normally use it just to organize my Jekyll blog.


ThiefMD has actually reached the phase we’re I’m happy to use it. There’s a lot more I want to do, but I’ve reached a point where I’m proud of what I accomplished so far.

You can check out the releases on GitHub.