commit 7d03cc44dc895cd28ee8f55cdfc45de0f672f294
parent fb6ca95c7db0d814201922e80d53392f0e81aafb
Author: Oscar Benedito <>
Date:   Wed, 11 Nov 2020 19:27:17 +0100

New entry: Give back to free and open source software

Acontent/blog/ | 58++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 58 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/content/blog/ b/content/blog/ @@ -0,0 +1,58 @@ +<!-- title: Give back to free and open source software --> +<!-- slug: give-back-to-foss --> +<!-- categories: FOSS, Miscellany --> +<!-- date: 2020-11-11T18:25:00Z --> + +Most people make use of free and open source software—or services based on +it—that is made available to the public for free. And I mean free, not services +that you pay with your data, but those that are truly free of cost. Projects +that rely on donations, grants, and the resources of the maintainers (and most +of the time it's only the latter). If you are a heavy user of FOSS, you are +probably already aware of this, but even if you are not a big user, you probably +still use Wikipedia (or other sites based on the same engine), the VLC media +player, or others. + +These programs are great, not only because they are universally affordable (have +no cost!), but because they are focussed on the user. Their goal is to serve the +user, not the developer, which often involves software that is more private, +useful and easy to adapt to your needs. Software that doesn't break after a +couple of years, and that keeps working even on older devices. + +But this post is not about how great FOSS is, but about helping out these +projects. All projects have a cost, if there is no monetary cost, then there +must be people behind it contributing their time and energy. If you regularly +enjoy some of this software, consider giving back to the developers. This kind +of project normally requires a lot fewer resources than commercial ones, and +even then, the maintainers normally carry most of the burden. By helping out, we +can enlarge the community and have more people working on it, as well as help +current projects grow. How can we help? Glad you asked! + +- **Donate**: It's easy, doesn't require a lot of your resources, and it helps. + My biggest issue is normally convenience. If every time that I have the + thought "this is very useful, I should donate", I could press a button to give + 2 euros, I would probably do it. The problem is that there is no such + convenient button. My most successful strategy has been thinking about a + handful of projects I wanted to donate, and then sit down on my computer and + donate a bigger amount to each one of them. This way I only have to do it once + every so many months, instead of a little donation every two weeks. +- **Report bugs**: Instead of complaining that something doesn't work, take some + time to make sure it's something about the program (not just you messing up) + and, if it is, go to the project's bug tracker and either apport more details + to an already open issue or file a new one if you can't find it there. This is + can be more time-consuming depending on the bug, but it's free (except for the + time you pay, of course :)). +- **Translate**: This one takes even more time! Is that program not in your + native language? Translate it yourself! +- **Send patches**: If you want a new feature, there is an annoying bug, etc., + consider jumping into the code and implement it/solve it on your own (or + asking for some help doing it). + +There are other ways to help (feel free to contact me if you think of more and +I'll add them), but these are the ones that come to mind. I partially wanted the +post to be a reminder that donating money and coding are not the only ways to +help. In particular, reporting bugs is something most users will be able to do +and it helps—you can't fix it if you don't know about it. On the other hand, +depending on the project, such bugs will get fixed in a matter of days, so +you'll be able to reap the benefit. + +Enjoy a project? Help out!