Author: Oscar Benedito <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 19:27:17 +0100
New entry: Give back to free and open source software
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+<!-- 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!