Funding Open Source Automatically

For a very long time I’ve been considering contributing to open source financially not just with code contributions. The model I was originally working on was one where I’d “buy” the free-as-in-beer open source software that I was using regularly. Looking at my software stack it’s almost all projects which don’t necessarily have huge corporate backing. Yes I use GitHub but that’s essentially Microsoft at this point. Yes I use Java but that foundation has huge corporate sponsors. Yes I use Linux which has lots of sponsors for some pieces but the projects I use are the smaller off to the side ones. So how did my “buy the software” model work? It turns out that plan sucks.

For example I once “purchased” a Linux Mint license but it turned out that was a year ago even though it only felt like a couple months ago. I did give last year to the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and will again this year. However these contributions are much fewer and further between than I planned. When I thought about it more this morning I noticed that the monthly subscription model I use to contribute financially to Avalonia worked far better. These aren’t huge life changing donations, on the order of a Starbucks cup of coffee or two, but if a lot of people did the same thing it could have a profound effect on the funding of open source software projects. So this morning I went through the list of my favorite and most used open source and free-as-in-beer software and set up monthly recurring donations. I’ve decided to publish that list (but not amounts) to raise their profile. Some you’ve undoubtably heard of but others may be new to you. As I see software I regularly use I’ll keep adding to the list little by little. These were almost all contributed to either by (which ever the project’s options were in order of my personal preference if multiple): Patreon, Open Collective, or PayPal Auto-payments.

Name Type Reason
Linux Mint Operating System My go-to desktop/workstation OS
Ubuntu MATE Operating System My second favorite desktop/workstation OS
Debian Operating System My go-to server OS and the base of my favorite OS’s one step removed (Ubunt in between)
LibreOffice Office Suite My go-to office suite. I don’t even use MS Office anymore
Mozilla Web Browser My favorite web browser and big open web advocate organization
Avalonia Developer Tools The only real Linux supporting cross-platform .NET framework to make desktop software
Gitlab Developer Tools My favorite software project hosting system (ForgeFed up and coming though)
Project Lombok Developer Tools When I need to do Java makes the code far more sane and modern (see this article)
Diasp.org Fediverse My original Diaspora host. Although not actively using since moving to Friendica I still like contributing to D*
Feneas Fediverse An organization meant to help foster growth and outreach of the fediverse to far more people
Free Software Foundation (FSF) Open Source Org An organization committed to open source and libre software advocacy and funding


Picture of Me (Hank)

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