Do You Have an Extra $10?

on Bradley Taunt's blog

As software designers and developers, think of all the little things that we spend $10 on. Maybe it’s a couple coffees over the course of a week. Maybe it’s a TV streaming subscription. Maybe it’s an impulse buy while we’re out shopping for groceries. Maybe it goes into a mason jar on top of the fridge, stored away for a rainy day.

$10 doesn’t seem like a ton of money, but a little does go a long way. What if, combined with other people, that $10 could grow and support an open source project? A project that you might even use every day without cost.

Plenty of people already do this - it’s nothing new. If you already contribute to the open source community (whether through code or donations) then this post isn’t really geared towards you. You’re already helping out and are greatly appreciated. Feel free to stop reading right now and continue on with your day!

But, if you’re like how I used to be, you might be one of those people who enjoys the idea of donating to a FOSS project instead of actually doing so. That’s fine. Zero judgement here since I was doing exactly that for years. All I ask is for you to try it out for even a couple months. You’ll soon realize that $10 doesn’t break the bank, while at the same time, you get that “warm, fuzzy feeling” of supporting important projects/communities.

In a way, it’s actually kind of selfish. You start doing it more for the feel good endorphin that kicks in each time you donate. At least, that’s been my experience…

Open Source isn’t Free

Maintaining any open source project takes years of prior design/development experience, along with sacrificing personal time. Contributors might enjoy working on their project. Most probably love connecting with their end-users and community - but their time is still a hard requirement.

I believe this time is worth paying for. If a project you depend on were to suddenly “shut down”, how much time, effort, and income do you stand to lose? Is it more than $10 a month?

“Donating? In THIS Economy?”

Things aren’t great for a lot of folks financially right now. I’m not ignorant to this fact and completely understand people tightening their belts. We all have to. I’m merely suggesting that if you have the means to support FOSS communities with any disposable income, you should. And I’m not suggesting a lot - just ten bucks.

Allow me to put my money where my mouth is and showcase my own $10 donation breakdown:

My $10 Breakdown

Service Cost/month
sourcehut $5.00
fosstodon $3.00
qutebrowser $2.00

In case you are reading the post at a later point in time, the most up-to-date donation listing can always be found on my official Uses page.

SourceHut

To be fair, this is an active service which just so happens to be available for “free” in its current state. Drew mentions on the main pricing page that payment is currently optional, but will eventually require maintainers to upgrade (contributors will always have free access):

sr.ht is currently in alpha, and the quality of the service may reflect that. As such, payment is currently optional, and only encouraged for users who want to support the ongoing development of the site.

I still consider this “donating” since it helps keep this specific instance alive. It’s also my main code forge since I’ve been migrating away from GitHub. I want to see SourceHut succeed, so while I could use the service completely free, I believe it’s more than worth it to coverage my usage.

Fosstodon

fosstodon.org is my main “social” platform and the Mastodon instance I chose to join some time ago. The people I’ve interacted with have been nothing but helpful, insightful and fun. The maintainers are also very down to earth (shoutout to Kev specifically for making my initial experience great!)

Hosting a large Mastodon instance can become expensive. Not to mention the recent influx of Twitter users flocking to the platform in general. Fosstodon recently posted an update detailing how their server costs are now >$1800. That’s insane.

The least I can do is toss a few bucks towards the service. I know it isn’t much, but it certainly feels better than using such an awesome platform for absolutely nothing. Keep up the great work maintainers/mods!

qutebrowser

The best browser I have ever used. I refuse to go back to Firefox or even FireDragon/Pale Moon. I’m only currently donating $2 but my goal is to increase this in the future before adding any other services / communities to my “collection”. If you haven’t yet tried it, I highly recommend it.

Food for Thought

That’s really all there is for me to say on the matter. It essentially comes down to personal preference and the financial ability to donate. As I said before: there is no judgement here. All I’m suggesting is that people do what they can to help support the FOSS projects they love.

And really, it’s just $10.

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