10 ways to give thanks to open source and free software maintainers

10 ways to give thanks to open source and free software maintainers

How to express your gratitude.

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Every day, I use high-quality software that is developed and maintained by people who do not ask for payment, who respect my freedoms, and who are generous with their time and energy.

In this season of giving thanks, I encourage those of you who also use and appreciate the work of open source and free software maintainers to express your gratitude. Here are ten ways to do that:

Easy to do

  1. Send an e-mail thanking the developers. Be specific—tell them what you are using their software for and how it has benefited you.
  2. Use your favorite social media platform to spread the word.
  3. Write a blog post about your favorite software.

Give money

  1. If your favorite open source projects accept donations, send money.
  2. If you are employed by a company that uses open source software, see if you can convince management to sponsor some of the projects.
  3. Offer to match donations up to a set amount. It is amazing what social motivation can do!

Give time

  1. Help review patches.
  2. Help triage bugs.
  3. Answer questions on IRC, mailing lists, or Stack Overflow.

10. Bonus: If you are like me, you have at some point said harsh words to other people in the open source community. Commit to do better: Communicate with kindness and openness. The best way to give thanks is to make the open source community a place where people feel comfortable communicating.

About the author

Moshe sitting down, head slightly to the side. His t-shirt has Guardians of the Galaxy silhoutes against a background of sound visualization bars.
Moshe Zadka - Moshe has been involved in the Linux community since 1998, helping in Linux "installation parties". He has been programming Python since 1999, and has contributed to the core Python interpreter. Moshe has been a DevOps/SRE since before those terms existed, caring deeply about software reliability, build reproducibility and other such things. He has worked in companies as small as three people and as big as tens of thousands -- usually some place around where software meets system administration...