With my move away from macOS in 2017 to open source operating systems I was aware that my software spending would reduce as most software I use these days is provided without financial cost. I decided early in the year to try to make a point to redirect these savings towards some of the projects I was now benefiting from as well as to some people that were doing interesting work. In addition, I wanted to ramp up my own open source contributions.
I acknowledge that I’m very lucky to be in the privileged position to have the means to contribute time and money to these projects and I’m by no means suggesting everyone must do the same. I am still far away from contributing to all the projects I benefit from but am thankful for all the time and effort that goes into each and every one.
I started the year running elementary as my macOS replacement and was strongly incentivised to see it succeed. I contributed through bug bounties, recurring payments on Patreon, merchandise and an Indiegogo campaign.
I run NetBSD on a little $15 a year server but also have a soft spot for it as it was the first UNIX like OS I installed many year ago. NetBSD doesn’t get all that much attention these days but they have some interesting projects like pkgsrc, Rump kernel, and anita, so it was important to me to send some dollars their way. NetBSD don’t have a recurring donation mechanism so I made a one off donation at the end of the year.
I don’t run OpenBSD directly, aside from an install on my laptop to check in with its progress now and then. However, the project has had a huge impact on the software world and in my opinion doesn’t get enough credit (or funds) for this. Some of their projects of note are:
GNOME is the desktop environment I use on all my systems now. I like the integration of all the components and the relatively uncluttered UI. The project is huge, spanning low level libraries, the GTK toolkit, applications built with these libraries, and the desktop environment itself.
Mozilla make my browser of choice, Firefox, but also favourite programming language, Rust. They’re also strong proponents for the open web and pushing new technologies like web assembly forward. I contribute through recurring donation.
I use Neovim pretty much every day and it is one of the primary tools I use in my day job. This very post was written in it. Supporting its continued development is definitely in my interest. I contribute through recurring donation.
These are people doing interesting work or are responsible for things I benefit from.
- Jeremy Soller is creating Redox OS, an MIT licensed OS written in Rust. $60
- Gargron is creating the Mastodon federated social network. You can find me at https://mastodon.social/@wezm. $40
- Jorge Aparicio is doing fantastic work building Rust tooling and pushing the state of the art of Rust on microcontrollers. $35
- Steve Wills does a stack of work on FreeBSD ports/packages. $10
- Drew DeVault (sircmpwn) is building a bunch of interesting open source tools, including the sway tiling Wayland compositor for Linux and FreeBSD. $15
Bug bounties seem like a nice way to make bug fixes more appealing, reward folks that fix bugs you’ve encountered or to make a feature request a little more rewarding for a developer. Excluding the bounties that resulted from my elementary use detailed above I also posted these bounties:
|GNOME - vte||$100|
Other One Off Contributions
Open Source Contributions
In addition to financial contributions, in 2017 I also tried to make more open source contributions, both to projects and by releasing my own work. Some of these were just small README improvements, others were new features or operating system support. Some of the highlights are:
- Add, fix, or improve FreeBSD and OpenBSD support in the nix, libc, rust-users crates.
- Various small fixes to the dot, dotfiles manager.
- Replace the deprecated use of
serdein the maxminddb crate.
- Convert the Scala STM documentation from Textile to Markdown so that their website could be brought back online.
- Create and maintain some AUR packages.
- Build and publish titlecase tool and crate.
So all up I donated $1,351.48. That’s likely more than I would have spent on commercial software in the year but still not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. I hope it helps all these great projects.
In the past year I am happy with the code and documentation contributions I made. In the future I’d like to be releasing or contributing more sizable chunks of code… We’ll see how that goes in 2018.