New Year’s resolution: Donate to 1 free software project every month

Donating just a little bit helps ensure the open source software I use remains alive

Donate to 1 free software project every month
Credit: Ingram Publishing

Free and open source software is an absolutely critical part of our world—and the future of technology and computing. One problem that consistently plagues many free software projects, though, is the challenge of funding ongoing development (and support and documentation). 

With that in mind, I have finally settled on a New Year’s resolution for 2017: to donate to one free software project (or group) every month—or the whole year. After all, these projects are saving me a boatload of money because I don’t need to buy expensive, proprietary packages to accomplish the same things.

+ Also on Network World: Free Software Foundation shakes up its list of priority projects +

I’m not setting some crazy goal here—not requiring that I donate beyond my means. Heck, some months I may be able to donate only a few bucks. But every little bit helps, right? 

To help me accomplish that goal, below is a list of free software projects with links to where I can donate to them. Organized by categories, just because. I’m scheduling a monthly calendar item to remind me to bring up this page and donate to one of these projects. 

This isn’t a complete list—not by any measure—but it’s a good starting point. Apologies to the (many) great projects out there that I missed.

Linux distributions 

elementary OS — In addition to the distribution itself (which is based, in part, on Ubuntu), this team also develops the Pantheon desktop environment. 

Solus — This is a “from scratch” distro using their own custom-developed desktop environment, “Budgie.” 

Ubuntu MATE — It’s Ubuntu—with Unity ripped off and replaced with MATE. I like to think of this as “What Ubuntu was like back when I still used Ubuntu.” 

Debian — If you use Ubuntu or elementary or Mint, you are using a system based on Debian. Personally, I use Debian on my PocketCHIP.

Linux components 

PulseAudio — PulsAudio is all over the place now. If it stopped being supported and maintained, that would be… highly inconvenient. 

Productivity/Creation 

Gimp — The GNU Image Manipulation Program is one of the most famous free software projects—and the standard for cross-platform raster design tools. 

FreeCAD — When people talk about difficulty in moving from Windows to Linux, the lack of CAD software often crops up. Supporting projects such as FreeCAD helps to remove that barrier. 

OpenShot — Video editing on Linux (and other free software desktops) has improved tremendously over the past few years. But there is still work to be done. 

Blender — What is Blender? A 3D modelling suite? A video editor? A game creation system? All three (and more)? Whatever you use Blender for, it’s amazing. 

Inkscape — This is the most fantastic vector graphics editing suite on the planet (in my oh-so-humble opinion). 

LibreOffice / The Document Foundation — I am writing this very document in LibreOffice. Donating to their foundation to help further development seems to be in my best interests. 

Software development 

Python Software Foundation — Python is a great language and is used all over the place. 

Free and open source foundations 

Free Software Foundation — “The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.” 

Software Freedom Conservancy — “Software Freedom Conservancy helps promote, improve, develop and defend Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects.” 

Again—this is, by no means, a complete list. Not even close. Luckily many projects provide easy donation mechanisms on their websites.

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