In September (2017), and in line with the ethos that governs Geoger, I donated a proportion of the previous year’s profits to three of the open source communities that produce or support the software that I use regularly. Donations were made to QGIS, SAGA GIS and NumFocus. In future years I hope to increase the amounts donated and/or the diversity of the receiving projects depending on the success of Geoger. Ideally, as my skills increase, and depending on the time available to me, I would also give back more broadly to the FOSS4G and Earth observation communities through donations of code, data or time. Still, we have to start somewhere, and money is always a welcome thing I imagine.
Whilst we are on the topic of donating to open source projects, I encourage you to have a look at the following articles:
- Are donations effective for open source projects?
- Should you donate to open source projects?
- Give back and support open source
And also the following about open source business and licence compliance models. They aren’t directly about donations and support, but they give some context to the discussions around the use of open source software.
- An economically efficient model for open source software license compliance
- Choosing a Model for Your Open Source Business
Some interesting points are made in these articles. It is stated that “donations are rarely a driving force behind the development of an open source product” and that “basically … open source projects run on time, not money“. This is true but I still think that making a donation helps the overall project and also demonstrates one method of thanking the developers. A similar method of stating that thanks is to buy any swag offered by the community/project – as long as it is useful to you. I agree with the point that “if the donation stream is not regular and dependable enough to allow project team members to either quit their jobs (if working full-time) or reduce contracted hours (if working freelance), then donations are not going to add more dev time to the project” but I also think I can help as all financial donations help “to pay off some external costs like hosting or running some ads“. My view of this is that “it is important to support open source software in order to ensure its continuing development and availability. I encourage you to pick a project you appreciate and donate time and talent or money to support it“.
All donations help in some way, so Geoger will continue to help support open source where it can.