Free and open source software (FOSS). I bet you use it somewhere in your computing life. Whether that’s at home, through a web browser such as Firefox, or at work using LibreOffice or QGIS. Although the word ‘free’ is used in the name, as with much in life there will be a cost incurred somewhere in the generation of the software. This means that users, if they can, should help support those who develop, package, and disseminate the software. The key word when discussing how you can interact positively with FOSS is support. There are four main ways of supporting the software projects:
- Financial contributions
- Reporting bugs
- Developing code
- Developing documentation
There is a fifth thing that you can do which might not help the project per se, but is a nice thing to do and helps the development teams understand who is using and appreciates their efforts. Publicly thank the project teams.
Although Geoger does contribute financially through donations to QGIS, SAGA and NumFocus (see this post) I wanted to take the time with this post to say a thank you to the development teams of the software I use and to acknowledge the main FOSS used by me at Geoger (a lot of the general purpose software also runs over into my home life).
So thank you, to all the developers, sponsors, community members and documentation writers for their inputs into the following software:
- SAGA GIS
- Orfeo Tool Box
- Anaconda Python, and all the associated libraries
- LibreOffice (now and again)
- Visual Studio Code
There are probably more but I think I have captured the main projects that I use. If you use open source software, why don’t you take the time to say thank you too. And if you are able, to contribute your time, knowledge, or money to help out further. It’s all to the benefit of the wider community.