Raise awareness

Last night, I made a 50 dollars donation to the FreeBSD foundation, which supports the open source operating system I run on my server.

If you’re like me, you’re using lots of open source projects. Maybe you’e even contributing to some of them. All of them need support. None of them deserve help more than another. Picking up one out of the crowd is not easy as it seem.

I started using FreeBSD in 2001 or 2002 for the ports. A few months before, I had a terrible experience with OpenSSL Debian binary package. I wanted to avoid another dependencies hell and building from the sources seemed to be the best option

For a few years, I loved FreeBSD stability and its keep it simple stupid approach. I ran it on my laptop and on my server until I had to switch to something else. I replaced my Vaio with a Mac and some software I was relying on were broken on FreeBSD. I didn’t have neither the skills nor the time nor the money to fix them.

After going back and forth, I’ve deployed it again on my dedicated server and I plan to install it wherever it’s relevant. It has changed a lot since 4.4, and I trust the new pkg enough not to rely on the port anymore, but it’s also the same old friend I used to know. An old friend who did not replace my /etc/motd/ with an ugly if every root gave 2$, we would be able to build more build servers for our packages ASCII art.

Today, I’ve heard people saying giving 50$ to the FreeBSD foundation is useless after WhatsApp founder Jan Koum made a one million dollar donation.

Last week, I donated one million dollars to the FreeBSD Foundation, which supports the open source operating system that has helped millions of programmers pursue their passions and bring their ideas to life.

I’m actually one of those people. I started using FreeBSD in the late 90s, when I didn’t have much money and was living in government housing. In a way, FreeBSD helped lift me out of poverty – one of the main reasons I got a job at Yahoo! is because they were using FreeBSD, and it was my operating system of choice. Years later, when Brian and I set out to build WhatsApp, we used FreeBSD to keep our servers running. We still do.

I’m afraid it’s not Miss Fishborne.

A one million dollar donation is a big, exceptional thing for an open source project, but every donation counts, even a five dollar one. The amount of money raised is important, it’s essential to the project life, but the number of people supporting it is even important. Donating shows an open source project health and usefulness, raises awareness amongst the supporter’s relatives, and it helps the project staff when they feel tired and worthless.

I know it’s almost Xmas time and you’re already spending your savings buying your significant other that shiny iPhone 6, but remember it’s not too late.

So pick up your favorite open source project, and donate.

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