Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Acknowledging Great Free Software

timothy posted about 13 years ago | from the presents-under-the-tree dept.

The Almighty Buck 281

banuaba writes: "I am a Windows user. I've tried a couple of distros of Linux, and a BSD or two, but they aren't what I need in an OS. Sometimes in my job and my personal 'life' I need something with a little more power than Windows can give me, and when that time comes, I use Cygwin and have been wholly satisfied and enamored with the product they put out. My question for all you Slashdotters out there is this: I would like to 'reward' the Cygwin people for giving me a great product that fits my needs, but aside from an 'attaboy' email, I don't see how I could compensate them, preferrably financially. I don't have any coding skills of significance, and am not inclined to learn, I'd just like a way to let them know that I like what they've done. In the non-free (as in beer) software world, I would buy their next release. Is there any way to financially help them along? Should I just mail them a check? Would that be insulting to OSS developers, as a general rule? How or would you slashdotters who work on GPL'd code like to be compensated for your time and effort?"

The GNU Project maintains the Cygwin documentation; they have a whole page of ways you can help their efforts to spread Free software, which includes sending money, but quite a few other things, too.

I like Alan Cox's system of CD donations, but I've not met any developers yet who would be offended by a donation in money, bug-fixes, hardware, or positive word of mouth. Does anyone have interesting suggestions for thanking Free software developers?

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

developer's "wish list" (1)

wheel (204735) | about 13 years ago | (#2112362)

Sometimes the developer will put something at the end of the 'man' page describing their preffered method of recompense. Ususally it's pizza or beer or a postcard or money.

Of course, I'm too lazy to search through them all and find an example.

I hate to burst everyones balloons here but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2112721)

cygwin is not an Operating system as indicated in the posted comments above. It is only a development tool set. It is merely a port of GNU stuff.

Return the favor... (1)

gosand (234100) | about 13 years ago | (#2112722)

Of course a lot of people have said "send them beer", and that is a good suggestion. If you want to be more creative, put together a care-package.

You could include:

a beer of the month subscription

caffeinated stuff ( sells sampler packs)

gift certificates for places like Think Geek.

Tshirts ( Shameless Plug [] )

A sincere thank you telling them the reason you like what they have done.

Cash is always nice, but doesn't take much thought.


Pounding Sand Designs []

Walk a Mile (3, Insightful)

Nater (15229) | about 13 years ago | (#2112725)

Try to imagine yourself as that developer. You've written some software, either because you needed it for something and it didn't exist, or you thought it would be cool to do, or you were just bored and anxious to write *anything*. You're not interested in selling it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's because it's only a hobby for you, maybe it's because you have philosophical issues with selling software, maybe it's this, that, or another thing... whatever. At any rate, you wrote, you gave it away, and now you get lots of people writing you bug reports of varying degrees of helpfullness, people sending you patches that sometimes fix things or add features, and sometimes just waste your time, and there have been more than a few people who said they'd take care of something, like creating RPMs and debs on an ongoing basis and then failed to do it, and occassionally someone who has nothing better to say than, "This sucks, it doesn't work. You're the guy who wrote it, so you must suck, too."

What could you possibly receive from a pleased user that would make you ignore all of the bad parts and think, "I'm gonna keep this thing going"?

Send that.

P2P Beer System (3, Funny)

stealie72 (246899) | about 13 years ago | (#2113215)

That would be "person 2 programmer" beer system. Aside from contributing geek toys (presumably to be used in further coding efforts), it sure would be nice to be able to send freeware developers a 6-er once in a while. Of beer, red bull, Mt. Dew, or whatever it is they drink.

Beer addresses should be included in the documentation ;-)

Re:P2P Beer System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2113165)

Anyone else thing P2P Beer System was refering to Schafer or even worse, Schafer Lite?

Re:P2P Beer System (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2131945)

great idea!

uubp (Unix-to-Unix beer protocol) (2, Funny)

rkasper (114894) | about 13 years ago | (#2138230)

This is an old protocol based on uucp. See the uubp man page [] for more information.

Personally... (5, Interesting)

HoserHead (599) | about 13 years ago | (#2116096)

...I find much greater gratification from seeing downloads of my software, and hearing from actual users who either have bugs (or just questions) than I think I would from monetary contributions. An 'attaboy' email can go a long way, particularly when you're tired and might be inclined to go to bed rather than enhancing your software or fixing bugs.

If you want to make the developer(s) feel good, send them an attaboy email. If you want to contribute and don't want to learn to code, send them an attaboy email and a cheque, or a case of interesting beer -- or maybe make a contribution to a charity they wish to support. An email saying "I really enjoy your software a lot, and I'd like to thank you for it -- are there any charities you particularly feel kindly for?" alleviates any possibilities that people would be offended by a cheque (though I don't know of any people who would, personally).

But really, unless the people you're trying to thank are really overloaded, actual user contact is very rewarding. Knowing that people use and enjoy your software is one of the main reasons I develop Free Software.

every resource is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2116236)

people think code and money...but I know that as a oss developer there are a lot of other issues at hand...particularly freedom of speech. I say put it into the lawyers that fight to keep our rights.

Offended by money? (5, Insightful)

Erasei (315737) | about 13 years ago | (#2116779)

Having developed a bit of free software, I don't think any of us would be offended by money. However, if you expected to be treated specially for your contribution, then I might be offended. But if was purely a contribution without asking for special treatment, then by all means, send it along.

Re:Offended by money? (2, Insightful)

SLi (132609) | about 13 years ago | (#2131940)

However, if you expected to be treated specially for your contribution, then I might be offended.

Would you be offended if if money was specifically offered to you for making a certain feature the donor needs? I know I wouldn't. Though if it's as strange as most of the features usually requested by clients, it wouldn't make it into the main code base :-)

Spread the word! (2)

rleyton (14248) | about 13 years ago | (#2117733)

Keep on doing what you're doing here - spread the word about great software! If you like it, tell people.

Microsoft are unleashing a huge FUD campain against Open source software. Good news doesn't travel at all well in this age (unless it involves cute animals or kids), so spreading the word (without going OTT) is the best plan.

Word of mouth is a powerful medium, often under-rated - look at film reviews - a critically panned film can be a huge success just on word of mouth,

Anything is good (2)

Randy Rathbun (18851) | about 13 years ago | (#2118887)

Beer, pizza, money, emails - they are all great!

I just started working on a project [] (I know, shamless plug) a month or so ago. Have not publicized it but in just one place, and am amazed at the number of positive emails and the number of downloads so far.

That said, the emails I like the most are the ones with either code or suggestions. So far one person has sent in a code snippet and three have sent in some really killer ideas - that is the kind of stuff I like! I mean, I am writing the program for me, but I am not the only one using it.

So send in those attaboy emails. Ask if there is something you can do to help. I personally don't care if you are a programmer or not - there are a ton of things you can do to help, mainly in the realm of minutia; that stuff can really be a drag to do but it needs to be done and in some cases those small little things are the biggest part of a project.

Distribution Issues... (1)

geojaz (11691) | about 13 years ago | (#2119492)

I was about to post something about sending them a check and writing them a letter that said, "Hey, I like your program! Time for a party on me!"
Then it occurred to me that a lot of OSS software is written by people who are connected by the internet rather than sitting in an office together. In this case what to do? Send each developer a bottle of Guinness and a webcam?? Seriously this question is probably on a lot of people's minds because everywhere I look people are making good use of this "free" software and they want to find someone to say thanks, good work to in some form or another.
Just what i'm thinkin about...


Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119656)

Just send them an email...and send me your check. How much you were thinking? I can also take Visa, MasterCard, Paypal :)

Compensation (2, Insightful)

chrylis (262281) | about 13 years ago | (#2120510)

I'm sure that most open-source/Free software developers would find the greatest compliment in knowing that people out there use and even rely on their software--but I would think that a donation for what you think the software's worth to the sponsoring organization wouldn't be out of order.

OpenUniverse (0, Offtopic)

el_munkie (145510) | about 13 years ago | (#2124656)

If anyone wants to check out an incredibly cool OSS app, go to It is basically a very good model of the solar system.

Free Software is a philosophy methinks.. (2, Interesting)

sudog (101964) | about 13 years ago | (#2125167)

It seems to me that Free Software according to the FSF is a philosophy. To feel guilty about using free software and to think that whoever wrote it somehow deserves a reward seems to me to be contrary to the reason they wrote the sotware to begin with. Using it and contributing to it if you can is one thing, but feeling like you owe them money is another altogether.

The answer is simple: Don't send them money and don't feel bad for using their great software, as though it's worth money and you got away with some naughty act in the privacy of your home where no one but your conscience watches over you.

The best thing you can do for them is to:

1. Use their software.
2. Contribute to their software (if you can.)
3. Don't support their commercial competitors.
4. Spread the word about their software in particular. There's enough religious zealots as it is--don't add your voice to zealotry, add it instead to the promotion of good, specific packages.

The whole concept of money in exchange for software seems to me to fly in the face of what they're striving for to begin with.

Supporting an organization as a whole and acknowledging the fact that it costs money to operate or even exist is another matter entirely, while a human being who has chosen to write free software without doing something to make money for themselves doesn't really "get" what's going on around us. Giving him money means he might as well have not released his software under the GPL at all.

On the other hand, the FSF is a foundation that does more than write software--and thus depends on donations to even exist--that's its whole premise from the get-go.

Small difference but important.

Oh, and .. (5, Informative)

SirSlud (67381) | about 13 years ago | (#2127973)

Yeah, probably the biggest value to an open source developer is seeing their product overtake a competeting commercial product in terms of market use. So, outside of sending money, anything you can do to increase use of the product (maybe you have access to some decent web real estate to help advertise?) I'm sure would be much appreciated too. Or, writing documentation. Or, maintaining a web page. Or .. well, the list goes on, but there are a multitude of ways to help open source developers other than contributing code! (Especially since many programmers arn't exactly gifted in the arena of documentation and language.)

OSS programmers != superheroes (5, Insightful)

psychalgia (457201) | about 13 years ago | (#2130643)

theyll take your money, chances are they are hungry. Mail em a check, if you think theyll be mad, make it anonymous, but I doubt they'll decline. Hell, fed ex em a case of beer, thatll thrill em ;)

Re:OSS programmers != superheroes (1)

Bren (153085) | about 13 years ago | (#2131952)

Anonymous checks! Ohhh, I want some!!

Re:OSS programmers != superheroes (1)

psychalgia (457201) | about 13 years ago | (#2142254)

heh, ok, you got me, im sick, I meant anonymous cash... you suck, stop making fun of me.

Re:OSS programmers != superheroes (1)

peterarm (95041) | about 13 years ago | (#2125066)

you could have meant a cashier's cheque...

Re:OSS programmers != superheroes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2143773)

fuck off you pretentious ass.

GNUPro (5, Informative)

graveyhead (210996) | about 13 years ago | (#2130948)

I know you are running windows, but you could support the Cygnus team by purchasing the GNUPro toolkit [] . It offers some really useful stuff (optimized gcc, insight visual debugger, etc). Maybe it will provide the incentive you need to maintain a dual boot. It would certainly reward the developers monitarily (as would purchasing the boxed RedHat). Last one I purchased was $79.00 US. Remember, RedHat and Cygnus are the same entity now, so by supporting one you support the other by proxy.

Let them know you use their stuff (2)

jonabbey (2498) | about 13 years ago | (#2131004)

What I want more than anything else from people who use my stuff is to hear from them that they are using what I have written. Free software authors write free software for many reasons, but for many authors the biggest motivation is the thought that they are added something great to the world. Drop the authors a note of thanks and praise and let them know you are actually using their stuff and what you are using it for. You'd be amazed how few people who download a piece of free software do that.

As far as giving money/pizza/beer, sure, if you are so moved, why not? But don't forget that many free software authors are already being paid to write the software they write, even if the software is not, in and of itself, intended as a commercial good.

Re:Let them know you use their stuff (1)

mfarver (43681) | about 13 years ago | (#2130151)

As much as I hate to make a me too post.. I would agree. Nothing is more frustrating than watching the downloads count up and not getting any feedback. Good, bad or ugly, at least the programmer knows people are using it. Even bug reports... Anything to feed a starving ego.

Want GPL'd touchscreen home control: ETC, the Extensible Touchscreen Controller [] .

Buy Redhat stock? (1)

Dix (73628) | about 13 years ago | (#2131121)

Since they bought Cygnus who developed Cygwin for their internal needs then released it GPLed.

DO NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2130697)

I am sure they create a great product but if you give monetary help send them a check. By buying the stock you support redhat and not cygwin and the money may be used to fund something you don't want funded/rewarded or go entirely down the toilet.

Here's an idea... (1)

mobiux (118006) | about 13 years ago | (#2131123)

Get a story submitted on Slashdot about thier company. Post a link to thier webpage, the let the slashdot community swamp thier site. :-)

Cygwin is Owned by Red Hat, Right? (4, Interesting)

GroundBounce (20126) | about 13 years ago | (#2131167)

Just buy a box or two of Red Hat Linux, even if you don't plan to use it. You'll be supporting the company that underwrites Cygwin tools.

Re:Cygwin is Owned by Red Hat, Right? (2)

istartedi (132515) | about 13 years ago | (#2137469)

Just buy a box or two of...

No, never do that to anybody. Just send them money. It will keep aluminized plastic and cardboard out of the landfill. It will be almost pure profit for the company.

Re:Cygwin is Owned by Red Hat, Right? (1)

mikefoley (51521) | about 13 years ago | (#2125144)

Better yet, buy a boxed copy of Red Hat and donate it to your local high school computer science teacher.

Free as in beer... (5, Funny)

AlgUSF (238240) | about 13 years ago | (#2131168)

Send them a couple of kegs of beer, and some chicks^H^H^H^H^H^H women to serve it to them, maybe some chicken wings, and some curly fries. Or just give 'em some hooters gift certificates.

Not just this that isn't insulting... (2)

SmileyBen (56580) | about 13 years ago | (#2131254)

I think one of my favourite things about the free software community is that really you shouldn't have to ask people here if this is insulting - free software developers tend to like responses, and engaging with their users, so asking *them* is the answer - or just sending a cheque if you know where to, and 99% of OSS developers you'll meet will politely set you straight if they don't want it. The most likely response (after cashing the cheque) - if they didn't want it - would probably be to tell you which charity they'd like it donated to.

Gratification (4, Funny)

4thAce (456825) | about 13 years ago | (#2131939)

I'd just like a way to let them know that I like what they've done

Well, let's see, what do you look like in a thong?

charity (3, Interesting)

pyat (303115) | about 13 years ago | (#2131944)

maybe OSS programmers who don't intend to gain money for themselves for their work should encourage donations to charity like Bram Moolenaar has done with VIM
and donations to childrens fund in Uganda

If I developed software... (5, Funny)

cavemanf16 (303184) | about 13 years ago | (#2131947)

I would be offended at any cash advancement for my efforts. why?

Simply because I code for the love of it, not for the money. Hell, I live out of a 2-story carboard box, code on an old 386 laptop weighing a hefty 50 pounds, and eat sewer trash for meals. And you know what, that Ferrari I bought during the dot-com fiasco just isn't fun to drive anymore. So please don't send me money, just send a simple chain email around the world 50 times to let me know that I have many, many friends.

(Money an insult? You have got to be kidding me! - or smoking some really good weed)

You Mean, You Just Ask Them? (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | about 13 years ago | (#2131950)

More OSS developers need to be proactive when it comes to getting $. People shouldn't have to ask this question. I think developers would be surprised if they used a little line that said something like "you don't need to, but it'd be appreciated if you sent a check to... ".

It's amazing what you can get sometimes just by asking. Anybody who's read Feynman should get the humorous reference in the title of this post.

Will you sleep with me? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 13 years ago | (#2134481)

... if I buy you a drink? (SYJ has to be the funniest book I've read ...)

Re:You Mean, You Just Ask Them? (1)

peterarm (95041) | about 13 years ago | (#2136920)

It's amazing what you can get sometimes just by asking. Anybody who's read Feynman should get the humorous reference in the title of this post.

Sex with OSS developers, woo hoo!
(Moderators: if you think that's a troll, Surely you're joking...)

Helping them out (1)

Tebriel (192168) | about 13 years ago | (#2131951)

Be public about your opinions. Tell your friends. Be vocal about this software and it's benefits. That's how things like this get around...word of mouth. Oh, and find and address and send 'em some beer.

pr0n of course (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2131954)

Much pr0n.

A noble solution? (5, Insightful)

melquiades (314628) | about 13 years ago | (#2131956)

How about making a donation to the EFF [] in the developer's or project's name? In light of any number of recent events, that may be one of the best ways to help free software. And I'd be honored by the gesture, with no sense of awkwardness at all, if I were in the developer's place!

Re:A noble solution? (2)

bwt (68845) | about 13 years ago | (#2139834)

That's a great idea!

Re:A noble solution? (2, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | about 13 years ago | (#2157024)

How about an ignoble solution?
Spray paint Cygwin on as many sidewalks as you can to advertise the product. After all, IBM tried that with Linux and look at all the publicity THEY got! ;-)

Re:A noble solution? (4, Funny)

melquiades (314628) | about 13 years ago | (#2138323)

It may be illegal to paint graffiti, but it's still creative work and thus automatically copyrighted by its creator. Could the indelibility of the paint be considered a "technological protection measure"? If so, is strong soap a "circumvention device", and would washing it off the sidewalk thus be illegal under the DMCA?

Again? (2)

twitter (104583) | about 13 years ago | (#2131960)

No, tiny Tim, we are not going to pay to write for Slashdot.

one thing you could do... (1)

ameoba (173803) | about 13 years ago | (#2131965)

Well, you could always get their name posted to the front page of Slashdot. A little exposure never hurt.

First the 'attaboy' (4, Informative)

update() (217397) | about 13 years ago | (#2134712)

My question for all you Slashdotters out there is this: I would like to 'reward' the Cygwin people for giving me a great product that fits my needs, but aside from an 'attaboy' email, I don't see how I could compensate them, preferrably financially.

Don't sell the 'attaboy' email short. It's a great motivation to get some feedback beyond "You suck!" and "It doesn't work. Do I need Windows 2000?" For most small-time developers, it's probably more of an inducement to keep working than a $10 check would be. And it costs you othing but time, so be lavish!

Not that anyone would likely be offended by money.

Not insulting (1)

SLi (132609) | about 13 years ago | (#2135559)

Sending a check is definitely not insulting. Remember, it's free-as-in-speech (most important) and free-as-in-beer (only second most important). And since beer is not free (as in beer), they need money to buy it. Most developers would also like a pizza with their beer.

Well, I don't know. I wouldn't be insulted :-)

Send me a check... (1)

jonfromspace (179394) | about 13 years ago | (#2136921)

And I'll thank them for you!

Beer. (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 13 years ago | (#2138062)

Lots and lots of beer. Find out what kind they like, and send them kegs.

uh, you could buy their product... (3, Insightful)

rodentia (102779) | about 13 years ago | (#2138902)


Feedback (4, Insightful)

Blue Aardvark House (452974) | about 13 years ago | (#2139390)

More than just the "attaboy", get involved in the development process by reporting bugs. This will streamline the development process and make for a better product in future releases.

When the downloads increase, they'll be thanking you.

sourceforge and donations (3, Insightful)

wobblie (191824) | about 13 years ago | (#2139813)

I don't see any reason why sourceforge and freshmeat or other sites like it could not handle donations, or rather tips for certain projects.

I know that if it was as simple as putting my credit card # in and selecting a project, and tipping $5, i'd have already done it many times. This could all be very easy.

samba (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2139833)

I'm not sure about cygwin, but if you like samba.. send pizza! []

Send the check to me! (2)

SClitheroe (132403) | about 13 years ago | (#2140077)

I'll make sure that it gets handled :) Email me for the mailing address.

Documentation (5, Insightful)

gouldtj (21635) | about 13 years ago | (#2141158)

I think that a great way for a non-coder to help with an open-source project is to provide documentation. Heaven knows that most projects need this pretty badly. I think these are the best to write 'new user' documentation anyway. Stuff with screen shots rocks :)

PS - Use the FDL

Re:Documentation (2)

H310iSe (249662) | about 13 years ago | (#2144275)

Absolutely. After a hard 5 minutes puruval of the Cygwin (albiet with sleep-rocks still in the corners of my eyes) I have no idea what exactly it does, or, really, what it could do for me. When I do web programming I usually have 3 or 4 sources of information (O'Reilly book(s), webmonkey,, ms dev lib, etc.) and when I don't get the kind of info I need from one I can always count on another to provide it. It's all the *same* information, it's just sometimes I understand it better the way, say, the MS Dev. Lib. puts it, sometimes O'Reilly makes it more clear. So more documentation in different styles is always welcome.

How's about you look over at (5, Funny)

joshamania (32599) | about 13 years ago | (#2141505)

I think most coders will agree with me when I say, "Send those guys/girls a case of beer!" Nothing spells appreciation as well as B-E-E-R. It doesn't even have to be good beer, it is really the idea that counts...although Guinness isn't ever a bad idea...

Re:How's about you look over at (1)

TMB (70166) | about 13 years ago | (#2118817)

It doesn't even have to be good beer, it is really the idea that counts

I've got to disagree there. I wouldn't be offended by a $10 cheque, but I would be by a case of Coors. ;-)

Or... if you like the project, send a case of Coors. If you really like the project, send half a case of Coors. ;-)


Not everybody can possess or consume beer (2, Funny)

yerricde (125198) | about 13 years ago | (#2136891)

I think most coders will agree with me when I say, "Send those guys/girls a case of beer!"

Some jurisdictions have a minimum drinking age. In the United States it's 21. In Saudi Arabia it's (i.e. Prohibition).

Re:How's about you look over at (1)

Afterimage (44695) | about 13 years ago | (#2136924)

It doesn't even have to be good beer

Sorry, I prefer for people to ask my barley and hops pref. A case of Sammy, sure. Guinness in the pub daught cans, right on. Bud, Pabst or the like. Heck no.

Re:How's about you look over at (2)

joshamania (32599) | about 13 years ago | (#2116775)

Ah, come could at least display Blatz proudly on your a novelty of sorts. A reminder, if you will, that not all of the world has progressed beyond the 1960's (especially northern Wisconsin). ;-)

And of course, Dennis Hopper would say differently..."Heineken?!?! Fsck that sh*t! Pabst Blue Ribbon!!!"

Beer is good (5, Funny)

unformed (225214) | about 13 years ago | (#2142867)

but weed is better

Re:Beer is good (2)

RevAaron (125240) | about 13 years ago | (#2125141)


I'm sure they'd accept cheques (3, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | about 13 years ago | (#2141640)

I release all the music I write for free. However, if you like it enough to send me a cheque, I certainly wouldn't be insulted, or complain. :) I'm sure the same principle applies to many open source developers. Often, things like web hosting, or simply the cost of a computer upgrade doesn't justify charging for software, but if one philathropist out there feels like throwing some money a developers' way, I don't see many developers rejecting the money?

One word: duh (2)

11thangel (103409) | about 13 years ago | (#2142244)

Uhh, say what? You're having second thoughts about sending us money? If you got a check in the mail, with no strings attached, would you send it back? (btw, if anyone wants to send ME money, by all means just ask for a fscking address)

Re:One word: duh (2)

canning (228134) | about 13 years ago | (#2112727)

O.K. I'm game, post your address. Go for it. Just one question, can you get slashdotted through snail-mail?

Compensation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2143058)

let's see.... I'd like $500, in unmarked 20 dollar bills, a case of beer, a large pizza... Oh, and if you would, I'd like for you to flame Micro$oft.....he he he..... ;)

what I'd like to have (1)

quigonn (80360) | about 13 years ago | (#2143059)

I'm already happy when people write me an email saying how useful they find my software, and that I should keep up the good work. Sometimes people even send patches on their own, and that makes me glad, that people spend time developing my program (which is francine [] :o).
Of course, I have nothing against some kind of reward, preferably beer. :) ("free as in speech and drunk as in beer" and not the other way round *lol*)

Free as in beer (1)

DataPath (1111) | about 13 years ago | (#2143060)

I'd imagine, considering the demographics, that a 6 pack would would make them happy... one way or another =)

Money (1)

K45 (207177) | about 13 years ago | (#2143071)

Money is very nice. In addition to a significant number of us being unemployed right now (anyone want a Java developer?), help paying for domain name registration, web hosting, etc.. would be great.

Actually, since many projects are hosted for free by SourceForge, you might just send a check to them. I've thought about sending them a thankyou check for the free hosting, but don't have the money to spare right now (see above).


telnet, ftp, ssh, etc, daemons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2143705)

By the way, it doesn't seem to be documented, but cygwin comes with inetd, telnetd, ftpd, sshd, etc. Just create your own tiny /etc/inetd.conf and /etc/services file, then fire up inetd by typing /usr/sbin/inetd, and voila! =)

personally (2)

3prong (241218) | about 13 years ago | (#2143854)

The most gratifying part of developing free software is watching the download numbers spin up. Immortality through software, in exchange for a few weeks of part-time volunteer work.

Re:personally (5, Funny)

Sir_Real (179104) | about 13 years ago | (#2125559)

Immortality? Name your first born "Cygwin."


Re:personally (2, Funny)

re-Verse (121709) | about 13 years ago | (#2122398)

Yeah but what are the chances your kid is going to be immortal? Slim to none i'd say :)

Re:personally (1)

Smokin Goat McGruff (19225) | about 13 years ago | (#2138229)

Not if he's wearing those Alex Chiu immortality rings...

Re:personally (5, Insightful)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | about 13 years ago | (#2140800)

I have to agree with this. Especially for small projects that don't have the fame that other projects have. I'd say, if the project is small, (*blatant plug to my project below*) then they would just like to know if people actually *using* their program. Spreading the word helps these projects. But if a project is already well-established, like Cygwin, money will probably ensure that the project continues. I say this because if a project is as big as cygwin, the developer has probably heard all the praise in the world, might be forced to support the project full-time thus cutting into their "regular" job, and isn't normally paid for the project.

Money would mean a lot to both kinds of projects, but would probably be more appropriate for a larger project. Praise and telling-your-friends-about-project-x is good for smaller projects. However, if you can code (which I know the author of the article can't), that is the biggest contribution to any project.

cygwin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2143856)

is garbage. Try Microsoft Internix, it's good solid proprietary software.

hehe (1)

TheRain (67313) | about 13 years ago | (#2144731)

You can make that check payable to me ;) But seriously, write them a note and let them know how you feel and why you are sending them the check... I'm sure it would make their day... I know it would make mine.

Donate to The GNU Project?? (2)

Chester K (145560) | about 13 years ago | (#2144732)

I think he wanted to help the people that wrote Cygwin, not RMS....

Re:Donate to The GNU Project?? (1)

debrain (29228) | about 13 years ago | (#2138901)

<tongue in cheek> I dunno, given RMS's attitude towards paying for software, he might be one of the few to actually send a cheque back ... </tongue in cheek>

Re:Donate to The GNU Project?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2114835)

No, much like most false prophets of socialist-like ideals, RMS is more than happy for you to pay for him to go around unbathed spreading the gospel.

Support the development with Development Resources (2, Interesting)

talilee (515165) | about 13 years ago | (#2144829)

I am very involved in the OpenACS ( [] ject. The best way to help, other than actual coding or documentation, is to somehow help develop the resources. One way is to pay a developer directly; a developer usually is working on the OSS project out of love and would kill to get paid to work on his passion.

Another way is to do something for the community, which everyone would love. For instance, help purchase and colocate a server for the community to develop on. Or host a social for the developers to meet and drink beer together. Or help purchase tshirts for everyone to get.

The best way, IMHO, to show support for an OSS community is to help keep it live and vibrant.


I don't need money, I need information (2, Interesting)

Lutz (112651) | about 13 years ago | (#2154011)

Just a couple of thoughts:
  • Join a mailing list and help people out if they have got problems that you can solve. You cannot image how easy to answer some question are. But they take time to answer. Write an FAQ.
  • Help the developers getting information. For GNumeric, that would be for example providing EXCEL sheets that don't work with current versions of GNumeric. For GPhoto, contact any manufacturer that won't release specs for their digital cameras and ask for information.
  • Translate projects.
  • ...
It's not all about money...

worst ... (-1, Flamebait)

OmegaDan (101255) | about 13 years ago | (#2156894)

Worst "ask slashdot" ever!

Not even close.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2130991)

At least this one isn't easily solved with a google search. It's bad, but this is nearly the cream of the crop for Ask Slashdot.

This really is a gem in the world of "I have this 1920's terminal with a glass bulb, a stock ticker and a morse key, what Linux distros are available for it?" "I can't find the latest version of punchcard-lib-, does anyone know where I could find something like that?" "My computer crashed, what should I do?" "I wanted to create a beowulf cluster with Vic20s, but I can't get Mozilla to compile on it, any suggestions?" or "I have this piece of hardware, and I'm too lazy to search for linux drivers. Could someone just write one for me?"

What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2135535)

Who the hell is moderating today?

Worst "ask slashdot" ever! gets modded up as insightful? How the hell is that insightful?!?

Re:worst ... (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2136672)

The question was, how would programmers like to be compensated for their work.

Answer: Fortune and glory, sweetheart. Fortune and glory.

Re:worst ... (3, Funny)

DataPath (1111) | about 13 years ago | (#2153907)

I can see it now... Silicon Valley Jones, whipping people with his coil of network cable, stumbling over broken bridges and routers, fending off the mad Manager with his cult of marketing flunkees, trying to restore the 5 magic goose eggs to his paycheck. So remember... next time your manager calls you into his office, be sure to bring your coil of network cable and your own theme music.

Fortune and glory, sweetheart. Fortune and glory.

Re:worst ... (1)

Anonu (233018) | about 13 years ago | (#2155692)

I don'r agree, I believe credit is due to the people who are at the forefront of developing open-source software. Support open-source all you can!

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2156995)

is it a first?
lets see....

Re:fp? *BUMP* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2113231)

*bump* LOL ROFL COMEDY GOLD!! [] !!!!!! *BUMP*

Re:fp? *BUMP* (0)

Raging Idiot (457985) | about 13 years ago | (#2140325)

What is the motherfucking hell are you talking about?

Re:fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2116246)

Yes, it is a first. Your life now has meaning. You have successfully posted the first comment on a slashdot story. Big things will be coming for you now, my friend. Very big things.

Re:fp? (0, Interesting)

HowlinMad (220943) | about 13 years ago | (#2122379)

wow, some people need more time on their hands..... well at least it was a contructive post. As far as the donation is concerned, it depends on the coders. some dont like to accept money cause they feel they woul owe that person a favor or something. some just do the coding for un and feel they dont need to be paid. On the opther hand it is nice to get rewarded and recognized for your work. Best bet is to ask them if you can.

I know how to solve the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2157219)

If You mail the checks to me, I can take care of distributing them fair to all involved developers.

I only take a very small handling fee... :-)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>