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Season's Givings?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the tis-the-season dept.

Christmas Cheer 238

DevanJedi asks: "Many people around the world plan their charitable giving around this time of the year, for religious, tax or other similarly benevolent reasons. As a geek who spends an inordinate amount of time around his computer, I have compiled a list of entities that have made my geek life easier, in the past year. Which other projects does Slashdot believe to be worthy of praise, money, recognition, developer time or general applause?"

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I gave all my money to Slashdot (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286154)

I'm thinking that might've been a bad idea since I now realize they're not a charity.

here's an idea . . . (2, Funny)

hcetSJ (672210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286170)

Slashdot my bank account . . .

Just deposit to account 1241234234 . . .

Re:here's an idea . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286195)

>Slashdot my bank account . . .

>Just deposit to account 1241234234 . . .

How about we buy you a superman costume complete with a big package...?

Re:here's an idea . . . (3, Interesting)

HappyMeal (867072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286241)

:)

How about the OpenBSD Project? I know, some folks have issues with Theo deRaadt himself -- and I must admit to some mutterings, myself.

But in the realm of technical computing, they've raised the bar higher for everybody. Kudos to them.

http://www.openbsd.org/donations.html [openbsd.org]

Re:here's an idea . . . (3, Funny)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286812)

account 1241234234

That's the kind of combination an idiot has on his bank account!

I'd love to read this list but (4, Informative)

butters the odd (729841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286190)

Apparently your server wasn't quite ready for the Slashdot effect.

Re:I'd love to read this list but (4, Funny)

gaveawaymyname (934554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286621)

"Sorry Timmy, there won't be a Christmas this year... Santa's list got Slashdotted."

Food banks (5, Insightful)

Barkley44 (919010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286197)

I find food banks are the best place to donate, especially in food form (instead of cash). Canned foods last well into the new year and many people benefit from the meals they provide - either peopel directly getting the food, or food banks preparing the food. We try to run such events every few months around our area. One time we went to make a large donation and the food bank had just 1 can of food left (for a city of 18,000 people). A lot of people don't realize how much a few $$ worth of food can go towards helping other people out.

Re:Food banks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286235)

Or you can let Darwinism work it's magic and let them die off. Donating to a food bank is rewarding lazy people for not working.

Re:Food banks (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286250)

I see you've never heard the term 'the working poor'. So feck off.

Re:Food banks (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286388)

I wonder why it is better for individuals to give food to these food banks instead of giving them cash? In many areas, food banks have plenty of food provided to them by food drives and by the food and grocery industry. The biggest needs of many food banks are volunteer help and money for non-food overhead things; such as salaries, utilities, storage space, transportation, fuel, etc. In those cases where food banks would need to purchase food, donating money allows the food bank to buy the specific type of food that it is short of.

It seems that if one is donating food to food banks, the following are the most appreciated foods:

* canned fruit and vegetables
* canned tuna
* canned meats
* canned soups, stews, and chili
* peanut butter in plastic jars
* cereal
* pasta
* rice
* beans

Re:Food banks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286536)

I know in my area, most people forget the food bank collects money. There's always a lot of "Free with food donation" concerts and such, or food drives at the gorcery stores, even on busses, but it never gets mentioned that the food banks need money too.

In addition to the reasons for cash you mentioned above, food banks are often needting to by perishables , such as milk, eggs, bread, meat, cheese and so on, in addition to whatever it's short of at any given time. Money is often invaluable to a food bank.

My annual donation to the food bank is always in cash.

Re:Food banks (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287093)

I really want to emphasize the desirability of canned meats and fish in that list. High quality protein is often lacking at food banks.

Re:Food banks (2, Informative)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286635)

Bear in mind, if you donate 'nice' foods, as in anything nicer than cheap canned stuff and pasta, it usually will not make it's way to the poor served by the food bank, but will most likely go home with whomever works at the food bank. Not to impugne the services food banks offer, but if you want to help a hungry person or family, do it directly. Find a low-income/subsidized housing area, take some food with you, and give it away to those who need it. Or else, buy gift certificates for grocery stores, and give those away directly.

Having worked at a food bank in the past, the volunteers (who are not always poor or in need of food) get first pick on what is donated.

Re:Food banks (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287123)

Ok, this is just awful. Is this standard operating procedure for the food bank, or did you just volunteer with the scum of the earth? And if its the latter (hell, even if its the former) did you report what was going on?

Seriously, people stealing food out of the mouths of the hungry and homeless? What is this world coming to?

Re:Food banks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286680)

Depending on the size of the food bank, it's probably better to donate cash. That way the bank can use it's buying power to purchase bulk amounts of food for much less than you could on your own, ensuring that your dollars go further.

Re:Food banks (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286940)

I give to the MercyWORKS ministry [vineyardeastgate.org] at my church because--being entirely volunteer staffed with ZERO overhead--ALL of the money goes directly to feeding, clothing, providing counseling and rent/utility bills assistance.

Re:Food banks (2, Insightful)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287023)

And if they're reasonably large, they probably have options with local food stores to buy things at quantity discount. Why would you buy a few cans of food at the per-can price, when they could combine cash donations and get it at the per-pallet price? Furthermore, cash is easily converted into whatever type of food they need at the moment. Giving them specific types means they have to store them up until they have enough of whatever to make a batch of something.

Of course, if you work for a food producer of some sort, it would be huge if you could help arrange a deal with your local food bank.

Storage (0, Offtopic)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286201)

I find that one of tme most useful things to give is storage, particularly portable storage such as (preferrably large USB Drives). Setting up a system at home is great, but imagine getting even, say a 256 MB drive, installing Cygwin (with X) on it, and using it to SSH into your machine from others, even if your own machine is GNU/Linux and the clients are Windows. It's like carrying your own system around your neck at all times, and when you change something, you don't have to update anything.

Re:Storage (1)

cgf (50504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286491)

Here's the link to the cygwin donations page. [cygwin.com]

Re:Storage (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286644)

Who the fuck are you giving this to?

Needy hungry children- here chew on this.. it's opensource you know, that's like the organic food the posh people eat.

Re:Storage (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286860)

I am sorry. I did not mean that you should give USB drives to charities. I meant that they make good presents (to friends) and also that people should donate to open source projects such as Cygwin

Charitable giving (4, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286208)

I prefer to give my charitable dollars to the poor and infirm.

I sometimes also give money to middle-class white geeks running software projects that benefit other middle-class white geeks because I want those projects to continue to exist. (I am, after all, a middle-class white geek.) But I don't delude myself into thinking that this is "charity" because when I give money to these projects, I benefit in that the project that produces something that I use is going to be able to advance faster.

For example, giving money to the gnome people isn't "charity" unless you do not use gnome yourself.

Re:Charitable giving (1)

HappyMeal (867072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286223)

Okay. That's reasonable.

Got any personal favo(u)rites as to which to donate to, for the poor and infirm?

Re:Charitable giving (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286287)

Well...maybe you've heard of this one [slashdot.org] ?

There's the obvious foodbanks that are always in operation plus "Toys for Tots" and all the variations. Giving in kind is generally safer than giving cash as you know that what you give actually gets there.

I personally give to Doctors without Borders, the local AIDS foundation and a few others.

Re:Charitable giving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286331)

the local AIDS foundation

I for one avoid foundations that promote HIV and AIDS. That stuff kills, you know.

Re:Charitable giving (-1, Troll)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286262)

There are middle-class black and asian and mexican geeks, too. Well, maybe not Mexican. *hides* :)

Re:Charitable giving (5, Interesting)

quizteamer (758717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286270)

I prefer to give my charitable dollars to the poor and infirm.

Its great to give money around Christmas to the poor and infirm, but if you don't have the extra cash (like me), another option is volunteering (and not just around the holidays).
I spend 4-8 hours a week helping students with math and science at the "poor" high school in my city. I also play guitar in a band that goes to the local hospitals a few times a month.
Giving money is good but its not your only option.

Re:Charitable giving (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286303)

Agreed! In fact, I'd say that giving money is the worst option. When you give time, you help directly, with nothing skimmed off the top.

Re:Charitable giving (2, Insightful)

penguin121 (804920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286636)

>Agreed! In fact, I'd say that giving money is the worst option. When you give time, you help directly, with nothing skimmed off the top.

While giving money certainly isn't the only option or the best option necessarily, that doesn't make it the worst option. Many charities require a combination of material donations, such as money, as well as donations of time through volunteering to be sucessful. Consider something like a soup kitchen. Its true that if it only gets material donations, it won't be effective without volunteers to prepare and distribute them. However, it won't be effective either if it only has volunteers without any food to distribute. The point of charity is to give what you can to help those in need. A person lacking free time that gives money is not exercising a worse option than someone else lacking money that gives their time, and neither is the reverse true. To try and form a pecking order out of the different types of charitable giving is to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Re:Charitable giving (1)

dlbornke (68572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286787)

I disagree. It's right that if you spend your own time on doing charity probably deserves more respect than just spending money.
But I don't think that it is the worst option. Just look on the unicef homepage what you can accomplish with a few bucks per month (18$ per month will give water for 10 families in Vietnam, etc.). I wouldn't know how to accomplish s.th. like that by helping directly.
Yes: Spending money is the easiest way of doing charity, but it is still very important and with little work you can help support great projects.
But I admit that I am probably misinterpreting your posting ;)

Re:Charitable giving (1)

Create an Account (841457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286604)

For the past couple of years I have designed and built databases for local area charities (for tracking donations, clients, volunteers, whatever). These people really need the help, have no freaking money, and are trying to good things for people. I don't have much money, but a little technical assistance goes a long way. These people really appreciate the help.

Re:Charitable giving (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286283)

I couldn't have said it better myself!

What the hell is the point of this entire post? If you want to be charitable, give to a charity that will feed the hungry or shelter the homeless! Giving old hardrives to the (relatively) well-off is not charity - it's just getting rid of crap you don't want anymore.

Re:Charitable giving (1)

stomv (80392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286634)

But I don't delude myself into thinking that this is "charity" because when I give money to these projects, I benefit in that the project that produces something that I use is going to be able to advance faster.

When you give to homeless shelters, you don't have to step over bums on the street. When you give to Katrina funds, you help rebuild a community so it doesn't use social services in your area. When you give to the ACLU or the EFF, you benefit from the maintaining of freedom for everyone.

We're all connected, and when you reduce the suffering -- or increase the joy -- anywhere in the world, it very well might somehow, somewhere, come back to help you personally.

That doesn't mean that a generous gift of money or time isn't charity. Likewise, giving to a software project that benefits all who choose to use it, without regard to ability to pay or how it is to be used, is charity because, generally speaking, you personally could receive those benefits the charity is offering without you personally paying.

Giving to an open source project is charitible.

Be unselfish (5, Insightful)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286265)

Maybe you address this in your article, but the server has turned to molten metal. So ignore this if I have it wrong, but: They made your life better? Whatever happened to altruism?

I, for one, am giving to the Salvation Army. During the hurricanes, they did an enormous amount of thankless work. They did not receive the publicity of the Red Cross, but as is typical, they are the first to arrive and the last to leave. They work endless hours, seemingly tirelessly, and never lose their smiles. They shun self-promotion. These are truly wonderful people.

Re:Be unselfish (3, Informative)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286425)

[Salvation Army members] work endless hours, seemingly tirelessly, and never lose their smiles.

Of course they don't. They're there to look happy and smiley so they can convert you [salvationarmyusa.org] . What did you think "salvation" referred to?

If you aren't interested in giving significant sums of money to further one of the cause of Jesusism, may I suggest CARE [care.org] , Goodwill [goodwill.org] , or another secular charity?

Re:Be unselfish (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286446)

Err. I meant to edit that into something more akin to "...to further one of the biggest and most well-organized supporters of the cause of Jesusism", but tuckered out halfway. Oops.

Re:Be unselfish (3, Informative)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286679)

Of course they want to spread the Gospel. They're a church. They're not trying to hide it, either; it's not as if they're converting people at the point of a sword, or being dishonest about their motives. And why should they not tell people about something they consider vitally important? Whether or not you believe their message to be true, they do, and they sincerely believe that everyone needs to hear it. And if it falls on deaf ears, they'll help you anyway. Their mission isn't "repent, or we won't give you assistance".

-Stephen

Re:Be unselfish (3, Insightful)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286795)

A lot of people who would never knowingly help a church are unaware that the SA is, in fact, one.

Re:Be unselfish (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287004)

For the longest time, I thought the Red Cross was, too. Big cross, you know?

It was only the recent publicity about the new "Red Crystal" logo that clued me in. Drives me nuts that people said the cross logo was no big deal and "had no religious connotation". Bullshit! It's a fairly recognizable religious symbol!

Re:Be unselfish (2, Informative)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286471)

The Salvation Army is an excellent charitable organization. I donate to them every year instead of the Red Cross, not because I don't like the Red Cross, but because I feel the Salvation Army is more efficient with how they spend the money.

We also donate to can drives, Toys for Tots (local charity), and the Humane Society. Food and clothing drives are the most important charities this time of year, since 100% of what you donate goes to people that really need those things. Donating to the Humane Society is just something we've always done, and as such is a family tradition. No reason it has to be done during the holidays, though.

Just for kicks, here's an annoying story [madison.com] about how a local school wasn't allowed to have their students volunteer for the Salvation Army, since it's a religious organization. The complaints of a few unreasonable people ruined what would have been a very good lesson for those kids.

Re:Be unselfish (2, Informative)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286655)

Yes, I forgot to mention that part, that they have very low operating costs, so almost all of the donations go the the needy.

By the way, the cynics might want to know that in all of our dealings with the Salvation Army this summer, I did not see them proseletyzing even a single time. Helping the people in distress seemed to be the only mission at hand. Here is a nice humorous article from a few weeks ago about another group, which I think actually gets the spirit of the relief effort fairly accurately [google.com] .

Another thing to which people might be interested in contributing, are the various holiday feasts that your local community organizations are holding for the poor and homeless in your area. I have volunteered for these several times, and I absolutely love doing it. I have discovered that what homeless people need the most is merely someone to talk to, since they are so totally alone on the streets. When you ask someone "How are you doing?" and he blurts out his entire life's story, the best thing you can do is listen.

I must admit, giving your own time to help people directly can't really be considered totally altruistic. Guiltily, you will almost certainly benefit in your heart as much as anything you might be doing for them. Cynicism will fall by the wayside.

Re:Be unselfish (2, Insightful)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286704)

Would you feel the same way if the public school wanted it's students to volunteer for the Westboro Baptist Church, the Black Ministerial Alliance, or Focus on the Family instead of the Salvation Army?

Re:Be unselfish (1)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286473)

The Salvation Army is a missionary branch of the Christian church, that just happens to do charitable work. The Salvation Army Mission Statement reads:
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
I'm not about to perputrate the falsehood that religious persons have a monopoly on charitable acts. How about giving to a charity that is more concerned about distributing aid rather than using it as a guise to spew dogma?

Perhaps you need to learn something about them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286652)

It might tell you something that a lot of people don't even realize the Salvation Army is part of a religious group. Most of the member really are committed to helping others, regardless of their religious stance. And, no, I'm not a member of their church.

Re:Be unselfish (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286690)

Yes, those Salvation Army folks are terrible people. All they think of is themselves.

Re:Be unselfish (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286771)

Okay just as a point of interest Christian Does not at all times equal Religious in fact most of the time Religious folks can't be really called Christian. Yes the Salvation Army is very Christian but spewing dogma would get away from "The Mission"!

Re:Be unselfish (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286531)

I was in Toys 'R Us yesterday purchasing gifts for my 2.5 and 1 year old. In front of me was a kid who looked like a textbook nerd, probably about 10, with that quiet contemplative look that indicates an intelligent mind. He was asking his mom for something, I'm not sure what, but I overheard her say "We don't have a car to drive it home or enough money for that." He was holding one of those inexpensive rubber balls and it looked like all they were buying. They weren't dressed in rags or anything, and they looked respectable, but they were clearly financially "poor".

I was too stunned to act, and I really wish I did. I should have jumped in and offered to buy whatever that kid wanted and gave them a ride home. I just had my little "ivory bubble" burst in that incident and it shocked me. I came up in poverty myself and moved to an affluent area. I have a very healthy income now and like many who came up poor, I don't like to think back to those days because memories of going to bed hungry and being called white trash by yuppies aren't pleasant ones. While that mother and son didn't look as poor as I had been at one period of my life, they still looked like they could have used a blessing from someone.

Anyway, my point is, if anyone knows a family that's hurting, help them out. If they're too proud, put an envelope with money in their mailbox, or anonymously mail them a money order. I'm not saying don't write a check to an organization with a solid track record of helping those who need it(like the Salvation Army), but being able to impact a family in your area who needs it is powerful more direct stuff.

I'm really kicking myself for not helping them out. I honestly was just too shocked at what I heard and was confused by a rush of memories. By the time it even crossed my mind to help them they were gone. The next time I witness that, I'm going to take action.

Is the Salvation Army Bashing Gays? (2, Informative)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286558)

What about the Salvation Army social worker who claims that his supervisor harassed him because he is gay and Jewish and then fired him when he complained?

Also, the Salvation Army has been lobbying to include a special provision that would allow them to discriminate against hiring homosexuals and still receive federal funding.

Re:Is the Salvation Army Bashing Gays? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286914)

What about the Salvation Army social worker who claims that his supervisor harassed him because he is gay and Jewish and then fired him when he complained?

WTF is a jew doing in a christian organization? Do you expect the Salvation Army to be open to muslims and satanists too?

Re:Be unselfish (2, Interesting)

StarboardTack (628847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286687)

I'm sorry to hear that you garner no sense on pleasure or self satisfaction from your seemingly altruistic activities. I'm really not into doing things that I don't want to do, and I don't want to do things that make me feel bad, or even indifferent.

I'm frightened of those who are ashamed to admit that they enjoy helping others or feel that somehow enjoying benevolent acts degrades those acts into not being 'true altruism.'

By that definition, only someone with mental or emotional issues could commit acts of altruism (without regard to their own happiness).

Please admit that it does make your life better by adding some value, be it pleasure, or purpose, or just a warm fuzzy feeling.

Re:Be unselfish (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286724)

Heh. Yes, you got me there. I confessed in a reply above. I saw an article in Scientific American once about the altruistic behaviour of bats, where he theorized that the benefit was the herd instinct, which we bipeds call a sense of community.

Glad to see... (2, Funny)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286268)

that taxes are a benevolent reason to give.

Re:Glad to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286300)

Score: -5, Whoosh!

Re:Glad to see... (3, Informative)

sid crimson (46823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286371)

Well... ...by giving a tax deductable donation your money goes farther. I prefer to see good organizations like your local Salvation Army, church, or food bank get 100% of my donation than to keep 60% of it for myself.

Uncle Sam needs to figure out how to do more with less. After all, he keeps counting on me to do the same.....

-sid

Re:Glad to see... (2, Interesting)

Guuge (719028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286422)

Well... ...by giving a tax deductable donation your money goes farther.

Yes, but the point is that the motivation behind your donation isn't all that benevolent if you're doing it just for the tax break.

Uncle Sam needs to figure out how to do more with less.

Good news! Uncle Sam is doing more and more, and has less in the bank than ever before!

Re:Glad to see... (1)

turbosaab (526476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286762)

I think you missed the point. So, let me try to explain. Suppose you are willing to donate $100 of your PRE-TAX earnings to charity. If your donation is tax-deductable, you are able to donate $100. If your donation is not tax deducatble, then taxes are taken out of the $100. If you're in a 25% tax bracket, $25 goes to the government, $75 goes to the charity. In other words, the charity gets less.

The myth of making a donation for a tax break is absurd. An individual never comes out ahead by making a charitable contribution. Sure, they may pay less taxes, but as long as taxes are less than 100%, they would have come out ahead by keeping the money minus taxes.

Re:Glad to see... (1)

ThaFooz (900535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286517)

Corporations give tax purposes, Oprah & the rest of Hollywood give for PR, Chrisitans give because they think its a ticket to heaven, and middle class white people give to ease their concience. Its all selfish, but it doesn't mean that its not helpful. Isn't the point of society to reward people for doing the "right" thing?

EFF (4, Informative)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286273)

The site's dead, so I can't tell if this was on the list, but defintely everyone should consider donating to the eff [eff.org] . They have done so much good work protecting our digital rights and hopefully they'll be able to continue in the future.

Documentation projects (2, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286281)

I tried to RTFA, but the /. effect struck before I had a chance.

An area, often forgotten, that has a huge impact on whether open source products are easily useable is documentation. In this respect, kudos to the OOo documentation project [openoffice.org] who have done a great job this year.

Useful to a smaller group, but very useful to me this year, has been the excellent Linux Terminal Server Project Wiki [ltsp.org] .

The usefulness of the above resources is in sad contrast to the documentation available for most open source application software. I am very keen to make more use of some of these products, but a lack of good documentation is pretty much a show stopper.

Quanta (1)

pherthyl (445706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286282)

Eric Laffoon is asking for donations towards the http://kdewebdev.org/ [kdewebdev.org] project. He's been sponsoring a full time developer for years out of his own pocket and could use some help.

http://dot.kde.org/1134848565/ [kde.org]

Here's the article (5, Informative)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286295)

Season's Givings

Many people around the world plan their charitable giving around this time of the year, for religious, tax or other similarly benevolent reasons. As a geek who spends an inordinate amount of time with around his computer, these are the entities that have made my life easier in the past year and deserve all the recognition, money and general fulfillment of all Amazon Wish List desires:

        * Firefox : This has undoubtedly been the year of Firefox. If you aren't using it yet... what are you waiting for? With plugins, extensions, tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking and the fact that it's free and open for all make it the IE-killer that we've all been waiting for.
            Get FireFox | Get Involved | Donate

        * Wikipedia If this year was the year of Firefox, then Wikipedia was a close second. This is the largest single resource of information ever created by men. They are having their quarterly fund drive; please give generously. Become a contributor; and editor. Many people believe they don't know enough or need to be an expert in order to contribute meaningfully. You don't have to be. I'm no expert and I've written about my home town, my college, my favorite sports team, and other random stuff I find errors or omissions in. Give it a try and enjoy.

        * OpenOffice.org : By providing a viable, free and open option to the over-priced monopoly of MS Office, OO.o has shown us a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.
            Contribute

        * Fedora : The low-hassle Linux distribution that I've been using for a year or so; a worthy successor to the Red Hat name; easy to get up and running in addition to or in place of that MS OS of yesterday. Contribute

        * Gnucash : This year, there was life before Gnucash and then there was life after Gnucash. And life after has been undoubtedly better. This is a smash free and open source personal (and small business) financial accounting tool that blows everything else out of the water- mainly because it's free and extensible to do what you want it to. Gnucash, you've changed my life for the better. I may not save more money than I used to, but at least I know what I'm not saving money on.
            Contribute

        * Emacs : Emacs, you complete me. 'nuff said.
            Contribute

        * Adium : There was a time when I would have multiple messenger applications running at the same time. Then came Gaim. There was a time when Gaim was ugly; then came Adium, a tremendous messenger client for the Mac OS that looks great, is extensible (has great plugins) and is free/open.
            Donate (donate link at bottom of page)

        * NetNewsWire : This piece of software is one of the great RSS readers of the world (for the Mac). In the new year, I will be buying the full version. Easy to use, great to look at and powerful under the hood; this is the app that made turned me into an RSS junky.

        * Fink : Fink allows Mac OS to be more Unixey than it already is. With easy to install ports of all major UNIX/Linux packages through the command-line or GUI interface, Mac OS X without Fink is like Windows without Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

        * Brattle : The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. is in trouble. If they can't put together enough funding to pay past debts and future leases, they will be closed by February 2006. This is unacceptable- the Brattle is one of few truly independent movie theatres in the country. Without Brattle I would have never seen Casablanca on the big screen and would not have the opportunity to see the 1930s King Kong on the big screen next month.

        * Radio Open Source : These guys are simultaneously changing the internet and radio. Christopher Lydon and his group at Radio Open Source make a few hours every week the most thought provoking of my life and make for great conversation, blogging, surfing and a better informed populace. Available on "real" radio, for download and as a podcast.

        * EFF : The Electronic Fronteir Foundation fight the good fight every time. While they've been recently faulted for causing precedent to be set too early in the battles against government and big business, if we allow these battles to go uncontested we will have a less free internet, software, technology and society at large.

Re:Here's the article (1)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286417)

"* Brattle : The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. is in trouble. If they can't put together enough funding to pay past debts and future leases, they will be closed by February 2006. This is unacceptable- the Brattle is one of few truly independent movie theatres in the country. Without Brattle I would have never seen Casablanca on the big screen and would not have the opportunity to see the 1930s King Kong on the big screen next month."

Oh c'mon... calling the Brattle 'the big screen' is like calling an iPod a 'home theater'.

Independent and cheesy, yes, but the Brattle is at best like going to a movie in a high school auditorium.

Vim/Ugandan Orphans (2, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286503)

If we're going to include emacs, we should include vim -- equal time and all that.

Bram Moolenaar isn't looking for donations to himself or the project, but would prefer vim users donate to iccf, an organization that helps kids in Kibaale, Uganda. Here's a link to a copy of the readme file [initd.org] .

Helping the needy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286637)

It seems that this guy is encouraging us to give money, time, etc. to groups that have been beneficial to us during the past year.

There's nothing wrong with that. Giving to charities is a great thing, and certainly, the guy is free to give to whomever he wants. But I think it is very important also to help people based on how great their need is, rather than what they have done for us.

There are people suffering from AIDS, violenceI don't know about this..., and famine (especially in Africa) who need our help. In Western countries, there are homeless people, drug addicts, prisoners, the elderly. These are all people who deserve respect, love, and human dignity.

It is fine to give to GNOME et. al., but when you do that, please remember the less fortunate as well.

What about the Human Fund? (2, Funny)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286297)

in the spirit of Festivus, of course!

Re:What about the Human Fund? (1)

TheBlairMan (929930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286806)

MUAHHAHAHA I GOT THAT JOKE! Curse you Seinfeld... Either way, Happy Festivus1

Donations to Webhoster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286307)

Perhaps you should give more money to your webhoster, in an effort to improve your bandwidth. Then maybe we could all read your list. :)

"made geek life easier" (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286320)

Apparrently bandwidth wasn't part of that ;p

My son's soccer coach (3, Interesting)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286356)

You may be expecting a joke about putting up with a bunch of unruly 14-year-olds.

Sorry, he deserves it [vancourier.com] .

Details here [hopeforthenations.com] .

Instead of stuff, give time! (3, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286363)

Why not volunteer at a school in a low income neighborhood? I'm sure young people would love to have an expert computer resource at their disposal. And what better audience for free/open source ideas?

Slashdotting (0, Redundant)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286368)

Given the state of your server currently, you might want to put some of those funds towards more bandwidth and hardware.

You've been Slashdotted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286389)

You've been Slashdotted! Next time you post a link you may want to ensure your server can withstand the awe that is /.
Blog [damnednice.com]

Ubuntu (2, Insightful)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286398)

Whether it's your cup of tea or not, at this moment, no one but no one is building the Linux user base like these guys. The inroads they've been making into what is historically a Microsoft market of end-users are phenominal, and that helps everyone.

And don't get me wrong, they'll take your money with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts, but what they'd really love for Christmas is a little of your time and talent.

Re:Ubuntu (1)

confusion here (827020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286460)

Ubuntu is funded by an independantly wealthy billionaire. I would hardly consider it a charity.

Re:Ubuntu (2, Informative)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286611)

Lots of charities are funded by independently wealthy billionaires. See also: Bill Gates, George H.W. Bush.

Furthermore, the money that Shuttleworth has put into Ubuntu, AFAIK, consisted of $10 million in startup capital. (Yeah, it's a Wikipedia number, I don't know about the accuracy, but there it is.) A significant chunk of money to be sure, but if the number is to be trusted, he's not exactly pouring his financial resources into Ubuntu.

Further-furthermore, the man's not making a dime off it. Which is, of course, the definition of the word 'charity.'

Self-Sufficiency (4, Interesting)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286403)

I really like Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org./ [www.heifer.org] You're giving the gift of self-sufficiency to people that really want it: participants ask for help, and recieve training, assistance in building livestock pens and equipment, and depending on their individual and community situation at least one female livestock animal appropriate to their environment. The only thing Heifer asks from the participants in return is that they pass on an equivalent gift to another needy family, in the form of training or the first female offspring of their gift animal. Heifer works all over the world, including the poorer areas of the United States: they have a map on their site that shows current active projects. Due to the nature of their work they have to be in fairly stable areas -you don't want your newly-gifted goats to be stolen and fed to soldiers after all- but those are often the regions that seem to need the most help and that no one know s_how_ to help.

If it helps build their credibility, Heifer has been a Motley Fool choise philanthopy for at least two years now.

Another Idea (5, Interesting)

keithmo (453716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286420)

  • Take 10 $100 bills.
  • Spend one day giving them (anonymously, if you wish) to people you see every day who make your life easier and who could really use the money. The "single mother" waitress who keeps your coffee cup filled at your favorite breakfast place. The anonymous immigrant who cleans the bathroom at your office. The teenage student who sacks your groceries when not studying for an exam. The elderly person working at the fast-food joint because they cannot survive on their retirement benefits.

These are the faceless people who keep our society running. We all depend on them.

No, you cannot deduct these donations from your taxes, but fuck it. Do it anyway.

Better yet...! (2, Funny)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286493)

Take 100000 pennies.
Throw one at everyone that pissed you off this year!!

ARHGH!

Re:Better yet...! (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287118)

Not enough pennies.

Re:Another Idea (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286758)

Great idea! Uh, do you have $1,000 I can borrow?

Maybe ten $10 bills would be a more practical idea for those of us who aren't rich.

Re:Another Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286999)

Or you could invest the money and let the free market to help the poor and unemployed. You might even make a little profit.

Good Gift Guide online (UK) (1)

gibbsjoh (186795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286440)

The Good Gift Guide has a whole load of "alternative" charitable gifts available via their online store, things like a goat for an African family, Ducks for Peace and whatnot... quite groovy. The World Vision organisation does something similar but I've never used it myself.

Good Gift Guide [nyud.net]

World Vision's Great Gifts [nyud.net]

Child Haven (1)

Phantasmo (586700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286532)

I usually give to Child Haven International [childhaven.ca] , because I've met the organizers on several occasions and they're very dedicated to helping disadvantaged children.

Later in the year I usually make a small contribution to one geeky project (last year it was mozdev), and to my progressive political party of choice.

I have my own list of F/OSS projects (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286535)

These are the projects that have been worthy of my money. There are donation links and methods of payment listed:
http://arc.nucapt.northwestern.edu/F/OSS [northwestern.edu]

Fire! (2, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286545)

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [thefire.org] works to protect the free speech rights of students across the U.S., with a special focus on public colleges and universities, which are bound by Constitutional mandate to preserve freedom of speech. They are especially in need of donations from people who've already moved on to start their careers, since college students typically don't make that much money.

You could be Time Person of the Year Too! (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286554)

Hey, if you give enough, maybe you could outshine billy boy, and be time person of the year [slashdot.org]

Chistmas Lights Webcam for Celiac Disease (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286583)

The infamous [komar.org] (!) christmas lights webcam [komar.org] is raising money for Celiac Disease Research [celiaccenter.org] at the University of Maryland. There is also a whimsical eBay auction [ebay.com] of "The Webcam that Fooled the World" - again, 100% of proceeds to charity.

And oh yeah, I've got five 100 Mbps servers (1/2 Gig of bandwidth!) this year, so my site hasn't melted down like the one linked to in this article has ... ;-)

Doctors Withouth Borders (1)

corporatewhore (308338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286615)

Doctors Without Borders [doctorswit...orders.org] usually gets a good chunk of my donations. I think they do great work all over the world, with little overhead...

Geeks can help Seniors (3, Informative)

toekneeshops (727799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286640)

There is a wonderful non-profit that is based in the U.S. but is growing worldwide called SeniorNet (see http://www.seniornet.org/ [seniornet.org] which teaches older people how to use computers. If you have a local Seniornet Learning Center, you can donate time teaching or coaching classes, you can donate useable equipment, or you can donate money. You may even be able to just donate technical advice. You would not believe the look of happiness on old folks' faces when they find pictures of their grandkids on the Internet for the first time, or they find out there is a support community for their particular painful disorders. Volunteer! It's a great help and a great feeling!

Give the right amount to the right places (2, Insightful)

alphorn (667624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286650)

Think about how many Africans will die (malnourishment, diseases) because you use your "charity" budget on stuff that makes your life better.

Think about exactly why you would be outraged if millions of people died of hunger or cold (think Pakistan) in your country, yet this is not such a big deal if it happens far enough away.

Think about how much suffering could be prevented if you gave 10% of your income, how little suffering that would cause you, and why you (like most people) consider it okay to give much less than that.

International Red Cross [icrc.org]
Médécins sans frontières [msf.org]
UN World Food Programme [wfp.org]

Habitat for Humanity (2, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286691)

I'm a core volunteer for Habitat and it is definitely one of my favorite charities. It's very unique in that it provides housing but also makes the recipients get involved as helping themselves and their neighbors. The way it works is that the recipient must volunteer for X number of hours with Habitat and they end up either working on the home they'll move into or one of their neighbors' homes since Habitat tends to build entire neighborhoods. So they end up knowing each other from the start.

It's also great for those who want to help but don't have the extra cash. It helps me meet some great people who I would normally never meet and I've met a few "nerds" (professors, engineers, etc). The only caveat is that Habitat is a Christian organization but they're pretty light on that and never presses anyone on religion. I'm a devout atheist and have enjoyed working with other volunteers who are often church affliated.

It's a little late to do it now for the holiday season since a house takes some time to complete but try it for the next holiday season. One can imagine the emotion when the key is handed over to the new owners during the holiday season.

this year I gave to... (0)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286705)

This year I gave to Childs Play [childsplaycharity.com] from Penny Arcade, Through my parish, and to a charity dance (I think toys for tots distributed the gifts). Basically I give through organizations that represent me; as a gamer, as religious, and as a social dancer =).

If you can... (1)

Cmdr_earthsnake (939669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286774)

then consider giving a bit of money to a set of fairly non-biased organisations such as...

This may sound common and like a cliche.. but oxfam do actually make a difference to the world and as such their motto "working to put an end to poverty world-wide" shows. http://www.oxfam.org/ [oxfam.org]

Wikipedia also offer a.. well.. biased but ultimately helpful list of possible causes to give your money to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_to_donate_sites [wikipedia.org]

Also giving your money to your family through presents and to people you like and such is a worthy cause in my opinion, christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and sharing and joy,enjoy it. :)

Medecins sans frontieres (2, Informative)

haelduksf (812679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286775)

http://www.msf.org/ [msf.org] Nobel peace prize winners helping african orphans, how much better can it get?

your local animal shelter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286898)

Donate to your local animal shelter / humane society. They're always short of supplies and money. You can also put those geek skills to use and set up web pages and such for them.

Not a geek thing, but.... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287013)

If you are a Christian and looking for somewhere to give, I am a part of the I.T. group for the world's largest evangelical mission group. You don't even need to get up from where you are sitting right now if you would like to help us out. You can just go here [ccci.org]

Our web site has more info. [thepeckfamily.us]

CharityNavigator (1)

boingo82 (932244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287114)

It's not geeky, but I recommend Charity Navigator. [charitynavigator.org]

It is like Consumer Reports for charities. It tells you what % of your contribution actually goes to helping people, compares the charity to others of similar mission and size, tells you how much the CEO makes, etc.

Especially in light of all the fradulent charities that sprung up after Hurricane Katrina, I think it's a valuable site to make sure your money goes where you wanted it to.

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