Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Linux community

It's been a little while since I posted on this blog as I've been quite busy and as they say life has got in the way.

Anyway I've been reviewing my use of Linux and my support of the community surrounding the Linux operating system. I have been a full time home user of Linux for the last 3 years and used it for a couple of years before that specifically to rescue older PC hardware to save it from the electronic graveyard.

Over the last few years my Distribution of choice has been Linux Mint and I have installed it on a number of my own PC's in various forms, netbooks, laptops and my main desktop PC. I have also used it to rescue hardware for friends replacing a virus infested windows installs on a number of occasions for several people, some of these have come back for seconds, (and we're not talking uber geeks here) so Linux Mint is getting something right.

At Blackpool LUG last week we were talking of the community distributions and the popularity of Mint and the amount of financial support it receives from it's community and I realised the value I place on my use of a fantastic operating system but make absolutely no contribution back. Now I'm not a coder so can not help with development of the OS but I am in a position to support those that do, so I have made a small donation to the projects funds, and intend to do this at least once a year. 

Now I know that not all users of Linux have loads of cash to splash about, but if you consider the cost that putting that other OS onto your PC, and given that many Linux users also build their own PC's or rescue older hardware this could amount to a considerable amount of cash over time. Making a small donation of say the price of a drink or a cinema ticket (in the UK this would be £2-7) once or twice a year or a little more if you can afford it, is still very good value for money and you will be helping the developers of you favourite flavour of Linux to continue to develop and improve the software. 

We need to remember that Free in the open source sense is the freedom to use the software in the way we want to, but it still needs to be developed and developers have got to eat and pay their bills as well. If we don't support these projects there is a danger that software freedom will die, as the people with the skills to write the code will move towards the closed source propriety world to earn a living, and we will all be the poorer if that happens.