24 Jul 2022

Give Back to the Community

Since 2015, I started learning Python and migrated to Ubuntu from Windows. It was hard at the beginning but later when I learned how does it work, it became easy. At the same time, I became user of free softwares instead of propriety ones. I started using LibreOffice instead of MS Office and Minetest instead of Minecraft which I suppose now is Microsoft’s.

In FOSS world, you usually don’t pay for the software you are using. When we say you don’t pay, this doesn’t mean only money. It also means you don’t sell your data to companies and then governments in exchange for service or software. Nor you see ads in FOSS most of the time, if not always. As a matter of fact, people or precisely programmers, develop these softwares in their free time as a hobby. Of course not all open source softwares work like this but most of them do. There is no direct benefit for the developers of Minetest for developing Minetest.

Since I was about 9th grade, years ago, I’ve been playing CTF game on its server which back then was hosted and started by rubenwardy who is also a core developer of Minetest. The game in its early days was very basic but fun. The game is still on with a variety of new features. I am still playing the game on the server which is now hosted by LanderVargan(formerly LoneWolf).

Recently, I thought of something: I am playing this game for a very long time and having fun with it. And for all players who play it, there are about just a handful who work on its development. Because of very low value of my local currency, Rial. I cannot donate and help with hosting but I am a programmer and can work on the development. Actually I think it is my responsibility to work on it not just because I have the skill but also because I’ve got the time to spend.

For anyone reading my article I suggest you “give back” to the community who build a software which you use. If you have money, donate some. Preferably, on a regular basis. Even small amounts will help. And even if it doesn’t, it will bring warm feelings to the heart of developers so that they can see they’re not alone.

If you’ve got the time, you can help with development, testing, documenting or helping other people with their problems with the software.

If you’ve got no time nor money, still you can do something: Simply send a “Thank you” message to the developer(s). State in your email what you like about their software and that it has been useful for you. And possibly write about things like UI/UX which you dislike.

As a summary, open source community driven softwares get what they need from their communities and we, are those who form their community.