Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Free software costs someone something. If there's a mechanism to donate, it could help ensure that your favorite free tool will be around for a while.
I've used [removed] products for several years. Rather than glossing over the Donate invitation that comes up when downloading/installing [product], I would strongly recommend and encourage users to consider donating any amount to support further development of the software program(s). I have contributed twice and would encourage others to do so at least once.
Obviously, this wasn't so much a question as it is a statement or a recommendation made by one of my readers.
A recommendation that I agree with.
Yes, I believe that if you can you should "pay" for most free software that you find valuable and use regularly.
I'll explain why.
It takes significant time, energy, and resources to create software.
Even if you aren't paying for it directly, someone, somewhere is.
They're donating that time, energy, and those resources to create something - it's certainly not free to them.
Now, they may opt to do it as a "labor of love," or for other altruistic reasons, and that's fantastic.
But often, they do provide a means for you to show your support for what they're doing with a donation or other form of payment.
One of the most frustrating things is to come across a fantastic piece of software that looks like it'll work well to solve a specific problem or use case, only to find that it's been abandoned. That means no more bug fixes, no more updates for new platforms, no more authoritative answers to questions you might have.
Sadly, that happens to a lot of free software. I see it all the time. Sure, sometimes, it's software that - to put it bluntly - deserves to die, but even good software frequently gets abandoned for lack of support.
Developers often end up abandoning projects because they turn out not to be worth their time.
To put it bluntly, providing free software doesn't pay the bills.
It's a classic case in philanthropy that extends to the world of free software: $5, for example, doesn't seem like something worth giving, so you don't.
And thousand other people feel the same way.
So, what could perhaps add up to $5,000 adds up to ... nothing.
It sounds trite, it sounds condescending even, but it's true; every little bit helps. It all adds up.
If you can't afford it, fine. Don't worry. Often, your situation is exactly why free software exists.
Maybe someday later, you can "pay it back" in one form or another, but even then you don't need to.
But if you can, consider it.
For projects that make donations to the cause possible, it's the ultimate reward system. You're telling the people that run that project that, yes, you believe in their work, their project, their software, and want them to continue.
In fact, there's a strong argument that says donations say more than payments for commercial software.
You only donate if you want to.
You only donate once you've decided that the software has provided sufficient value to you.
One donation says more than a dozen sales as far as I'm concerned.
If you find that free software you've been using for a while valuable. Perhaps you'd even gladly pay for what it does for you, even though you don't have to ...
Consider "paying for it" anyway after the fact with a donation if the developer has a mechanism for doing so.
Not only will it show your support, but it might very well help ensure that the software will continue to be updated and supported into the future.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.