Home opinion-and-analysis The Linux Distillery New Year Resolution - donate to FOSS/Linux projects

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Chances are free and open source projects have made their way into your workflow, your entertainment, your communications. Why not set 2014 off by vowing to give back to those projects which enrich your life?

You need not look far to find free and open source - or FOSS - software that is in widespread use. The most obvious and notable candidate is Linux, in one or more of its variations - Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu or others.

There are also a great many open source software projects that have daily use among many, many people worldwide.

7-Zip, for example, is a robust and lightweight compression and decompression tool which handles a variety of formats, integrates into context menus, and comes with a seamless, unobtrusive interface.

VLC player, for another, is a quality multimedia player with a tiny footprint that almost betrays the rich array of video and audio formats it can handle.

If you are an avid e-book reader you will undoubtedly have used Calibre, a terrific tool for organising your e-book collection and converting between formats with minimal fuss.

KeePassX stores your credentials for web sites and applications, in an encrypted and safe fashion. Use this app and you can have individual passwords for every site you use, never again fearing that if one site is breached that you are compromised on other sites.

Other popular apps you might use are FileZilla, TOR, the GIMP, Firefox, qTorrent, Blender - even Apache, TrueCrypt, LibreOffice, PostgreSQL and more.

How much would you pay for quality software? What is the benefit or value you have derived from the use of such applications as these?

Visit the web site for your favourite FOSS apps and search for a donation link. You may find you can use PayPal or BitCoins as well as more traditional payment models.

Alternatively, try starting your next Amazon.Com session at smile.amazon.com - this will cause a small percentage of your normal purchase price to be directed to a charitable organisation of your choice, which includes GNOME, the EFF and others.

Give it a thought; set 2014 off on a charitable tack, with a spirit of returning to those who have you given to you.

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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