I didn’t want to end this series with a grand finale and reserving the “prime spot” for the best tool/language/framework, because frankly, all of them are solutions for different problems, and any kind of global ranking would be unfair. Instead, I want to use today’s prime spot to talk about a topic that is close to my heart: Open source software.
All of those languages, frameworks and tools I talked about have something in common. They’re free and open source, or there is at least one free and open source implementation of them. C++ has for instance the GCC and Clang compilers implementing the language. The open source world is where a lot of the innovation is happening these days. Sometimes the projects are backed by companies making money with them, but often times open source projects are ran by volunteers like you and me. People with a day job who sit down in their evenings and weekends to participate in the open source ecosystem.
Those people deserve our thanks, our support, and our money. If you’re an individual or a business, and you’re depending on open source code for your job, take a moment to look up how to contribute and send some money to the maintainers (if you’re in a situation that allows you to donate – which is hopefully the case if you’re reading my blog and working in IT, which I know most of you are!). Writing and maintaining software is a hard job that should be rewarded. Writing and maintaining open source software, where every person out there is a critic and you don’t get paid for by someone, is a really hard job, and nobody can live from reputation alone.
It’s also really easy to help those projects. To help you get started, I’m providing the donation links to the projects I talked about that accept donations:
- Catch2 – via GitHub sponsoring
- FSF – GCC and other projects
- Linux Foundation
- Matplotlib, Numpy and Pandas
- Pallets Projects – Flask and others
- Python Software Foundation
There are of course tons of other open source projects which need your help. Do take a look at what you’re using, and see if there’s a way to contribute back to it.
We’ve built a world of software on the shoulders of free labour, volunteers, and idealistic people. If we want to ensure that there will be free software for years to come, we must start appreciating the value. Putting some money behind it is the first step towards a better future, in which people can live writing open source software for the greater good of all the programmers in the world!