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Supporting FOSS One Sandwich at a Time

Editor’s note: Larry Cafiero — writing as Larry the Free Software Guy — originally wrote this item on his blog on June 11, 2011. As FOSS Force is starting its fundraising month, Larry has let us run this column as it ran several years ago. While we’d love it if you’d donate to us, FOSS Force is 100 percent behind the idea of supporting the FOSS project(s) of your choice. Where applicable, links from the original post have been updated.

During my campaign for Insurance Commissioner of California in 2006 — where I just missed being elected to state office by a mere 46.5 percent of the vote — one of my campaign fundraising materials was a handout with a sandwich on it. It said, in effect, that if you give up one of these a week and send the money — $5 per week, in this case — to the campaign, you could have proper representation in Sacramento.

[It should be noted that, as a Green Party candidate, I did not take corporate campaign donations — not that any were forthcoming — so I needed a lot of sandwiches to mount an effective campaign. Thank goodness for FOSS, since I didn’t have to buy any software, but that’s another story.]

Yesterday’s blog item about the Ubuntu earrings that are being used as a fundraiser for Partimus started me thinking about how some people shy away from donating to groups or, in our case, FOSS projects, because they think it takes a lot up front.

Nope, it doesn’t have to. It takes one sandwich at a time. Or coffee. Or dessert. Giving up one of these just once a week, multiplied by a significant number of people, can put some well-deserved projects in some pretty good financial shape.

It’s very simple — instead of having that grande iced mochajavafrappamacchiato at Starbucks today, send the money via PayPal to a FOSS project that you use regularly, as a way of saying, “Thanks.”

Give to Partimus, the project that is putting Linux-based computer labs in low-income schools in Northern California (or buy a pair of earrings). Or the HeliOS Project [Reglue], since “a child’s exposure to technology should never be predicated on the ability to afford it.”

Like GIMP? Give to them here. Don’t like it? Give to Inkscape instead.

The possibilities only end with the number of FOSS programs that are taking donations. Go to the programs that you use and look for a “donate” button.

Then give ’em a sandwich.

The time has come for FOSS Force to grow and offer expanded coverage of free and open source software and free tech. For this reason, we have declared the month of May to be “Pledge Month” on FOSS Force and have launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. You can get all of the details on our campaign page.

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