Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Taxes, and Supporting Free Software

Elections bring issues out in the open, and expose ideas to the public. My country is preparing for a national election, so naturally taxes are being discussed. When I got my first paycheck, I was shocked and disappointed to see how much of MY money was going to taxes! I was very young then, and didn't know how much my pittance helped ME to become part of the adult world, by doing my part, paying my fair share, supporting my government and even my future self. The act of paying didn't engage my emotions, or make me feel part of my community then.

Back when I used Windows, I paid my fair share both by buying the software I used, but also by contributing to my favorite shareware applications. However, just as when I first paid taxes, I didn't feel part of the community, because all I gave was money.

As I became an adult, I began to contribute in some organizations where I felt that my work really did help to change the world, improve my culture, and my country.

Then I started using free software, and eventually learned that there are communities creating this software, and even more astonishing, that I could help. And not just with my money, although that is sometimes important. For instance, KDE welcomes all kinds of contribution; code, bug reporting, bug triage, and bug fixing. Writing documentation, press releases, news stories, interviews, blog posts, even tweet/dents. Art, graphics, design, videos, baked goods! Party planning, setting up meetings, sprints, summits, conferences, leadership, management, moving chairs, taking minutes--and giving money.

The foundation supporting KDE, the KDE e.V., needs supporting members, corporate sponsors, and even occasional small donations. All of that money is needed to support the office, fund sprints, and do large meeting start-up.

I'd like to urge you to become a Supporting Member if you use KDE software. Doing so will move your heart from feeling like a user, to feeling like a contributor to the community. If you can't afford Join the Game, please contribute as you can! The more you contribute, the more your KDE community becomes your family. Do it now. You'll be glad you did.