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Ways to support open-source projects

There are many ways to support your favorite open-source project. Even though code contributions are the most obvious method, not everyone - including me - can do so. I just want to share some ideas, on how someone can support the open-source space.

Coding

As mentioned before, the most obvious contribution to an open-source project might be to code yourself. This can be a small bug fix, a new feature, or even becoming a maintainer of the whole project, depending on your time and capabilities.

Financial support & self-hosting

Consider donating money to the project. A lot of open-source projects are maintained by people who spend their spare time to code. Even small contributions help to pay the bills for hosting, coffee, pizza, and so on.

Check the project for the following options to donate money: Patreon, Liberapay, Open Collective, "buy me a coffee", PayPal (+ credit cards), direct wire transfer or cryptocurrencies.

Just for the protocol: Donations != Claims/ Commissions. Please do not donate money and demand or expect a feature you have requested. That is not how it works.

Not everyone is in the position to donate money, but I would consider it one of the easiest ways to support a project.

Another method is to self-host a service. An example would be to host a Gitea instance, and keep it open for public use. This opens the door for new people to try it out and get used to it.

Provide feedback, bug reports, & more

Found a bug? Got an idea for a new feature or improvements? Found a security vulnerability? Reach out to the project team respectfully. Please be clear about what you mean and read the docs before you do.

Use your individual skills to improve the project.

Translations

Providing a multilingual program or service can be challenging. From the technical standpoint of the localization, to the actual translation itself.

There are various ways for the technical implementation. From managed services like crowdin or Transifex, to simple text files within the git repo. The how-to should be described in the documentation.

Helping your favorite project to translate it to another language helps to make it more accessible for new people.

Provide help to the community

Being an active member of the community is an important part. Helping new users to solve problems or answer questions is a great way to build a healthy community. A significant side effect is that team member have more time to tackle coding related problems instead of answering questions. Some projects have forums, some use their bug trackers, some mailing-lists, some their social media accounts.

Create and share content

It doesn't matter what format you choose, but creating content about your favorite project is a great way to grow the community. Share your favorite functions, your use cases, exciting stories, or tutorials and guides. As mentioned, the format plays a secondary role: videos, blog posts, infographics, social media posts, and so on.

Send some appreciation

As mentioned before, many open-source projects are maintained by people that spend their free time to work on it. Sending them a simple 'Thank you' and 1-2 sentences, what the project is used for, can bring some joy and motivation.

Spread the word

Talk about it. Tell people why it is your favorite project, recommend it respectfully to others, and spread the word. I use Vim by the way. This is fairly similiar to a previous point and is self-explanatory anyway.

and ...

I bet there are many more ways to support your favorite projects. Feel free to let me know.





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