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Editor's Note: Hug Your Favorite FOSS Contributors Today (On the Internet, no one can see you nod.)

Dec 18, 2009, 23:02 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

Many things money cannot buy; I think most of us have left jobs, even when we thought we couldn't afford to, because we just couldn't take it anymore, and no amount of money would have made us stay. It's no different in FOSS, which seems to be as famous for flamefests and whining as software. Sometime even I get to the point of thinking I want to chuck the lot and buy a Mac.

But most times all it takes to keep someone going is a kind word, a friendly gesture, a simple thank-you. The amazing Valerie Aurora wrote a blog I've been saving for the right occasion. This seems as good a time as any, so here we go. In The Thank-You Meme: The coreboot project Val writes:

"One of the reasons we burn out is the huge imbalance between positive and negative feedback. For every supportive email or blog comment, you get a hundred obnoxious ones. I have a theory: Most people in open source support what we are trying to do, it just doesn't feel that way. On the Internet, no one can see you nod."

I'm a glass-half-empty type my own self. So I'm always working to cultivate a heart of gratitude, and to give credit where credit is due, because nurturing a peevish critical spirit is not healthy. It's not constructive either, who wants to pay attention to someone who is chronically critical?

So I suggest taking Val's Thank-You Meme a step further and take a minute to send a thank-you to your favorite FOSS project. Or three or ten or however many. It's fast, easy, and encouraging. Just like Valerie said, on the Internet no one can see you nod, so consider taking that extra step to let some of our fine FOSS contributors know that you appreciate what they're doing. And remember that's not just developers, but packagers, artists, distro maintainers, people who help in forums, howto authors, Linux OEM vendors, independent consultants, and so on. We need all of us.