Jon 'maddog' Hall gave a talk at the OLS reception on the first day of the
conference. Those who have heard other maddog talks would certainly
recognize the collection of "amusing stories from maddog's travels" theme
of this one. Mr. Hall did, however, make a new and worthwhile point this
Users of free software (and we all are, in one way or another) often have
many things to say to the developers of that software. They send in
feature requests and bug reports. They ask where the next release is.
They want help making things work. They complain about vulnerability
disclosure policies. They post snide comments about the quality of the
code or the documentation.
It is relatively uncommon for free software users to simply say "thanks."
Every line of free code is a gift from the developer (or from whoever paid
for the developer's effort). Nobody is entitled to free software; it's a
windfall, a present from those who created it. All told, it is a gift
worth, by most accounts, billions of dollars.
A little gratitude goes a long way. The next time you deal with a
developer of a package that you use, consider throwing in a brief "thank
you." The developers have earned it.
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