Amazing Free Software and WWIPAS

2011-01-22 16:04:24 by chort

A few days ago I was using a free DNS monitoring utility called dnstop. I had found a few bugs while trying to build and run it on OpenBSD. I knew one of the authors was active on public mailing lists, so I e-mailed him to report the bugs. To my surprise and delight, he responded quickly and began investigating.

When he was unable to setup a test environment to mimic mine in a timely manner, he asked if he could login to one of my systems to verify the behavior. I gave him access to a virtual machine and a day later, after several e-mail exchanges, all my reported problems were fixed and a new version of the software was available for download. Since the software itself was free, but the maintainer had gone to considerable trouble to fix my bugs in a very responsive manner, I offered him the continuing use of the shell account as payment.

A few days later I was downloading an update to TinyUmbrella and noticed a "Donate" button on the website. I thought about how much potential hassle that utility saves me and decided to donate. It only took a minute to contribute a few dollars to the project through PayPal. These two experiences prompted me to muse on the amazing value that authors of free software deliver, and what proper compensation is. This lead me to create the "WWIPAS" rule. What on Earth is that? I'm so glad you asked, read on...

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