Emacsen's Blog

The Rule of One

If you care about Free and Open Source Software, you probably think about ways to support the people who write the programs that you rely on. In this post, I'm going to tell you what I do, and what I hope others will do too. I call it the The Rule of One

The Rule of One is very simple:

Whatever you spend on proprietary software, donate that same amount to Free Software causes.

If you're well off, you should employ the Rule of Two to One

Whatever you spend on proprietary software, donate double to Free Software causes.

Think about all the times that we buy proprietary software:

  • Did you buy a game for your smart phone recently? Or for that matter, did you buy a smart phone that came with proprietary software on it?

  • Did you buy some proprietary hardware, like a Roku , or maybe a "Smart" television? Or even a medical device?

  • Did you buy a video game or game console system?

If you consider all the times that we either purchase or subsidize proprietary software, for many of us, it ends up being hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars a year.

I'm not telling you to stop buying the things you love. Instead, I'm saying that whatever you're spending on proprietary software, invest in creating the Free alternatives.

If you're not sure how, most of the larger projects have a Donate button on their home page. Alternatively, here are some organizations that support Free Software that you should consider donating to: