Contributed by deanna on from the helping out dept.
In this blog I'd like to share my experiences on how easy it can be to help the OpenBSD project, apart from buying CDs and T-Shirts regularly (you all do that anyways, don't ya).
Most of you will remember Theo's statement in one of his interviews: "If I add up everything we have ever gotten in exchange for our efforts with OpenSSH, it might amount to $1,000. This all came from individuals. For our work on OpenSSH, companies using OpenSSH have never given us a cent. What about companies that incorporate OpenSSH directly into their products, saving themselves millions of dollars? Companies such as Cisco, Sun, SGI, HP, IBM, Siemens, a raft of medium-sized firewall companies -- we have not received a cent. Or from Linux vendors? Not a cent."
Update: Japanese translation by TAKAHASHI Tamotsu, thank you!
I felt touched somehow (though not being a vendor) but wasn't quite sure how _I_ could help in the first place.
A few days later I've decided to write a friendly but determined letter directly to the CIO's of the University of Zurich and of the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) - and guess what:
the ETH donated $1000 right away and the University allowed me to send a mass mailing to all CIO's of all connected Institutes which enabled me to collect even more money, ~$6000!
Though the process of getting some bucks together took quite a while (try to use taxpayers money for donations ;) ) I managed to get over $7000 together, with only three (3) emails! And I do believe a lot of you guys can do so, too. Please take that personally. It even doesn't require a hero.
When I met wim@ later he told me Zurich is the only place where something like this has happened. I couldn't and still can't believe it! Come on, there must be literally hundreds of users out there who have time to write a few emails, aren't there? I know how it might feel: "My little help won't change anything." I thought the same and have proven myself wrong. It will. Just do it. Maybe it will even make the 'donate button' stop blinking.
When you start writing such an email, it helps to:
- establish a personal connection - be polite - be determined - in my case it helped to talk about OpenSSH because it was known better
The story has an interesting ending. Because using taxpayers money for donations turned out to be quiet tricky, a Free Software Interest Group was founded at the University, called FOSS@UZH, to make similar activities much easier in the future - maybe even a hackathon in Zurich? :)
Stephan A. Rickauer, FOSS@UZH
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