A Thanksgiving Tradition: Second Annual Freeware Contribution Review

At Thanksgiving 2011, I decided to take steps toward compensating people who developed freeware.  That was actually just the latest in a series of attempts to take an organized approach to the matter.  As noted in the post discussing the situation at that point, I had been bothered for some time by the realization that I had not paid very much at all to all those people who had worked up all those programs.

Being bothered is one thing.  Doing something about it is another matter altogether.  The Thanksgiving 2011 post described the steps I planned to take.  I had to identify the programs and other tools I was using; I had to come up with what seemed like a fair value for each of them, whether less or more than the amount (if any) that the developers suggested as a contribution, based on their actual value to me; and then I actually had to make those payments.  The post described how I worked through those steps.

I came up with a list of more than 400 utilities, tools, and other programs that I had used on my computer.  Some were commercial programs; some were freeware for which I had already made a contribution, or had upgraded to the pro version; some were items that I might have used only for a brief trial run, if that.  I didn’t even remember some of them.  Others had been really valuable.

I vaguely thought that I would use the year between Thanksgiving 2011 and Thanksgiving 2012 to refine the list, decide how much each of those programs was worth to me (if anything) beyond what I had already paid for it (if anything), maybe write some reviews on some of those programs, and generally start to get the list in order.  I did do that, to a considerable extent.  I had a batch file programmed to open the spreadsheet each week.  Many times, I didn’t want to spend time on it then, so I often deferred until the following week.  Some of the sorting was actually still undone when I returned to the matter to write this post.  But overall, the list did come together.  At this point, I was getting back to it a few weeks later than intended, but here we pick up where the previous post left off.

As the previous post describes, I had already done some sorting and preliminary thinking about the value of these programs to me.  It was going to be an imperfect matter, but it did seem advisable at least to get past the programs for which I had already paid, or that I never used, or that seemed to be on their way out (because of e.g., the arrival of a superior alternative).  I still did not have much money, but at least I could get those off the list.  After that initial round of housecleaning. I was particularly interested in making contributions for the programs that were now most useful to me.  I would have enough money to make affordable contributions only to some of those, but it was long past time to start doing that, at least.

I liked the annual return to this process, with its connection to Thanksgiving.  It seemed timely to express gratitude to all these people who had contributed so much to me and others.  But I was also seeing two parts of the process that had better be revisited more frequently.  First, the prospect of paying out hundreds of dollars for freeware had now twice proved intimidating.  Now that I had at least caught up to November 2011, with a list of programs in use then, I could begin returning to this list throughout the year, making a contribution here and there.  Second, as I say, I was only caught up to November 2011.  At this writing, I didn’t have time or desire to go through another huge program-search process like the one described in the previous post.  What seemed more workable was to have periodic reminders to check and add to the list throughout the year.  Since I had often dismissed the weekly reminder during the past year, I decided to try a monthly reminder to add new programs and make further donations to my list of freeware developers to contribute to.  The plan at this point was to make Thanksgiving the time when I would review overall progress in terms of contributions paid out and new programs added to the list.

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One Response to A Thanksgiving Tradition: Second Annual Freeware Contribution Review

  1. Ray Woodcock says:

    A later post provides some updated comments on the effort described in this post.

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