How do you decide to which opensource project you donate money to?

I was donating monthly to almost all of the opensource project that I use on my vps and that came out to about 100€ a month(5€ per project) and that actually hadn’t included Postfix, Dovecot, Arch Linux or any of desktop applications I use yet. I still want to donate to some of the opensource projects but if I did I could probably end up at a donation of double that a month.

I have found that some the popular opensource projects have quite a list of people and sometimes even companies donating to them. So I’m thinking how can my 5€ donation a month make a difference, I might as well donate to the opensource project that I use that are smaller and receive less donations. But then at the same time I think I should donate the opensource project of the Linux distribution that I use on a daily basis or other software that I use on a regular basis.

I still want to donate monthly to some of the opensource projects, so I’m actually interested in hearing how anyone here that donates to opensource projects decides and prioritizes which opensource projects they donate to and if you do it monthly, once a year or just random or maybe you have another way of going at?


Just an idea but if you have more projects to donate to than your budget allows, you could donate to different projects on a rotation instead of trying to hit every project, every month.


That is an idea, going to make an actual list of opensource software I use on both desktop and my servers and than see if I can make a rotation system. It would still be interesting to hear how others do this.

@dalto Since yesterday I replaced my “Timeshift” setup with your “btrfs-assistant” application. Is there anyway to donate to your project, that way I will know if I have to add it to my list or not?


Not currently, no. I am glad to hear you are using it though.


Since I am disabled and on a limited income I don’t have the luxury to make monthly donations. I do make donations as money permits to those Opensource Projects I use. I make one time donations and if I am able later on I make another.

As far as your donating @dalto has the best idea IMHO. There are so many and to donate to them all could bankrupt a person lol. Having managed a software project or two that depended on donations I can say every single penny is a help to keep the project alive.


Let me know once that becomes possible.

That’s good to know! :slight_smile:

I just made a list of all the server and desktop software I use, for the desktop that is only counting the graphical applications because with all the cli tools separately it would make the list too long and it’s the GUI tools I use most of time. Of all the software I use three of those didn’t have a donation option and three that I rarely use but if I included all of those and donated 5€ a month it would add up to 150€ a month. Going to think take the time to think of a rotation system.

P.S Still interested in hearing how other people handle this.

Speaking of donating to Arch Linux, they don’t seem to be using that much of the money that is donated to them. I checked out their financial reports. In 2022 Arch received $36000 in donations and spent around $6500 of it on hardware, hosting and bank fees. They also have around $430k on their bank account as of the last report. Most of it has been there since 2018, when they received almost $300k in donations. As a user, donating to Arch might still be a worthwhile thing, but there might be other open-source projects in more acute need of financing.


The only projects I have ever donated money to are Debian and FreeBSD. My criteria was community based projects that contribute greatly to the world of open source.

However, I have purchased numerous boxed sets over the years: Slackware, FreeBSD, Red Hat, Caldera Open Linux, Mandrake, Xandros, Linspire, and SuSE. Do those purchases count as donations? Maybe. :slight_smile:

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What made you or helped you decide to only donate to those two projects and not others?

My donation criteria is simple: I either use the app/project OR my donation helps the open source community in general.

Right now, I donate monthly to:

  • Krita
  • novelWriter
  • Blender

In the past, I’ve donated to:

  • Ardour (monthly)
  • The Document Foundation (one-off)
  • Mastodon (one-off)
  • Wikipedia (one-off)
  • LMMS (one-off)

I may have missed a project or two, but these are the ones I can remember.

I have/had subscriptions for a few open source/privacy-respecting ones as well, like:

  • ProtonMail/VPN
  • Tutanota
  • Mullvad VPN
  • Filen
  • pCloud
  • MegaSync

I actually found a way to make it work so that I can donate monthly to most of the opensource software I use, just thought I’d share my categorization system.

  • Software I use a lot: Monthly donation
  • Software I rarely use or where there is no easy monthly donation option: Yearly donation
  • No donation possibility

Having made a systematic division it should be doable, if it becomes a problem I can always adjust the system or lower the donation amount(donating less is better than not donating).

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I’m in the same boat. I have not found any sensible criteria, as every idea I have leaves me either breaking the rule or having to donate hundreds every month. I’m using a ton of different applications each day, from the kernel to GNU utilities, but those are mostly invisible, and I think most people will spend more on applications that they directly interact with.

Currently, I am supporting:

  • Streamlink and Streamlink-Twitch-GUI, without those I would not use Twitch, monthly
  • EndeavourOS, I don’t know why, probably some monthly recurring payment I forgot to cancel :innocent:
  • Freetube, without I would not use Youtube, or had to switch to downloading all videos to watch, yearly

What I find the saddest thing is that my employer uses more than 200 FOSS packages in their tech stack, and I guarantee that I am donating more each month than them.

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Just an idea, you could count all the command-line and gnu tools as part of the distribution you use. So in this case that would be EndeavourOS and you are already donating to EndeavourOS. That’s what I did because if I were to donate to every single command-line project too separately it would become too messy trying to keep track of that in an organized way. That being the graphical applications are applications I use for the desktop are limited amount and still doable to be able to donate to them all and I find it a fair division to count all the command-line and gnu tools as part of the distribution. You do what you can and you don’t have to save the entire world! :slight_smile:

To give you an idea of my categories look.
Monthly: Software I use a lot

  • Sabnzbd
  • Jellyfin
  • Mailscanner
  • Vaultwarden
  • Pihole
  • Prowlarr
  • Radarr
  • Sonarr
  • Bazarr
  • Tautulli
  • Arch Linux
  • Gnome
  • Mozilla (Firefox/Thunderbird)
  • Mumble
  • Signal
  • Qemu
  • GnuCash
  • Lutris
  • Remmina

Yearly: Software I rarely use or no easy monthly donatation option

  • Whoogle
  • Yuzu
  • Vlc
  • LibreOffice
  • Gimp
  • Teams-for-Linux

No donation possibility

  • Postfix
  • Dovecot
  • Btrfs-assisent