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Every Kinda People

Posted by editor on November 27, 2006 at 7:53 AM PST

Saying "thanks" to projects you find useful

Last year, we ran a poll asking How active are you in projects? The answers got us some hackles:

  • Project owner
  • Have contributed code
  • Have filed bugs/RFE's
  • Have discussed projects in lists/forums
  • Not active in projects

Some people said we should have had a fifth response, between "have discussed projects..." and "not active", for "Have downloaded project code". I actually considered that, and chose not to make it an option, because I wanted all the active choices to involve some kind of write-level access. My thought being that if you don't even acknowledge a project by filing a bug, or posting a note on its boards, or interacting in any way with any person involved in the project, then that's not participating in the project in any meaningful way. After all, the least you can say is "thanks".

The latest JavaTools Community Newsletter makes a similar point. In the "tool tip" section of the November 22 newsletter, Daniel Lopez writes:

In many cases, behind all these things there are real world people that do something they are passionate about and give it for free to others "just because", there are probably as many motives as people, and they simply receive no monetary payment for that. The only payment they can expect is a simple "thank you" that tells them somebody actually used their software, read their tutorial, used their trick to solve a problem... and it worked for them; that the time and effort they invested to give that thing for free was worthy, because it helped someone. That's all.

So let's pay them:
That's what I would love all of us to do: Choose an open source project, tool, a blog, a tutorial, a free book or something that helps you, or did so in the past, and that was provided to you for free and simply spend a minute or two to write a grateful email to the author. Just a simple "Thanks, I've used your X and it has helped me a lot" is enough, even though if you can tell them a bit more I'm sure they will love it.

For those in the US, it's a few days after Thanksgiving, but I think it still counts. Let's hear it for everyone who's posted code, helped others with problems, documented how to use something, or done anything else to help.

Also in Java Today,
Alexey Popov has posted an Introduction to Java ME Testing Tools that lists some available tools, and addresses how to deal with large test suites, CDC and SE testing tools, and CLDC and MIDP testing tools. "This blog is based on and is about