It doesn't matter where you're giving, as long as you're giving!
My impression is that people increase their giving around the holidays for one of two reasons: The collective peer pressure and annual reminder finally reaches them, or, they have pressing tax reasons to knock themselves into a lower tax bracket. Regardless of your motivation, I humbly suggest these recipients based on my 20+ years of experience with Unix, the Internet and the open source community. Give as you please, but keep in mind that single-digit donations often cost organizations the same time and effort to process as larger ones. I learned this the hard way and kindly ask that you make double-digit or larger donations to your organization or project of choice, listed here or not.
This is a journal about BSD Unix and this suggestion should come as no surprise. What may not be obvious is that there is a 99% chance that you are using software from the BSD projects to read this web page. It could be through the routers that delivered it to you or, if you are a system administrator, projects like OpenSSH that you rely on every day. BSD Unix literally gave us the Internet and if you are concerned about it's continued growth and security, or open source as a whole, you can't go wrong supporting a BSD Foundation. They all cross-pollinate code and their copyrights allow you to use their code in your non-BSD project of choice. In alphabetical order:
Donate to DragonFly BSD, a volunteer effort
Donate to the FreeBSD Foundation, a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Donate to the NetBSD Foundation, a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Donate to the OpenBSD Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit organization and the OpenBSD Project directly
Various BSD project hardware want lists also exist with the OpenBSD list standing out as the most up-to-date over the years.
It is an honor to participate in the OpenZFS community and watch it grow from technically an abandoned project when Oracle closed the OpenSolaris sources, to a kind, professional, and growing community. Donations to OpenZFS have traditionally been used for the annual OpenZFS Developer Summit but I know the project is beginning to strategize.
OpenZFS is an associated project of SPI (Software in the Public Interest). SPI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which handles the OpenZFS donations, finances, and legal holdings.
I also invite you to consider becoming a Patreon sponsor of Jörgen Lundman who develops and maintains OpenZFS for macOS and Windows, and/or Michael W. Lucas who has provided the most comprehensive and up-to-date OpenZFS-related books anywhere.
In BSD terms, there is the "base" Operating System and "ports" for third party software. If a piece of code isn't in the OS, I challenge it to find a better home than the Software Freedom Conservancy. That even goes for projects with foundations given how many foundations have come and gone. Developers suck at running foundations, for the most part. Conservancy's Karen Sandler and Bradley Kuhn are two of the most experienced people in the "FLOSS Foundations" space and represent the one successful reunion of Software Freedom Law Center alumni I know of. Karen and Bradley have put a LOT of thought into their cause if not excessively, but someone has to. As a lawyer, Karen literally has to think issues through and to engage the two of them is a delight, even if you don't agree with all of their positions. Either way, they are extremely-well thought out positions. For a taste of those positions you can listen to Karen and Bradley's Free as in Freedom show and are welcome to call Bradley out when he slips and says that BSD and ISC licenses let you "do whatever you want". You must include the copyright notice!
Donate to the Software Freedom Conservancy, a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Yes I know. On one level, the OSI is about as exciting a Metric System advocacy group. They define what qualifies as an "open source" license and everyone knows this was all adequately-solved over a decade ago by the FSF, Debian project and first incarnation of the OSI. What is less obvious is that the success of all things "open source" has also brought countless abuses of the term. The OSI has been busily reinventing itself and actively encouraging companies to pledge not to abuse the term "open source" and pressuring those that do. If this policing seems irreverent, keep in mind that many successful open source trademarks like the BSD Beastie and Tux the penguin have all had to fight attempts by companies to hijack them. To have "open source" corrupted or diluted would be devastating to everyone who has volunteered their time to the community.
Donate to the Open Source Initiative, a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
There you have it. This is my short list of organizations to support and I have donated to all of these this year short of the DragonFly BSD project and the NetBSD Foundation. I have also donated mirror space and various hardware to some of them over the years and encourage you to do the same.
Copyright © 2011 – 2018 Michael Dexter unless specified otherwise. Feedback and corrections welcome.