2021 Software Contributions

Sun 02 January 2022

I don't remember if it happened in late 2020 or early 2021, but while I was experiencing the latest episode of the internet catching fire because of a vulnerability in some little-known, widely-used open source project [1] I decided I wasn't going to be yet another Internet rubbernecker lobbing bombs at some underpaid, overworked team (or person!) toiling in anonymity on a good day. "I am an overpaid computer-yeller, and it's time I spread the love" I said to myself, promising to contribute at least 1% of my gross salary to the software I use in my daily life [2]. It took surprisingly more time than I expected to figure out which open source projects I use directly and indirectly, as well as figure out how to give them money, but I managed to finish right before the new year.

I wanted to publicize these contributions both to let other people know how the positive effect the projects have on me and to convice fellow overpaid tech-bros to spread some of the blessing capitalism has bestowed upon us. My contributions, in no particular order, were: [3]

  • FreshTomato - Back when I was still rocking the WRT54GL this was the only game in town when Shibby stopped updating, and I stuck with it after I switched to a router made after the first iPhone because the feature set was far superior to the stock firmware
  • Pihole - A combination of JavaScript blockers and uBlock Origin held most ads at bay for me, but ever since I put a Pi-hole on my network I have not even seen the specter of an ad even on devices like my phone and tablet
  • KeepassXC - As a paranoid Linux-using dork with enough hubris to avoid cloud backups, there weren't many options for me when it comes to the most important tool for Internet safety today; KeepassXC has done a remarkable job and I am happy to continue using it
  • VeraCrypt - Sometimes you need to keep things secret; sometimes you need to keep things secret on both Windows and Linux; sometimes you need to keep things secret on both Windows and Linux with encryption designed after 1996; VeraCrypt does all that with aplomb
  • OpenSSL - Almost every claim of two computers communicating securely is due to this software, I may only have considered doing this because of Heartbleed but I don't think I'm exaggerating in saying this library both supported and still supports the concept of security on the Internet
  • OpenSSH - Have you accessed a computer's command prompt over the Internet? [4]
  • Signal - The messenger of choice for hackers, "hackers" and infosec nerds the world over; one of the few pieces of software still holding onto the ideal of user privacy
  • GIMP - As a Linux-using dork I don't have access to even a cracked version of Photoshop, so when I need to work some image magic GIMP is what I reach for and once I figure out the interface again I can always finish what I need to do
  • Pelican - This site generator has diligently powered this blog since I migrated from WordPress; after getting used to reStructuredText, the ease of creating plugins has allowed me to make my site my own
  • Python - I first started using it as a rapid prototyping language for CTFs; now it puts food in my stomach and keeps the two moneypits I call cars roadworthy
  • Sublime Text - The WinZip of the modern era, I have used this text editor for college assignments and in multiple jobs with no regrets
  • Wikipedia - Do I really have to say anything about the effect Wikipedia has on the Internet? On the world?
[1]I am writing this while on the trailing edge of the log4j response; plus ça change...
[2]I originally called this the "1% pledge", until I went to see if anyone else had had a similar idea before me; I'm still claiming I thought this up on my own
[3]The one piece of software I use constantly but did not donate to is Firefox; I can't financially support a company deciding to layoff the developers of its most exciting product to pay its executives more
[4]Don't give me any "I use PuTTY" talk; the computer you were connecting to used the OpenSSH daemon if it was worth connecting to