You might be wondering about the connection between open source software and sponsoring a child. Please read on!
Open-source software is about everyone pitching in and helping each other build something better than we could build individually. Open-source software is about sharing our talents and our resources. Open-source software is about contributing back to the community in which we live in order to make it a better place. I think everyone involved in open-source can identify with these values at one level or another. We may not always agree with each other, but I believe that in between black and white we find color and beauty. When we can find ways to work together as teams and help each other out, we accomplish far more than we ever could individually.
What would happen if we took those same open-source values and applied them outside the world of geeks and computers?
I am a “third culture kid” (google if) 🙂 Having been born in the jungles of Peru, I have seen first-hand how desperately poor much of the world is, especially in comparison to how blessed and privileged we find ourselves here in the USA and Europe and elsewhere. For some time I have been taking a portion of the FlightGear DVD sales and sponsoring a child through World Vision International. I encourage you to visit their web site and read a bit more about who they are and what they do. They are by no means the only charity in the world, but they are the one that I picked.
To me it seems like a natural extension of the open-source philosophy to not only help our fellow under-privileged computer geeks who are stuck running closed, proprietary software, but to also do something in “real life” that helps people with very basic needs. I see this as a way that the FlightGear project can go beyond the virtual world of bits and bytes, and reach out to the real world of starvation, poverty, and disease. That is why I take a portion of sales and give them to a worthy charity.
I realize that not everyone will be interested in supporting this particular charity. If you fall into this category, I urge you to support some other worthy cause.
Please don’t purchase a copy of FlightGear for the sole purpose of supporting a child. If that is what you want to do, please support a child directly! In fact, even if you want to buy FlightGear think about supporting a child or some other worthy cause.
That’s it. It probably sounds a lot more noble than it actually is, it’s really not that big of a deal, we are just talking one kid here, but perhaps as FlightGear grows, we can expand to support more children, or perhaps whole families or whole communities? Maybe other open source projects will follow our lead and do similar things? My whole philosophy with the FlightGear project has been to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some months (and years) it may not seem like we are making much progress, but if we keep moving, even a just little bit, we eventually will make noticeable progress. Perhaps this effort will be similar. Right now it is only one child, but as we move forward, maybe we can make that two. Maybe even more. Maybe it will never amount to anything truly significant, but maybe it will, and maybe this is a way we can leverage our virtual world skills to do some real world good? I think it’s worth a shot …