by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Let's label things. Texstar, a.k.a. Bill Reynolds is the founder of PCLinuxOS. The packagers, a.k.a. The Bacon Brigade, are the heartbeat of PCLinuxOS. The PCLinuxOS users are the soul of PCLinuxOS. That would make your donations the life blood of PCLinuxOS.
Without your donations, PCLinuxOS would not be able to exist. Unlike other Linux distributions, there are no large corporations providing support (Mandriva, OpenSUSE and Fedora). There are no millionaires or billionaires funnelling untold amounts of cash to keep things running (Canonical/Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth).
PCLinuxOS is the product of one man, our founder. He is not a rich man, at least not in the monetary sense. A generous staff of volunteers offer their services to help with packaging, maintenance of the forum and website, producing this magazine, creating updated ISOs and maintaining the repositories. The largest share of funding for PCLinuxOS comes from the generosity of its users making donations.
PCLinuxOS also has a couple of other sources of income. One source is revenue from the ads that are displayed on the main PCLinuxOS website. Another source is from the proceeds from the sale of PCLinuxOS items in the Official PCLinuxOS Store, on the CafePress site. PCLinuxOS receives a percentage of the profits from every item sold.
How Can I Donate?
There are three ways you can make a donation to PCLinuxOS.
The first way is also the newest way to make a donation. Starting in July 2013, PCLinuxOS users were able to make donations on a recurring monthly basis, via a service called Gumroad. Users can sign up to make a monthly, recurring donation of $1, $5, $10 or $25, charged to a credit or debit card. All funds are in U.S. dollars. So, if you weren't able to afford a higher, once-a-year donation, perhaps you can afford a recurring, monthly donation of a smaller amount.
"It is a simple and inexpensive way to help us cover the cost and maintenance associated with PCLinuxOS," said Texstar. "Not everyone can afford to donate 10, 20 or 50 dollars but they might be able to spare a dollar for their favorite distribution. Gumroad, the provider of this service, comes highly recommended and has very favorable reviews in the press. Many open source projects use this service, such as Frostwire."
The second way to donate, PCLinuxOS users can also make larger, lump sum donations, via Google Checkout. Donation amounts are $10, $25, $50, $100, $250 or $500. You can make a donation once a year, or several times a year, if you like.
The third way to donate to PCLinuxOS is via snail mail, by sending a check or money order (drawn on a U.S. bank). The mailing address is here, towards the bottom of the page.
What Are The Funds Used For?
The money donated to PCLinuxOS mostly goes towards paying the bills for the server hosting and maintenance for the PCLinuxOS website and repositories every month. As you might be able to imagine, that is no small expenditure, given the amount of traffic through the PCLinuxOS website every month.
"Advertising revenue is almost dead, since everyone is running ad blocks. This is what we were using to pay Enki's $200.00 per month hosting fee. They now have us being hosted in VMWare. We need to find a new home. Shared hosting is not an option, due to the amount of traffic we get. namecheap.com has a decent VPS server for 29.95 per month, but we need more than 5 people pledging support," said Texstar.
Why Should I Donate?
Wouldn't it be a shame if the best Linux distro on the planet, and our favorite, disappeared overnight, simply because no one cared enough to donate the necessary money to keep the web hosting bills paid?
Another way to look at it is like this scenario that follows. Back when you were using closed-source, proprietary operating systems (we all know which one that was, so I don't need to utter their name here), you thought nothing of going out and spending $100 for the latest and greatest version. You thought nothing of going out and spending a bucket-load of cash on an office suite. You had to pay for annual subscriptions to antivirus software that you no longer have to pay for. By the time you add in the costs of all the other incidental programs you used, that "other" operating system would put a serious hurt on your finances.
With all of that in mind, coupled with the quality and quantity you get with PCLinuxOS, making a $25 or $50 donation once a year is a pretty good deal. Or, instead of making those lump sum donations, why not help with a recurring, monthly donation of $1 or $5? Trust me...no donation is too small to help keep our little corner of the Linux universe afloat.
Are There Other Ways I Can Help?
Without a doubt, there are a number of other ways you can help, in addition to making a donation to help keep things afloat.
First, you can turn off your ad blocking software when you are on the PCLinuxOS website. If the ads are blocked, and thus not displayed, there are no "click-throughs" of the ads, and there is no revenue generated for PCLinuxOS. Every now and again, it would be helpful to click on one of the ads. Revenue is generated for PCLinuxOS every time an ad is clicked.
Second, the next time you're shopping for a new shirt, a new coffee mug, a new mouse pad, a wall clock, or a sticker for your new laptop, head on over to the Official PCLinuxOS Store. Even better yet, give PCLinuxOS merchandise as gifts. The merchandise in the store is very good quality, and you'll be helping spread the word about the best Linux distro ever -- PCLinuxOS.