Last holiday season I promoted “Operation Homecoming”, a mission to upgrade browsers when visiting friends and family, improving the experience of the web for as many people as possible. This year, inspired by my co-teacher and developer Dan Stephenson, I’d like to suggest something different.

The online shopping spree between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” emphasizes ecommerce, but the truth is that much of the internet runs on the unpaid effort of thousands of people: from Apache, the open source server software that runs the majority of the world’s websites, to developers  who make plugins and helpful browser extensions freely available to web designers. A lot of the web as we know and use it today has been built from the collective work of passionate people who often go unappreciated and undercompensated.

There are many worthy causes that deserve your money and attention, but this season I’d like to suggest you consider the institutions and developers that make the web great as recipients of your charity. My donation list for the past few days includes:

I choose not to publicise my charitable donations outside the immediate context of this post, but Dan suggests and uses the hashtag #fossdonate to build awareness of this campaign.

Don’t have the funds to spare? That’s okay: just drop by the comments section on the site of a developer, blogger or writer and tell them that you appreciate the work they’re doing. The emotional warmth of support and encouragement from an otherwise invisible audience is important in its own way.

If you have any other web development causes that you feel should be added to a consideration list, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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