Some things in life are beyond value. Some things you can put a monetary value on that will still not reflect the true worth of the item. The value of the Free Software community is one such thing.
I've been involved in the Free Software community since 1994. I've learnt and taken a lot from that community. I've also in my turn given and taught a lot. Friends I've made in the Free Software community count amongst the most impressive people I know.
I'm involved in a number of communities. One other community is the environmental movement. There, the members of that community are aiding and supporting my attempt to win a seat in parliament. Likewise, the Free Software community supports my business, whether by directly giving a hand, via financial support, referring business or providing me with the tools to do business. Referrals are particularly important as I do not advertise and all my business has come directly by word of mouth and community recommendations.
This community support recently took a quantum leap forward. I was approached to amicably take over another Free Software business (see the media release). This successful event occurred solely because of the Ubuntu Marketplace community pages, where I am fortunate enough to hold pole position.
This take over has put my company in a position of strength that was unimaginable a mere three weeks ago. It has come about directly because of the Free Software community. I now find myself in the strange position where I can put a precise dollar figure on the value of the Free Software community to my business. Though to put any monetary figure on the Free Software community would be to immediately under value it.
I've been asked to give a toast at an upcoming meeting on Free Software. The toast I will be giving will be to my colleagues and comrades in arms in the Free Software community. Without our community, we would have nothing. I will probably write the toast up and post it here.
Have a great silly season everyone. Hopefully I'll see most of you in the new year at LCA, if not before.
PS: Congratulations to the Free Software folk involved with the Victorian Greens. A great result there with three upper house seats being won on the back of your contributions of Free Software to the campaign.