An old idea in software; a new twist in sharing therapy resources.

For years now, programmers have been writing and sharing programs without charge. The internet is a matchless distribution medium for such programs, which may have been written to fulfill a particular need, or just for practice.

Rather than getting involved in the headaches of trying to make a profit on these programs, some programmers decide to freely release their works to any and all who might find them useful. The Free Software Foundation's "GNU General Public License" is a (relatively complicated) example of this. Linux is an example of a complete computer operating system developed and shared under such an arrangement.

Other programmers, hoping for slightly more contact with end users, evolved the concept of postcardware. Anyone is allowed to use the software without payment; those who use it are morally obligated to send a postcard to the author, so the author can

  1. have some idea how many people are using his or her product;
  2. receive, on an ongoing basis, reminders that others are glad to have their product available;
  3. feel important and/or philanthropic;
  4. receive ideas and suggestions for improvements; and
  5. get lots of neat postcards from strangers (or at least, email).

So what does this have to do with me?

As I convert some of Lynn's materials for sharing via the WWW, I find myself thinking that it would be a nice gesture for individuals (or agencies, or nations) to apply the same principle to the useful things they find here and on other related sites. Comments? Feedback? You can email me and / or go to Lynn Johnson's addresses, which can be found at the bottom of his Session Rating form on this www site.

Postcardware: The Real Definition

n. Shareware that borders on freeware, in that the author requests only that satisfied users send a postcard of their home town or something. (This practice, silly as it might seem, serves to remind users that they are otherwise getting something for nothing, and may also be psychologically related to real estate `sales' in which $1 changes hands just to keep the transaction from being a gift.) (Jargon File 3.0.0)
Link to The Jargon File version 4.x (HTML version).

Note: This author is not responsible for excessive time wasted spent invested goofing-off "learning" browsing the Jargon File.