Supporting Flagfox Development

People have asked me if I would consider writing a version of Flagfox for Mobile Firefox. My general response to this is that I have nothing against doing so, however I simply don’t have any mobile hardware to run it on.

TL;DR: Flagfox is free. I’ve been doing this for about 6 years for free, I’ve turned down every offer to sell my users into malware/spyware, and I have no money. If you use Flagfox and would like to support its continued development, contributions are now accepted.

Flagfox is a single programmer project. It’s not a company; it’s just me, sitting here on my couch with an old laptop. Every line of code inside Flagfox is my work, which I usually say I do “in my spare time”, though it tends to consume large swaths of it. I don’t have a big fancy tech job, nor much money at all. The only tech I own that was built this decade is an external hard drive. I’ve got an 8 year old desktop that is increasingly obsolete (one of those early AMD64 CPUs where the time occasionally reports as negative) and a laptop that is a couple years less old, but not exactly a powerhouse. (fun anecdote: my previous laptop died of chronic overheating damage after many years of heavy use, and I only owned it because I won it in a contest; no that is not a joke) I don’t own a tablet or a fancy smartphone. I’m a techie without the money for lots of tech. 😉

So, I’ve come up with a plan: If people want a mobile version, or to otherwise help support Flagfox, you can now directly sponsor it. I’ve set up an Amazon wish list with the basics of what I would need to be productive and develop a version of Flagfox for Mobile Firefox, as well as continue to reliably maintain Flagfox in general. It lists an Android phone and tablet, as well as a new laptop. I don’t particularly want the very high-end stuff, so I’ve selected what I think are good value items. (there’s also lower priority items, e.g. a bigger tablet so I could test both small and large screen mobile) Amazon gift cards of any denomination are also accepted through the same system, however real money would be preferable.

I haven’t made any money from Flagfox, ever. I’ve been developing Flagfox over the past 6 or so years, and I’ve turned down or ignored countless requests to sell my million or so users into malware/spyware or otherwise ruin Flagfox for dubious promises of money. I’ve gotten a few honest business offers, however the couple of light discussions I entered into went nowhere productive. I have a privacy policy that I think is good and I plan to stick to it. Even the basic technical logistics of Flagfox are designed to follow the idea that this addon should not exploit its users. There are other addons that do geolocation for sites, and in most (if not all) cases they simply send the URL to a server for the geolocation data for each site you browse to, turning their addons into de facto spyware. Flagfox uses an internal IP location database which is updated through regular monthly updates (which will apply without a restart in Flagfox 5+). Flagfox does its work locally and avoids talking to any server unless you ask it to look up more information using one of its actions, such as Geotool. Not only is this more secure, but it’s faster too. The websites related to Flagfox and Geotool are ad-supported, as are most of the external actions Flagfox includes, however I don’t receive any money from this.

If I’m going to take contributions for Flagfox development, I’ve decided to also turn on the contributions system provided on the Mozilla Add-ons site. Their system only uses PayPal, which should work well enough. I’m sure someone will suggest I also accept Bitcoin, but that’s not something I particularly want to do if I can avoid it. (though if you’re willing to send me a significant amount, but only through Bitcoin, please do email me)

I don’t know how well this experiment will work. It could result in nothing productive, it could raise enough for me to be able to provide a mobile version, fund the purchase of a decent computer, or it could fundamentally change my life. I shall avoid going into detail with my life’s story, but suffice it to say, I could use the money and won’t waste it.

Flagfox will always be free, but hopefully some people are willing to contribute to support Flagfox and ensure that I will be able to maintain it into the future.

Contribute funds via PayPal (international donations accepted)
▸ Donate equipment via Amazon (please note the listed item priorities)
▸ BTC: 1Bp66Bq3ztkJwNaEjYoH3XkuyU6DSttGFD (Bitcoin accepted)

Thank you immensely to anyone who even considers this. Even tiny contributions would mean the world to me. A good businessman would’ve turned this into a profitable enterprise years ago, but I’m certainly not one. (and all of the ones who have approached me have been a tad shady, at minimum)

This is all new to me, so if you have any problem with one of the contribution systems, for the love of all that is good in the world please contact me immediately.

Update:
The needed items on the Amazon list have either been bought by generous donors or by myself with donated funds. I now own a mid-range Android phone and small tablet, as well as a few other small things I needed. Many thanks to those who donated. The Amazon system had some issues, namely the fact that no notification was sent to me on usage. (in one case a small package arrived without even a name attached, so thank you anonymous stranger) I’m taking down the list now, though Amazon gift cards will still be accepted if anyone wants to send me one.

I’ve also edited this post to put my Bitcoin address in there for those who didn’t find it elsewhere. Again, I can’t in good conscience recommend Bitcoin for general use, however if you do use it I am accepting it.

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7 Comments

  1. Stephen

    Congratulations on writing such a useful add-on and for wonderfully clear and pro-privacy stance – I have no problems using such a program and feel the very least I can do is to go an make a donation. I wish you all the best and hope you get many more years of satisfaction from working on this 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂

  2. diffra

    I’ve been using this for years and I’d love to donate. Would you accept Bitcoin?

    • I know PayPal kinda sucks, but Bitcoin isn’t exactly stable. The primary exchange just went bankrupt after crashing the market yet again. The client is still crap and it’s surprisingly slow to get confirmations (Litecoin is way better at this part, not that it’s a good idea either).

      If, however, you have Bitcoin you’d like to donate, I’ve created a new wallet to accept donations. PayPal or Amazon is still much preferred.

      https://flagfox.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/bitcoin/

  3. Gloria Muñoz

    Necesito que sea traducido ha español, es muy poco lo que entiendo en ingles. Deseo contribuir con algo y no puedo por el idioma. Gracias.

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