Stella is DonationWare!
As of release 3.5, Stella is officially DonationWare. What is DonationWare, you may ask? Simply put, the concept of donationware is where the developers request donations that indicate appreciation for the project, and as an incentive to continue work on the project.
So who am I? My name is Stephen Anthony, and I've maintained Stella since about 2004, and from about 2008 to 2016, I worked on it mostly alone. In my initial years of involvement, I had extra help from Brad Mott (original Stella creator, to whom I owe a huge debt). I've personally added over tens of thousands of lines of code to Stella, and coordinated several large merges from other projects (ScummVM for parts of the GUI, Distella for the debugger disassembler, etc). I've also created the Harmony Programming Tool software for the Harmony Cartridge, and a version of the KrokCom software for Linux/macOS - KrokCom for UNIX. So as you can see, I'm quite prolific in Atari 2600 development.
Since 2016, the Stella team has expanded significantly (from one person to three!). In that time, we've almost completely rewritten large parts of the code, moving to a cycle-exact TIA video and sound implementation, among other things. The explosion of new features is directly related to the fact that more people are on board, and as such our need for donations has increased quite a bit.
Let me say up-front that donating is completely voluntary. Stella is an open-source / free software project, and will remain so because of its license (GPLv/2). It's not my intent to guilt anyone into donations, or to threaten that the project will be discontinued if we don't receive any. Donations are simply a way for appreciative end-users to demonstrate their enjoyment of Stella, and to make us feel a little better about the long hours spent on this project.
I'll list a few reasons why you might want to make a donation:
- I've been involved with this project since 2001; I can't even begin to estimate how much time I've invested in this project, but it is easily in the 1000's of hours, probably approaching 10000 by now!
- My number one goal for Stella is cross-platform compatibility; if at all possible, nobody will be left behind
- Stella is the oldest Atari 2600 emulator still under active development
- One of the main goals of Stella is to help homebrew developers; as such, Stella contains an actively developed built-in debugger that IMHO is unrivaled
- You're a homebrew developer who feels that Stella has helped greatly in your development efforts
- If you just want to fire it up and play a game, the process is as plug and play as possible
- To see your name in print in the Credits List :)
What type of donations would we consider? I'm firmly of the opinion that beggars can't be choosers. That being said, I'm listing some of the things we'd like to receive (in no particular order):
- Esoteric controllers, such as a MindLink, KidVid, NTSC CompuMate, etc.
- For appreciative homebrew developers, a copy of your released cart
- 2600 carts, particularly those of rarer vintage, or in any case with manuals and/or boxes
- Magazines or books on 2600-related stuff, or retro stuff in general
- 2600 consoles (heavy-sixer, light-sixer, Vader, Jr, etc.)
- Anything 7800 related; I'm beginning to get into the 7800 scene, and have just the console and a few games at this point
- Games gifted to me on Steam (let me know beforehand, to make sure I don't already have it
- Anything else retro-related that you think is cool
- Cash donations
Note that I've ranked money at the bottom of the list. This isn't a mistake. While we appreciate any monetary donations I might receive, we're not in this for the money. If I was, I would have abandoned the project after the first year. :) That being said, any monetary contributions we do receive will be used to purchase extra hardware, carts, etc for testing.
If you're interested in making a Paypal donation, my Paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If using Paypal, please mark the contribution as a gift to save fees on my end (under "Send Money", select 'Personal', then 'Gift'). Otherwise, if you have something to ship, please contact me at the same address for shipping details. Note that I'm located in Canada, so your location in the world might cause some shipping issues. Also, let me know how you'd like to be credited in the Credits List (real name or a nickname, your personal webpage, other info about yourself, etc). Finally, please mark all donations as a gift valued at $20 or less; this will reduce customs charges on my end.