This thread has really goteen a lot of interest; hopefully it will serve to make people think and not aggravate people.
Let me take a minute to summarize what I've gathered from reading the autohotkey and autoit forums and my reasoning behind the idea of making a donation to AutoIt.
Autohotkey started out as an open source clone of AutoIt v2. It was developed by a person who was involved in the autoit forums and includes substantial code from autoit (whose source was freely available at the time).
The two projects began to diverge and now are independent projects. But autohotkey still uses quite a bit of the free code and tools developed by AutoIt developers. Both are still free programs (though i think only Autohotkey is formally open source).
There are some hurt feelings on the part of the AutoIt developers and users. I think mainly because Autohotkey seems to have benefitted from the hard work of the AutoIt developers; many AutoIt developers/users seem to feel that not enough credit was given to AutoIt by Autohotkey developer, and that Autohotkey was making a concerted effort to post about ahk on autoit forum an elsewhere in an attempt to get autoit users to swtich to autohotkey.
I guess I can empathize a bit with the AutoIt developers. I have a few (not very popular) open source projects and I can see how hurtfull it would feel if while I was working actively on the code someone came along and made a new fork of the code and began work on a new project that was meant to be a replacement for my original program.
I would wish, as the autoit people seem to have wished, that instead that programmer had been helping to make my program better rather than branched off into a competing product.
That's not at all to say that the Autohotkey person did something wrong at all by making autohotkey. there are tons of reasons why makeing a new product might be better for everyone, including the fact that autoit may not have stayed free, wheras autohotkey is formally open source, and the fact that the Autohotkey developer obviously was extremely active and wanted to pursue new features without having to get permission and have his decisions go through the approval proccess by autoit developers with whom he might not always agree.
I think the active development of autohotkey has proved that the developer of ahk deserves a huge amount of credit, and reading both forums i get the feeling that the people behind both programs are good, honorable, smart people who both deserve support from their users. And that everyone has benefitted from the work on both products. They probably both spur each other on and keep each other from resting on their laurels.
My desire to give a donation on the behalf of DC to AutoIt developers reflects the fact that, for a variety of reasons, Autohotkey has become known here on this forum, while AutoIt has not. And I think AutoIt deserves some recognition from us, as it has received from Autohotkey developer, as being an important part of the development of Autohotkey.
I understand that people here who use Autohotkey want to support that program. And it makes sense that AutoIt users should support their program, so in general it seems like it will work itself out. But in this case I think fairness dictates that in the spirit of this site we make an attempt to recognize through our donations the contributions of AutoIt. If AutoIt was a profitable company then I might not feel this way, but given that AutoIt is also a free/donationware program I think it deserves some recognition in the form of a donation from us.
It doesn't make sense to have an autoit fund because so few people here use autoit, which is kind of my point, that we should in fairness make an attempt to recognize that autohotkey uses pieces of autoit and so autoit deserves some of the credit given to autohotkey.
Maybe a matching donation is not quite right since their aren't many autoit users here. Let's do this, when the fund reaches $100, then your donations will be made to autohotkey on behalf of the dc members. then dc itself will donate half as much $50 to autoit in recognition of the work of the autoit developers. I don't see how you can go wrong with that.