I often put a name with the URL for the free program(s) I used in writing an answer.
Also, adopting a standard practice among theoretical chemists (which I'm unfortunately not), sometimes I drop chunks of code or stdin/stdout listings if it can help to reproduce the results (under
### Notes or similar section at the end of the post).
For example, I try to replace Excel and Matlab by Python and LaTeX; Diamond and CrystalMaker by Olex2 and VESTA; Illustrator and CorelDRAW by Inkscape; ChemDraw by ChemSketch etc., and leave a brief note how I managed to get by using alternatives freely available to everyone (I don't touch piracy here).
By doing so I'm trying to distance as far away as possible from software evangelism, which I think is rather ineffective. The awareness imposed by evangelists easily comes and go. People are lazy and won't break their workflow or invest own time in learning a new toolkit of arguable value and applicability which may or may not return beneficial. For the same reason I don't believe in plain advertisement, even though I put up some ad banners on Community Promotion Ads — 2019 section as a part-experiment.
On the contrary, when people see how a particular problem (question) related to their needs is solved (answer), they actually start to show interest in the tools that could help them get the same result. Not really monkey see, monkey do, but the concept is similar (not in a derogatory way).
One may ask why care to share the info about the programs they use if they are already power users and mastered all the tools they might ever need? Well, let me answer with a quote by L. Ozerov: "Talents should be helped, as mediocrities will shoulder their way through". Paid software is fine on its own as it's backed up financially by the established business models and corporations, and won't go away as long as it's profitable. Free and open-source software development is bumpy and often slower due to the lack of resources and smaller community, which is especially the case for the highly specialized scientific packages. However, it can be self-propagated, partially by its user base:
User achieves a result → informs audience → some people find it useful → acquiring more users → forcing development → getting tools improved → achieving more results → …
Long story short, I believe that unobtrusively demonstrating by own example how people can use free alternative tools to solve their problem is helpful for stable and reproducible research.
Do you think this would really serve increasing awareness and improves quality or just add unnecessary noise and all the tools should solely be listed in Community Wiki?