Chronicle of Philanthropy on Penguin Days 05

Just in time for Penguin Day San Francisco/Bay Area on April 12, the Chronicle of Philanthropy is reporting on the goals of Penguin Days. It can be found here (paid subsciption required.)

Nicole Wallance, senior staff reporter at the Chronicle, writes: "A series of events this spring will bring together charity technology employees, consultants, and software developers to discuss the potential -- and the challenges -- of developing open-source software.

"We want to demystify open-source software for nonprofit organizations," says Katrin Verclas, co-director of Aspiration, an Amherst, Mass., nonprofit group that seeks to create a software landscape in which charities have access to good-quality, low-cost tools that help them do their work."

She cogently outlines why we think open source software has potential for nonprofits and NGOS:

"Many nonprofit organizations have very specific software needs, but the market of potential customers that share those needs is too small for commercial software companies to build those products, says Ms. Verclas. She says charities that need to develop such specialized tools can cut their costs by adapting open-source software, rather than starting from scratch."

She correctly identifies the barries to open source software adoption that we are particularly interested in:

"Charities' limited capacity to develop software and open-source software's tendency to be less well-documented and user-friendly than proprietary software have combined to make open source a daunting choice for nonprofit organizations, says Ms. Verclas. For nonprofit groups to be able to take advantage of the promise of open-source software, she says, technology organizations will have to develop, enhance, and support open-source tools for charities."

Penguin Day just took place in Chicago; ucoming Penguin Days include San Francisco/Bay Area on April 12 and New York City on May 7th. Penguin Days are underwritten by IBM Corporation and in-kind support by local partners such as Teaming for Technology, United Way, Compumentor, and the LINC Project, among others.

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