Open Source and NGOS

Gave money already? Give an hour of your time right now to the Katrina PeopleFinder Project

David Geilhufe, Jon Lebowsky, Ethan Zuckerman, Donald Lobo, Steven Wright, Kieran Lal and others are coordinating a volunteer effort by open source developers, web designers, online activists and ordinary citizens to create a single database of all the people missing in the aftermath of Katrina that their friends and family can use to connect with them. David writes:

Refugees can search 20 web sites for lost relatives and still miss their entry on the 21st web site. There is a need to combine all the refugee data from big databases like Red Cross, large posting forums like Craigslist and many other sources on the web. The Katrina PeopleFinder Project seeks to create a single repository combining as many sources of refugee data as possible from all over the web without interrupting existing momentum.

We need help for both regular people and software engineers. Everybody is critical to building a central repository of ALL the refugee records we can find on the web. The Social Source Foundation, CivicSpace Labs and Salesforce.com Foundation are coordinating hundreds of people and organizations, including Craigslist and Earthlink.

Please consider giving us just an hour of you your time to do volunteer data entry. The PeopleFinder Project is seeking volunteers in four primary areas:

 

Inspiration: Localizing F/LOSS

mekhalaInspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I'm a little past halfway through AdvocacyDevII. As I expected, there are a lot of really interesting people here, and I have had some great conversations, and learned a fair bit. It has also been great to meet face-to-face with a fair number of people that I have corresponded with over the last 2 years, but never met.

Nonprofit Software and Nonprofit Missions

Aspiration board member Michelle Murrain writes on her personal blog about Convio's recent decision to take on an anti-gay marriage organization as a client. She argues:

User Guide to Using the Linux Desktop

IOSN has produced an introductory end user guide to using the Linux desktop.

This guide is meant as an introductory guide on using a modern personal computer (PC) running the Linux operating system. It provides a self-learning guide on how to use a modern Linux desktop system. It assumes that the user has no prior knowledge of Linux or PC usage.

The guide is formatted for use as printed material, with the acompanying slides to be used by trainers.

The training materials are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

FLOSS and NGOs: A Compilation of Resources and Community Events

Link: Non-Profit Use of Open Source | Doc Searls' IT Garage.

Taran mentions the NOSI Open Source Primer, written by Michelle Murrain, Aspiration's board member. There has been a plethora of resources lately on free and open source software (f/oss) and NGOs; a brief compilation of the most noteworthy is below. There are also a number of organizations, both here and internationally, that are beginning to form a lively ecosystem of development, support, and community for f/oss and NGOs. These include certainly NOSI, Tactical Tech, us here at Aspiration, the LINC Project, Bridges.org, Mahiti.org, Commons Group and Community Bandwidth.

Here are some of the noteworthy resources on f/oss that we have been involved in or that have come across my radar.

Several are compiled here at what is the very beginning of an Open Source Almanac that first saw the day at the Advocacy Developer Convergence. It needs some love soon.

Phillip Smith, our colleague in Toronto at Community Bandwidth has released a very interesting article called "What Not-for-Profit Organizations Need to Know about Free Software.

Mark Surman started it all with the The Commons Group's Choosing Open Source: A Guide for Civil Society Organizations. Developed by Commons and the APC, this guide provides civil society organizations with both an introduction to open source and a framework for finding software that will meet their needs. Designed to be accessible and helpful to non-profit managers and others responsible for high level technology decisions.

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p>There is, of course, the NOSI Guide, as aforementioned. The Nonprofit Open Source Initiative's (NOSI) Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer for Nonprofits describes what open source software is and what impact this type of software may have on the nonprofit sector.

It includes:

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