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Open Source Meeting

Amsterdam meeting: Open Source tools and networks for non-profits

As part of our series 'Demystifying technologies', on 26th and 27th January 2004 we hosted in Amsterdam a meeting called Open Source tools and networks for non-profits. Intention was to contribute to a better information flow about where and how Open Source meets the needs of NGO's.

The workshop was structered to allow a mapping of tools, materials and existing cooperations which are already out there and identify what's still needed. For all presented projects, especially the following issues were discussed:

  • areas which each project attempts to cover,
  • the overlaps between them and how to avoid this by better cooperation and information exchange,
  • the potentials of common development, distribution and promotion of Open Source resources in the near future,
  • the respective challenges included.

Special points of interest among these were the use of recycled computers in ICT training projects, the localization of Free/Open Source software and the development of Open Source training curricula.

We had two very productive meeting days, full of brainstormings, discussions and exchange. The participants and their related projects were:

Micah Anderson- Debian NP project

"...an internal Debian project to develop Debian into an operating system that is designed to fulfill the requirements of small non-profit organizations. The goal of Debian-NP is a complete system for all common tasks that non-profit organization need using 100% free software. We want to provide this functionality in a integrated and documented stable free desktop environment (quote from website)." http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-nonprofit

Tomas Krag - wire.less.dk and informal.org

Development of Linux training curricula "... aims at developing a framework and/or curriculum for teaching "Open Source software implementation for non-profit organisations. The developed framework/curriculum will be used as a guideline for facilitators at a series of planned Open Source events. The goal of these sessions is to enable non-technical computer users and technology implementors to become familiar with the tasks involved in migrating a small office to Open Source software on the desktop as well as the server" (quote from project paper). http://wire.less.dk and http://www.informal.org.uk

Mark Surman- Common's Group: Choosing Open Source Software guide

"...developed with APC as a part of their Multimedia Toolkit curriculum series. The series includes modules on a number of topics including open source software basics, selecting open source tools, open office, Internet radio production, basic online search skills, etc. It also provides a module format for curriculum development" (quote/extract from Mark's description). http://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/opensource.shtml

Eric Goldhagen- Freeflows project

An "Internet server with advanced, but established open source applications, modified to interact with one another seamlessly, supporting advocacy and knowledge management, both internally and externally. The emphasis of the project lies on the integration/adaptation of existing OSS into a coherent package, not on the development of new functionality" (quote from the project paper). http://openflows.org

Dirk Slater - LINC (Low Income Networking and Communication Project)

Buyers guide /Getting started guide, made especially for NGO's. See www.LincProject.org and http://www.welfarelaw.org/linc_home.htm

Vladimir Petkov - Interspace Sofia

InterSpace Sofia is a unique combination of very different projects: Erider services for Bulgarian NGO's which have prooved to be very successful and shall therefore be transferred to other countries in the near future, development of Open Source software including localization (Bulgarian) plus a series of inventive multimedia projects. http://www.i-space.org

The exchange of ideas and information of course is going on and regarding the development of tools and materials, several special cooperations have started. If we have managed to wake your curiosity, contact us at info@tacticaltech.org.