Non-Profit Use of Open Source

For a large number of non-profits out there, Open Source software just makes sense. Being they can get a large number of the programs that they need with little or no effort these days, it is comical to watch folks continue to hang onto bloated software like Outlook in some blind faith that it will not crash in the middle of writing an email ‘this time’. Today we look at some thoughts from Doc Searls on Linux and non-profits in general. Some interesting points are brought up here, check it out.

While I was in Boston, I met Deborah Elizabeth Finn of who I sometimes correspond with on the DigitalDivide.net email list. She, too, had attended the Linux World Expo, and had some observations of her own.

Deborah and I had lunch after LinuxWorld, and afterward she took me over to the Organizer’s Collaborative where I met Rich Cowan, one of the co-authors of ‘Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer For Non-Profits’. This primer is put out by the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative (NOSI), and is a robust work which introduces Non-Profits – and perhaps others – to the benefits of Open Source software. I briefly mentioned it in LinuxWorld and Community, but didn’t do it justice because Non-Profits and Open Source are both very large topics.

A month later, I’m here in the Dominican Republic, using bandwidth from Fundación-Redes-y-Desarrollo (FUNREDES). This morning, I spoke with Daniel Pimienta, Director of FUNREDES. We touched on some of the problems associated with using Open Source for non-profits, and when I get back from the Jamaican meeting of the Caribbean Linux and Open Source Foundation (CLOSF), we’ll explore these items more.

What is happening within groups working on the Digital Divide is an increase in the awareness – and use – of Open Source software. Within the NOSI primer, 5 case studies were done related to Non Profit organizations switching to Open Source.

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