If you’re one of the thousands of organizations using the Salesforce Foundation’s open source Nonprofit Starter Pack, you have a good understanding of the great features and power that comes under the hood. It’s one of the world’s best fundraising apps sitting atop one of the best cloud platforms, and it’s improving every day.
For some of you, open source software might be a new and somewhat mysterious concept. Luckily, there’s a not-so-well-kept secret to but the immense power of it is what enables so many fabulous organizations to use the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP): you have the power to contribute to it and make it better. The question is, how?
With Joomla!Day Melbourne 2013 taking place this week down in Australia, and with my upcoming travel to speak at Joomla!Day India in early February 2013, I took a little time this weekend to reflect on the incredible success of the Joomla open source community. There’s a lot that goes into an open source project that moves it from mediocrity to superstardom, not the least of which is actually the code that people enjoy writing and using.
In thinking about my presentation for Joomla!Day India, one key metric of success stood out amongst all others for the Joomla community: empowerment.
In my relatively short 15 years in the open source world, I have yet to find another project that is able to as effectively strike the solid balance between attraction of new members that know little-to-nothing about software development, and the hardcore engineers looking to leverage a power web framework. Based on my years within the Joomla project, and my term serving as a leader of it, I’ve come to realize that the key differentiator for me has been the community’s focus on empowering anyone to contribute.
Way back in 1999, when dinosaurs were roaming the planet, a friend of mine and I started off on a path that I’ve been lucky enough to keep walking for 14 years. As students of public policy, we were eager to use technology to provide individuals and organizations with empowering tools to advance the cause of building a more open and just society. From the beginning, we knew that open source software would be the necessary DNA running through our work’s blood.
Looking back at those early days, I’m incredibly humbled by the impact open source has had on my life and in our communities. Now, older and slightly wiser, I’m excited to continue down that same path. Our company’s flagship offerings (Non-Profit Soapbox and Soapbox Engage) heavily leverage open source software, giving us the headspace and time to focus on shaping software to best serve our community.
At the same time, I continue to find fulfillment in life by using my experience as a backdrop for evangelism of the open source communities that help us deliver services to those who need it most. While this has recently lead to many hours on planes and trains far away from loved ones, I feel nearly compelled (in a good sense) to work alongside the incredible people building the hammers and nails the world needs to craft more effective and equitable software.
Have you ever written sample data for your software project and paused, just for a split second, to think about the domain name you’d use for your example content? You probably ended up using something like test.com, myorg.org, etc. Then, when you distributed the sample data to users, they, as you could expect, used the data in their reports/email blasts/actions.
So what’s a software designer to do? We want to make sure we’re giving useful examples so people can use our software before they fully commit to creating their own data into our systems.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) accepted RFC2606 way back in 1999 to help us all out. They’ve defined the following second level domain names as effectively “off-limits” for anyone to buy and use. Instead, all of us in the software development world can use it for our sample data and documentation.
If someone sends a message to those domains, or connects to this domain, essentially, nothing happens. A safe harbor for your sample data!
So, before you run off and create your next batch of sample data or documentation, just to be safe, consider using these special domains to protect your users from inadvertently sending data to active domains.
Yesterday, Google announced the end of their free Google Apps for Business service. Starting immediately, all companies, no matter their size, will be required to pay $50 per user per year for Google’s email and productivity suite.
While the statement from Google says that educational institutes will continue to be provided the service free of change, and while existing clients won’t be affected, it seems unclear as to what this means for our non-profit sector.
Will non-profits continue to receive Google Apps for free via the Google grants? Might this significant change potentially spur fast innovation and tools that are open source?
Update: Google has written their nonprofit pricing model…
There’s few things I enjoy more in the Joomla! world than having the opportunity to meet members of the community. Between session talks and evening drinks, the conversations are amazing.
I’ve been to Mongolia, South Africa, Brazil, and lots of places in between, and the stories I hear from the Joomla community are incredible. People’s rich background of experience, their willingness to contribute, and excitement for the future keep fueling my tank as President of Open Source Matters (Joomla’s non-profit organization).
This weekend (Saturday, Oct 15, 2010), I get a chance to bring it back to the home crowd at Joomla!Day DC. I’ll eloquently and diplomatically sum up my thoughts in two words: I’m stoked.
What can we say? We’re a sucker for a little penguin humor – especially being fresh off the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference packed with our 75 3 and 1/2-foot tall inflatable penguins that filled the grand ballroom and achieved a bit of music video star status (2:14, 2:33).
So when Paul Wessel with CT Parent Power passed along today’s comic strip from Mother Goose and Grimm by Mike Peters , we just had to share:
Want your organization’s website to do more than dream? Learn how we make penguins fly, enabling our non-profits’ sites to take wing and soar to meet their needs.
Thanks for keeping us smiling, Paul! We look forward to your new site taking flight with us in the near future!
Our SnowmageddonCleanUp.com Web site has been an extremely useful way for greater DC area residents to post their snow-related problems and solutions. Now it’s time to focus our energies!
If you’re from a school, church, or synagogue in the greater DC area, post any help you need this weekend for snow clean up, and we’ll crowdsource the community to help you in your efforts!
All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
We’ll take these reports and highlight them on Twitter, Facebook, and the Web site! Let’s clean up our schools, churches, and synagogues one snow shovel at a time!
It seems we’ve caught lighting in a bottle here at PICnet. During the course of the past two days, we’ve been honored to have our SnowmageddonCleanUp.com Web site covered in a diverse and wide array of media outlets. We’re hoping that this outreach will help the DC residents learn about this site and extend a helping hand to their neighbors.
Here’s a few of our favorite hits thus far.