October 3, 2011

Rewarding open source for social good

kiwanjaDo you know a software developer building open source tools with the potential to positively impact communities around the world? If you do – or you are one – then read on.

The Tides Foundation is now accepting nominations for this year’s Pizzigati Prize. The Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest annually awards a $10,000 cash grant to one individual who has created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change.

The 2012 winner will be announced in April at the Nonprofit Technology Network annual conference in San Francisco. Each year, starting in 2006, the Pizzigati Prize has accepted nominations for talented and creative individuals who develop open source software products that demonstrate impressive value to the nonprofit sector. Tides welcomes nominations from both developers and the nonprofits who work with them.

Earlier this year I had the honour of picking up the Pizzigati Prize in Washington DC on behalf of everyone at FrontlineSMS. According to the Pizzigati jury, we’d managed to:

create software that speaks directly to the reality that millions of people globally have only simple mobile phones and no access whatsoever to the Internet. The software they developed turns mobile phones into grassroots organizing tools for everything from mobilizing young voters to thwarting thieving commodity traders.

The 2010 Pizzigati Prize winner, Yaw Anokwa, led the development on Open Data Kit, a modular set of tools that’s helping nonprofits the world over on a wide variety of battlefronts, from struggles to prevent deforestation to campaigns against human rights violations.

“Open source software developers like these fill an indispensable role”, explained Tides Chief of Staff Joseph Mouzon, a Pizzigati Prize judge and the former Executive Director of Nonprofit Services for Network for Good. “The Pizzigati Prize aims to honor that contribution – and encourage programmers to engage their talents in the ongoing struggle for social change”.

The Pizzigati Prize honors the brief life of Tony Pizzigati, an early advocate of open source computing. Born in 1971, Tony spent his college years at MIT, where he worked at the world-famous MIT Media Lab. Tony died in 1995, in an auto accident on his way to work in Silicon Valley.

Full details on the Pizzigati Prize, the largest annual award in public interest computing, are available online.

Please nominate, share or enter as appropriate. Good luck!

September 11, 2009

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt WordCamp San Francisco a few weeks ago, I managed to get a few minutes alone with Matt Mullwenweg, co-founder, chief coder and “Head of Bug Creation” for WordPress. (I self-host Socialbrite and Socialmedia.biz with code from WordPress.org; others use WordPress.com to host their blog.)

In this 5 1/2-minute video interview, Matt discusses the state of WordPress, its astonishing growth here and abroad, the vibrancy of the consumer open source movement and his estimate that about  8,000 coders are contributing code and themes to WordPress today. The recent release of WordPress 2.8.4 (fixing a security hole) makes WordPress, in my view, the best blogging software on the planet (with apologies to newcomer Posterous).

A few highlights from our conversation:

• Matt: “Some people think blogging is slowing down, but from everything we’ve seen, it seems blogging is accelerating just as fast as ever. ”

• Matt: “There’s no real killer feature in software anymore. There are 50 killer features, and everyone has a different 50.”

• WordPress fits into the consumer wave of open source tools. the first wave was purely development tools, the second was infrastructure and the third is consumer” applications like Firefox and Azureus. Continue reading

July 30, 2009

Open source’s growing influence

Guest post by Renee Blodgett
CEO, Magic Sauce Media

At this week’s AlwaysOn Stanford Summit, the open source video company Kaltura organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel (SaaS as in Software as a Service).

In this video interview, Kaltura CEO Ron Yekutiel says open source is disruptive but on the rise, and it tears down those garden walls, giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco were the other companies joining Ron on the panel.

Renee Blodgett is the CEO of Magic Sauce Media, a strategic communications, social media and branding consultancy. This post originally appeared at Renee’s Down the Avenue and is republished with permission.
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July 17, 2009

Symbian: Going open source has made huge difference

Symbian goes open source from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaProbably few people have noticed that Symbian, the operating system that powers nearly half the world’s smartphones (compared with the iPhone’s 1.1% overall market share), is opening up its platform and going open source.

Samsung“Being open source has made an incredible difference in how we interact with the community,” says Anatolie Papas of the Symbian Foundation. In this 5-minute video, she talks about recent changes at Symbian, the value of open source, and the large number of software developers around the world writing code for Symbian-powered mobile devices.

The interview was conducted at the Traveling Geeks‘ Tweetup in London — which Symbian helped support — on July 5, 2009, with a Flip Ultra, and you’ll notice a few audio artifacts.

Anatolie charges her Symbian phone once every 2-3 days and uses it for data uploads and downloads constantly (which iPhone users can only dream of). She also talks about her “absolutely fantastic” Samsung Omnia HD i8910 phone (pictured), which sports an 8 megapixel camera, and mentions some of the cool Symbian-powered smartphones coming out this fall, including the new Sony Ericsson Satio with its 12 megapixel camera.

Continue reading

July 17, 2009

How open standards can benefit nonprofit tech

Guest post by Peter Deitz
SocialActions

peterdeitzprofilepicI don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of open standards, particularly when my bladder Direct Messages me with the hashtag #urgent. Open standards (see picture below) guide me to a place where I can @reply in a hurry.

Source: Robotson on Flickr

Source: Robotson on Flickr

In the nonprofit technology community, open standards of a different variety could help us all become more effective at what we urgently need to do: raise money, recruit and coordinate volunteers, promote events, create profiles on social networks, generate reports for grant-makers, and the list goes on.

In June, I hosted a discussion about Collaboration and Competition on Social Edge in which the topic of open standards for the nonprofit sector was raised. In response to a comment from David Wolff, I wrote:

When a sector comes together to create a standard, anything from the diameter of a bottle cap to protocols for mobile devices, businesses and consumers in the sector benefit. Businesses reduce their costs because manufacturers don’t have to build custom factories / product lines each time they sign a contract. Consumers also benefit. Anyone who has fastened a Pepsi cap onto a Coco-Cola bottle and then ridden their bike home knows what I’m talking about … Sometimes collaborating in one area raises the bar of competition in another.

Continue reading

July 16, 2009

Socialbrite developer releases CC plug-in

JD LasicaLast month, when Socialbrite launched, we announced that our developer — Buenos Aires tech guru Esteban Glas — had crafted a Creative Commons plug-in that woud allow users of WordPress blogs to use different CC licenses for each post on the site.

On Wednesday Esteban released WP-License Plugin Reloaded to the WordPress community, and already others have discovered it in the WordPress plug-in directory and have begun to use it. Here’s Esteban’s announcement on his blog:

Part of the work I’ve been doing with JD Lasica for his Socialbrite project (yes, there is an irony in the fact that a careless, sarcastic SoB teamed up with a caring, polite and nice guy such as JD) included creating a Creative Commons plugin. I’m quite proud to say that I’ve released the plugin for the public in version 0.1.1.

It is based on the amazing Job by Nathan R. Yergler and his WP-Licencse Plugin.

What WP-license Reloaded does is allowing per-post licensing. This is particularly helpful for multiple author blogs and sites.

Continue reading