Ubuntu NGO Kicking Off!

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Ubuntu NGO will be having its first meeting this Friday, 26th June 2009, 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-ngo on irc.freenode.net

A little over a month ago, Daniel Holbach asked who was using Ubuntu in their NGO? In the time that’s passed, a group of Ubunteros has coalesced around the idea of making Ubuntu a great platform for NGOs, non-profits, and charities. Whether they’re using Ubuntu in their back office, their web server, or giving out refurbished computers loaded with Ubuntu, we want to focus on the specific needs they face and how Ubuntu can help meet them.

I’m especially excited about this new initiative as over my life I’ve been involved with a number of non-profit and advocacy organizations. I see this project as a way to tie together two things I’m involved with that seem separate but come from similar motivations, making the world a better place and give back to community. It’s a natural fit for the Ubuntu community as well. The same things that motivate so many of us to contribute to Ubuntu motivate others (and some of us) to work for and volunteer at NGOs.

There are a lot of possibilities with this, and it’s just starting to take shape now. It’s a great time to join in and help shape the group and our goals. Come to the meeting. Join the team. Check out the wiki page and see some of the things we’ve already started working on.

Some of the things we’re interested in are:

  • Finding out about NGOs that are using Ubuntu right now and sharing their stories.
  • Studying different use cases.
  • Documenting of best practices.
  • Looking at work that some LoCo teams have already done and encouraging connection between NGOs and LoCos.
  • Investigating ways to deal with regions without Internet access.
  • Packaging a CRM solution for non-profits.

That last point is something that I’ve already begun working on. We’ve started packaging CiviCRM, an open-source constituent relationship management solution designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental groups. Our packaging branch is host on Launchpad: lp:~ubuntu-ngo/civicrm/ubuntu If you’re interested in pitching in, there’s a TODO file in /debian and a watch file to pull the upstream source. I’d be particularly grateful if someone with experience packaging with dbconfig-common took a look.

This is a great opportunity to get in a the beginning of an important project! Our first meeting is this Friday, 26th June 2009, 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-ngo on irc.freenode.net

Got any ideas? Let me know in the comments!

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