I am glad I’m not an accountant or bookkeeper. Details can’t slip your mind. Every transaction, in or out, needs an accurate record.

money

Image Credit: juliocesarf (openclipart.org)

Keeping the books is important to many of the non-profit organizations I support.  MassCUE, for example, is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization. All the money that passes through is tax exempt. That does mean that the organization has to pay attention to the financial details.

A free software accounting package that served the needs of NPOs is a worthy cause.

The Software Freedom Conservancy (itself an NPO) has started a campaign to fund the first year of development for a free software (AKA “open source”) accounting package.

software_freedom_conservancy

I read about the effort here: http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/Features/Wanted-A-Free-Accounting-Application-for-Non-Profits

I read some more at the campaign itself: http://sfconservancy.org/campaign/

This sounds like a good cause for readers of the MOSS SIG blog.

Will you consider a donation?

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Sharing isn’t new.

Open Courses at the university level are making news (I’m still working on my own Python experience with the P2P MOOC).

Open Educational Resources are beginning to make an impression in K-12 education, too.

But you may also want to review the history of open/Free Software.  has collected the story of the ten oldest open/Free Software: http://www.zdnet.com/the-10-oldest-significant-open-source-programs-7000009735/

Today, Aaron Seigo, a key KDE Plasma developer, announced the launch of the site through which we can pre-order a Spark tablet.

Go to the web site and find out more. http://makeplaylive.com

Please make note of the commitments. They define much more than the hardware specifications do.

To value the person, not the consumer.The user experience on Spark is focused not on the apps you have installed but on your day-to-day activities. It supports you in getting on your making and playing, treating you not as a consumer of app but providing tools to live your life with. This emphasis on the human value rather than the monetary metric of consumption is important to us.

To encourage and enable participation. Creating Spark has been an open, ongoing process of participation. People from around the world have been involved, and you can be too. Development and design is done openly and in the community. You are encouraged to make new things with Spark and find news ways of using it, seriously and playfully. There are no walled-gardens, no secret rooms.

To make Free software. Every bit of software we make is Free (as in freedom). We also work with hardware vendors and operating system developers to increase the amount of freedom delivered in their efforts. Our goal is 100% Free software, from top to bottom, and we recognize that this is a long term effort.

To make mistakes. We are not perfect beings and in our efforts to find our limits, we will err at times. We recognize and celebrate our limits, rather than let them hold us back.

To listen to and incorporate your input. Your thoughts and your actions are valued by us; they are what will help make us and our products better.

I’ve pre-ordered a Spark. The price is expected to be around 200 Euros with current plans for delivery in May. I’ll be patient, but, I’m feeling like a kid. “I CAN’T WAIT!”

I’ll keep you posted.

Update: Worldwide response gave the Document Foundation its needed funding in 8 days! (I’m sure we can all thank the readers of this blog. [grin]) All further donations will provide the foundation support for its actual operations.

What did you pay for the last piece of software you bought?
Was it worth it?

How about if you didn’t have to buy the software, but could get it without cost?
Would that mean it wasn’t of value?

LibreOffice, the fork of OpenOffice is being developed under a model used by other major Free/Libre software groups, a foundation. LibreOffice and the Document Foundation will not be controlled by a single corporation.

The Document Foundation needs to incorporate in order to put LibreOffice on a sound footing.
Since you cannot buy LibreOffice, what about donating something to support the foundation?

Here’s your chance.
http://challenge.documentfoundation.org/

Oh, and spread the word. Let’s get this task done.

The United States turned down the international standard for measurement and stands alone using the foot, gallon, pound and Fahrenheit degree. Will our stance on software be similar? Will we let corporations decide what is good for us?

openclipart.org (cybergedeon)

How attached are you?

When I was a middle school science teacher during the 1970s, there was a brief period during which we were asked to teach students how easy it is to use the metric system. Just like our decimal system for counting (10 fingers, after all) the metric system offered simple relationships among the measurements, and children learned it easily.

Nonetheless, the effort was brief. Industry rejected the recommendation, saying it would be prohibitively expensive to make the machinery conversions, and besides, everybody already knows the current “English” system of measurements.

Of course, losing the opportunity didn’t mean nothing changed. Look around. Find out what size your soda bottles are. They are almost all based on a metric liter. There are no quart, half gallon, etc. in my grocery store. Most loyal Americans seem to buy Hondas, Toyotas, Mazdas, etc., etc. whose bolts are metric. Did the U.S. citizens suffer from that silent conversion in the automobile industry? A quick check of the Wikipedia page on “engine displacement” indicates that since the 1980s, the industry has adopted the Liter as it’s main volume measure.

Right now, the common software base is Windows. If a program runs on Windows, people claim to know how to use it. If the same program runs on GNU/Linux, is it any more difficult?

Schools are the place where expectations are often set for the future. Is your school tying students to a Windows expectation? It it Macintosh that fills your classrooms? Are you teachers and your students shills for the proprietary formats of Microsoft and Apple, Inc.?

Where is GNU/Linux getting the chance to set student expectations? It is open, teachers and their students can be free to work with it and not be constrained by cost restrictions. There is no need to cry, “We cannot afford that software.”

Of course, the masters of the school computers aren’t the students nor the teachers, not even the early adopters. Most American schools are locked into the choices made by district administrators or worse, by the tech staff.

During the early days of computers in the classroom, the 1970s and 1980s, teachers who jumped at the chance to have a computer made more decisions than they do today. We are stepping backward. Progress is in the hands of the tech staff and administrators who control the money.

It isn’t the hardware which makes a computer useful. It is the software.

As a teacher, are you allowed to bring an old computer into your classroom for students to use, even if it is a Windows or Mac machine? I know of teachers who had to give the computers they brought in to the school which took control of the software installs just as much as they did the hardware.

Where is your software freedom? Do you have any?

Even if you are a tech savvy user, can you get any of your classroom computers set up to provide software freedom for yourself or your students?