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Software For A Cause: Open Source Geeks and Nonprofits Gather at Texas Penguin Days to Make Better Software and the World a Better Place

Social entrepreneur and Salsa.net CEO Dean McCall, is now promoting Penguin Days in Austin and San Antonio to demystify open source software for social change. Penguin Days explore open source software for nonprofits and help socially-minded ‘geeks’ find ways to support public interest organizations.

Katrin Verclas of Aspiration, co-organizers of the national movement of Penguin Days, observed that non-profit organizations are in need of specific software to manage volunteers, raise funds, and mobilize their constituents. Open source software can be less costly for these groups. We convene Penguin Days to challenge software developers to provide flexible and useful open source software. Penguin Days also empower nonprofits to communicate their needs and be active partners in the use of open source technology.

Open source software can be freely shared, distributed, and modified so that organizations can adapt software programs to suit their very specific needs.

Since 2004, Penguin Days have been held in Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon; London, England; Toronto, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. Hundreds of nonprofit staff, programmers, and activists have attended Penguin Days.

Penguin Days feature humorous "speed geeks" (modeled after speed-dating) to bring programmers and organizations together to change the world–one byte at a time. Organizers say that here is a growing group of programmers who are interested in making their skills and technical knowledge available for a cause.

The Penguin is the symbol adopted in the early days of Linux as the mascot of this growing software movement. Texas Penguin Days are scheduled in Austin on November 4 and San Antonio on November 5. Other upcoming Penguin Days are scheduled in Portland, Oregon on October 15 and in Montreal, Canada on November 20.

More information on Penguin Days is available.  Registration for the Austin and San Antonio events are as follows:

Austin (Ventana del Soul, 1834 E. Oltorf):

San Antonio (Urban 15, 2500 S. Presa): https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/Aspiration/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=981&t=penguin.dwt

The Texas Penguin Days are sponsored by Polycot Consulting, the Austin Community College Center for Community-Based and NonProfit Organizations, EFF-Austin and SalsaNet, and supported with in-kind support from local nonprofits and many volunteers.

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