While the general population probably still has no idea what it means for something to be “open source“, the movement is growing. Firefox, Songbird and WordPress, among others, are software tools that are increasing the visibility of the open source value system which emphasizes open access to information about a product, most of the time available free of charge (known as FLOSS; see Michelle Murrain‘s great article examining if FLOSS Software can save nonprofits money). When looking at open source software, this means that the code for the software is publicly available, promoting public collaboration and development. We here at Social Source Commons see open source tools as a great and important resource for nonprofits who, not only can have access to a large number of quality free tools, but can also use a product built from community collaboration and values instead of strict capitalism.
One place in which open source standards seem like a perfect fit is in the Web 2.0 world of social networking and collaboration. Jeff Reifman, the creator of Newscloud has created a Facebook group around developing open source Facebook applications called (What else?) Open Source Facebook Developers. With the rise in popularity of social network sites as well as hosted web applications, developing open source facebook applications will allow this philosophy of open collaboration on software to break into the Facebook community. Hopefully this philosophy of open collaboration and development will take off in Facebook as well.
We encourage you to check it out and tell us what you think its impact might be on the nonprofit community! And check out these great nonprofit open source resources: