Sunday: On the plane to Tunisia, and it seems that most of my companion travelers are here for the same reason, to attend the second phase of the World Summitt on Information Society hosted by the United Nations in Tunis 16-18 November. In addition to WSIS, a series of conferences, talks, presentations and meetings occurs from 14 November through 18 November in parallel to WSIS, known as ICT4all.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Three of the world's biggest electronics companies -- IBM, Sony and Philips -- have joined forces with the two largest Linux software distributors to create a company for sharing Linux patents, royalty-free.
The Open Invention Network (OIN), as the new firm unveiled on Thursday is known, could mark a breakthrough in resolving how to protect vendors and customers from patent royalty disputes resulting from freely shared Linux code.
If OIN's approach to managing intellectual property wins acceptance, it could overcome a big stumbling block to wider corporate adoption of Linux and pose challenges for major opponent Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O), which has argued that relying on "open source" software poses legal risks.
I spend a lot of time on Amazon.com, some might say too much. But I learn a ton every time I go there. The reason is simple: people who know a lot more than I do about any given subject have been there before me and left little bits -- sometimes big chunks -- of their knowledge. Is there junk, dross, crap? Of course. But for me, ranting at someone else's stupid (imnsho) opinion is all part of the fun. (Fortunately, only my cat hears me. And she generally agrees.)
In the following list of lists, there will also be a lot of repetition. But be careful you don't just blow that off as noise. Sometimes it's valuable information that 20 people all recommend the same book. Especially if it's not Harry Potter or something by John Grisham. Not that I have anything against either. Point is, the narrower the field of focus -- in this case nonprofit organizations -- the more knowledge is required to have any perspective at all. I hope some of these pages will prove useful. If so -- or if not, either way -- maybe you can contribute something of what you know, as well.
In October, Sun Microsystems announced that it was spinning off
...the Global Education and Learning Community(GELC) as a nonprofit organization serving the needs of the education community.... The GELC provides an online portal for teachers to share resources and knowledge that would otherwise go undiscovered, breaking new ground in free and open source computing and helping educators meet the needs of students by sharing best practices around the globe. As a nonprofit, the organization will have access to more resources, including participation from other major corporations and governmental entities...
NewsForge ("The Online Newspaper for Linux and Open Source") notes that the offering is "aimed squarely at the company's own Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris platforms," and contrasts the Sun move with IBM's Academic Initiative (formerly, the IBM Scholars Program), announced late last year. The article quotes the associate director of Oregon State University's Open Source Lab...
The Nonprofit Times, based in Morris Plains, NJ, has a PDF chart of America's largest 100 nonprofit organizations. You can download the chart here. While that page is dated a year ago, the front page of the site says the chart was "Published November 2005" -- either way, it may be useful to some readers. The latest issue of the publication is here. Below is a clip from the PDF...
The founder of eBay has donated $100 million to Tufts University to support low-cost business startups in developing countries. "We believe that business can be a tool for social good," said Pierre Omidyar. "Microfinance has already shown that enabling the poor to empower themselves economically can be good business."
The $100m fund, to be run for profit by endowment managers at Tufts University, marks a growing trend among philanthropic entrepreneurs and technology billionaires to seek market-based solutions to global poverty, rather than rely solely on traditional charities....
Microfinance is known for making small loans, usually less than $200, to individuals, often women, to establish or expand a small, self-sustaining business -- from buying chickens to sell eggs or opening a bakery. Typically, the money is paid back at a relatively high rate of interest to ensure the fund is self-sustaining, but is far cheaper than the limited black-market loans that people in poorer countries are often forced to rely on.
Additional sources of information on microfinance and microcredit include:
An article by Steve Lohr in today's New York Times -- Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies -- ends with the senior vice president of global marketing for Chrysler saying: "We think there is plenty of opportunity for innovation in the Google economy."
The article paints Google search as a disruptive technology, which it certainly is, and points out how it has many companies and industries both exploring new options... and quaking in their boots.
Nonprofits should similarly be aware of -- and concerned about -- the way Google is changing "business as usual." Traditional methods of fundraising and attracting volunteers may suddenly be eclipsed -- not that it isn't happening already -- by more efficient techniques that leverage the network and the new tools emerging on the web.
Expensive snail-mail campaigns never were that effective, and today may even be counterproductive compared to the organizational transparency and more human-to-human style of Internet communications.
The NetSquared team is pleased as punch to announce our newest member, Britt Bravo! Britt's our Community Builder and has already made waves with planning our strong volunteer and outreach base.
Also, we've added a fresh batch of profiles to our Net2 In Action section. Check 'em out! In addition to our growing advocates and sponsor list, the NetSquared team will roll out our new identity and website in the next few weeks.
Finally, as Chris has noted, come join us in the Bay area for Net Tuesday. Chris Messina will present, plus music and cookies to go around. We'd love to see you there!