(Pre)-Announcing a Debian Custom Distribution for NonProfit Organizations

July 4th, 2003

Benjamin Mako Hill and Micah Anderson sent a message to the debian-devel-announce mailing list alerting developers to a potential Debian custom distribution designed for desktop use in non-profit organizations. The message, phrased as a "pre-announcement," was designed to poll the interest for such a distribution—especially from potential developers who might want to work on the project.

The announcement text read:

Over the last few years, we've dealt extensively with small non-profit organizations engaged in grassroots organizing, technological assistance, independent media, and educational work in a variety of areas.

We see non-profits as a particularly important area to launch a subproject because many of these non-profits are already familiar with free and open source software, philosophies and development methodologies. If they are large and technically involved enough to need their own server, they probably already use GNU/Linux. However in day-to-day operations most use proprietary operating systems. Unlike many groups of users where advocacy is an uphill battle, many non-profits want to use GNU/Linux on their workstations but are waiting for someone to "make it easy for them." We want to do just this.

By putting together a sub-distribution that fulfills the needs of non-profits and pitching it as a solution for them, we hope to get many small organizations interested in the project.

Most of these groups use their workstations for a limited and predictable set of tasks that include many areas of overlap with other sub-projects (word processing, book-keeping, email, maintaining contacts) plus other more specialized uses (fund raising, developing membership lists).

With this project, we aim to create an easily installable customized Debian distribution with the needs of small non-profits in mind. In the future, we'd also like to develop several new applications geared to replace programs many non-profits use that are only available on proprietary operating systems.

Interested users and developers are encouraged to check out the projects webpage, join the mailing list, and begin contributing on the sites wiki.

Debian-Nonprofit Homepage
Debian-Nonprofit Mailing List
Debian-Nonprofit Wiki