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    I had the pleasure of dropping in this afternoon on the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, which is in progress here in Boston.

    This is a very big gathering of geeks who are passionate about open source software, and it's (as a professor of mine once commented about a term paper that I wrote on an extremely arcane topic) a very interesting kind of thing, if you're interested in that kind of thing.

    And of course, I am interested in that kind of thing, especially in the exhibit hall. It's fun to wander around, and learn and about products and services about which I would otherwise be ignorant. Testing

    Kudos to the LinuxWorld organizers for setting up a "Dot Org Pavillion" there, so that various not-for-profit open source projects could strut their stuff.

    I had an interesting time, wandering from booth to booth in the "Dot Org Pavillion," making small talk and asking leading questions, such as:

    • What kinds of resources and assistance do you make available to the over-extended, techno-phobic social workers* in the nonprofit sector?
    • What kind of relationship do you have with the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative? How about the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network?

    Unfortunately, when I asked these questions, I received a lot of blank looks.

    I did my best not to be daunted - since one of my self-appointed tasks is to bridge as many of these gaps as I can. I therefore ventured another question, wherever possible:

    Would you like me to help you get in touch with or find ways to work with some of these organizations?

    I received a few enthusiastic responses (notably the friendly folks at LinuxQuestions.Org), but on the whole the folks staffing the booths in the LinuxWorld "Dot Org Pavillion" had other priorities. That's a disappointment.

    And now I'm asking myself a few questions:

    • Could I have approached these folks in a more engaging way?
    • Are there other folks in these organizations - other, that is, than the ones staffing the booths - who would be interested if approached?
    • Should NOSI and N-TEN being doing a better job of making the case for service to the nonprofit community?
    • Should the techno-phobic social workers of this world be taking the lead in doing outreach to the open source software community about the importance of the work that the nonprofit sector does, and the need for the open source community to support it?
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