Hacking the world: effecting positive changes using open source

Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 3, 2010 from 4:45 – 5:30pm


I don't want to lick envelopes or call donors, I want to get something done! But the organization is horribly underfunded and technically unsophisticated. I know! Open Source Man to the rescue!


Open source volunteerism is usually viewed through the lens of software development, but ultimately the purpose of any software is to do something. Moving beyond lost cat posters and reducing small business costs, open source tools allow capable but poorly funded volunteers to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be unthinkable.

Drawing from his experience with non-profits and governmental organizations, developer David Hollingsworth presents the other side of open source volunteerism: accomplishing real-world tasks using off-the-shelf and customized open source software as means rather than ends.

The needs, resources, barriers, solutions, and outcomes of case studies from four distinctive organizations are used to form a general approach that geeks can use and promote as volunteers.

Speaking experience


  • Biography

    While studying Electrical Engineering at MIT, David became attracted to software’s malleability and subsequently built a career as a developer. In 1998, he co-founded Curl Corporation, which grew to 130 employees at its peak. David has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, served on the board of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, and in 2008 won the Texas Historical Commission’s George Christian Volunteer of the Year award for work in his local community.