Engage! Open Source Social Coding for Good, for Personal Growth, and for Sustainable Impact

Gerardo Capiel (TBD), Edward Cable (The Community for Open Source Microfinance), Deanna McCusker (VMware)
Location: E144 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 4 ratings)
Slides:   1-ZIP 

Over the past year, SocialCoding4Good has gone from a promising pilot project to a rapidly growing contributor community driving social impact through Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS). Accelerated by the open source community and others, we are now working with nonprofit HFOSS organizations addressing some of the world’s most complex challenges, from civic engagement and education, to human rights and poverty alleviation. These partners now include Code for America, The Community for Open Source Microfinance (COSM), The Guardian Project, Mozilla Webmaker, and Wikimedia Foundation.

We have also actively engaged leading technology corporations – from Google and HP to ThoughtWorks and VMware – to introduce their software teams to the broader HFOSS community, contributing talent, technology, time, and, yes, code, to our HFOSS partners’ work.

In this 40-minute presentation, we will present key two themes we’ve learned along the way, and stories of real impact:

  1. Contributor Development ::
    The program’s pilot attracted several hundred volunteer developers from around the globe, from high school students to software industry professionals. Some had years of open source experience, while many others had none. What they all had in common was a desire to apply code to making a positive difference in the world around them. Time and time again, their feedback was the same. Social coding for good provided the opportunity to deepen technical skills, broaden domain expertise, and for some, the chance to actively mentor other community members. Most importantly, it radically shifted their perspective on the power of a single contributor to create lasting impact.
  2. Open Source for Sustainable Impact ::
    Although much attention is focused on hackathons-for-good, the real potential of HFOSS is realized well beyond a single event. Joined by Ed Cable, Director of Community for COSM, we’ll present an example of how a single weekend of coding can ignite long-term project involvement, resulting in sustainable impact for millions of people around the globe.

In December 2012 SocialCoding4Good brought together individual developers and corporate teams to support COSM as it scales its newly launched Mifos X software towards a vision of enabling
3 Billion Maries to live in a world without poverty. Coding across three continents for a single weekend, groups in India, Ireland, and the US designed and prototyped four mobile applications and key user-requested reporting functionality for the Mifos X platform.

The result? COSM now has critical proof points it needs to support mobile development, the necessary knowledge and technical foundation for future deployments, and the ongoing commitment of a dozen new active contributors. Together, they are creating true, transformative impact – building a world where each person has access to the financial resources needed to create a better life for themselves and their family.

Photo of Gerardo Capiel

Gerardo Capiel


Gerardo Capiel, VP Engineering at Benetech, spoke at OSCON2012, presenting the session Building an Ecosystem of FLOSS to Educate Students with Disabilities.

He has more than 15 years of experience leading the development of innovative Internet and enterprise software. Prior to joining Benetech as VP Engineering, he was Co-Founder, Director and CTO of Digital Impact, a publicly traded e-marketing software vendor. Gerardo was also Co-Founder and CEO of Gydget, which created social network marketing products for the entertainment and nonprofit sectors.

In addition, Gerardo has worked at MySpace, Altro Solutions, BroadVision, and HP. His software industry experience spans SaaS, data mining and analytics, e-marketing, e-commerce, and social networking. Some of his pioneering achievements in e-marketing included being awarded a key patent related to web analytics.

Gerardo has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Engineering Systems and Computation and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has traveled extensively through the developing world, and has served as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic and Cambodia. At Benetech, he feels he is now able to apply his entrepreneurial experience and technical creativity to give back to humanity every day.

Photo of Edward Cable

Edward Cable

The Community for Open Source Microfinance

Ed is a passionate changemaker helping fuel poverty alleviation through financial inclusion, open source technology, and the power of community.

Coming from a business and marketing background, he was one of the original members of the Mifos team at Grameen Foundation. For five years at Grameen, he cultivated and led the global community of microfinance institutions, IT support providers, and volunteer software developers using, supporting, and building the Mifos open source technology platform for microfinance.

He now leads the Community for Open Source Microfinance, a non-profit founded to take on leadership of the Mifos project following its spin-off from Grameen. With the launch of its brand new Mifos X platform, Mifos is better positioned to more broadly support technology-enabled financial inclusion.

Ed is driven to prove how open source community and technology can be a vital enabler in traveling the last mile in empowering those at the base of the pyramid. In his spare time, he leads his community of animals at home which now includes goats, dogs, chickens, cats, rabbits, and birds.

Photo of Deanna McCusker

Deanna McCusker


Deanna McCusker is a user experience designer with VMware. She recently spent 3 months with COSM (Community for Open Source Microfinance) to improve the UX of their microfinance software (Mifos) through VMware’s Take 3 sabbatical program. Her blog on this project can be found at: www.t3deanna.wordpress.com.

She has been with VMware for 9 years designing the UX for cloud computing and virtual infrastructure solutions. Prior to that she spent several years consulting, most notably designing the interface for an early electronic book.


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