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#20 Open-source and movements

Open-source and movements

Anyone using the Internet today benefits from open source software. Early inventors built much of the Internet itself on open source technologies—like the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server application.

Every time computer users view emails, chat with their friends, stream music or videos online, the technology they’re using are using modules from open-source projects or even are open-sourced themselves.

Open-source technologies do not necessarily mean “free.” People can still charge for services in setting up, modifying, and deploying these technologies. But it definitely pushes down the cost and makes it more accessible for people with limited budgets compared to proprietary applications.

That’s where building movements comes in. Cost is a huge issue in progressive groups and organizations. We have a lot of people power, but may have limited budgets. Groups in their formative or initial stages require technologies to reach out and organize their constituents in a cost effective manner, relying more on the energy of people than the power of money. Money saved through these technologies can then be allotted more to hiring organizers or more leaders, making the movement more robust and scalable.

Open-source tech allows for this kind of dynamism to take place, so in our first hacknight for 2018, let’s talk about open-source and movements. Let’s talk about how our collective energy as developers can have the power to move people to action and create positive change. We will also discuss the open source applications that are right now available for organizations, and what can we do to push this further and possibly decrease the influence of money in organizing and in government.

We will be joined by La Vesha Parker, Progressive HackNight’s secretary and member of the board of directors, who will discuss what open-source technology is, how to actually start contributing. (Check out her talks at AlterConf and FreeCodeCamp)

Sky Duveen, Lead of Software engineering at, will talk about Spoke, an open-source texting application that was used by various campaigns to send text to constituents via an open-source application, saving them a lot of money and allowing them to use the saved funds towards more organizing. Most notably, GetUp – a partner of MoveOne – used Spoke in Australia during the most recent Marriage Equality campaign and won.

Finally, Sonya Reynolds, Data Director of the NY Civic Engagement Table, also a director and treasurer of Progressive HackNight, will discuss how to transition closed-source technologies to open-source. In her talk, we will discuss how to open-source Make the Road’s Corporate Backers of hate – a system that engages people to send emails to corporations to stop supporting draconian policies in government.

Agenda and meeting notes