I love to code, and I'd like to make a contribution. HP had a project (SourceXchange) for commercial match-making between developers and their sponsors, my dream is one that matches charities with their programming benefactors. I asked the manager of HP's effort if they'd expand it to include work "gratis," but they declined.
It makes a lot of sense to me, but maybe I'm just dense.
I don't like the idea of giving away something I've done to just any angst-ridden prick that happens upon it. Hence my refusal to participate in the open source movement.
I am charitable. I make gifts of money where it is needed, and will continue to do so. But Giving money feels very hollow. I want to give something substatntive, but all I know is engineering. I insist on continuing to work the private sector because I'm very productive, and that productivity (I hope) trickles down to the rest of the world over time.
I have seen the struggles that charities endure for sake of cause. Good, purpose-designed software can help them, even the smallest of them, to do what they do better. It can help them spend more time on the cause, and less time administering. That would be a worthwhile contribution, and is something that really excites me.
So, over the next few days I'm going to hash out my ideas on the subject here and hope some like-minded people read them, agree and join me. Or, maybe less ambitiously, help me refine my thoughts to form a plausable argument.
Let's leave the world a better place.