When free is still too expensive
Civic and governmental groups around the world today are too often hamstrung by a lack of access to powerful webapps for organizing and communication with citizens. Commercial software, if available, is often too expensive. Open source apps, while nominally free, are too hard to host. At the National Democratic Institute (NDI), this has been termed "the Geek Gap".
We'll share some of the history and successes of NDI's DemTools initiative, an effort to solve these critical problems: open source webapps designed for citizen engagement globally, on a scalable software-as-a-service platform. In addition, we'll describe the architecture and technical underpinnings of a such a cloud hosting project, designed to scale to thousands of sites, while being easily maintained by a small team.
About the Presenters
Chris Doten (cdoten) is Senior Manager for Technology and Innovation at NDI's Information and Communication Technology Programs team. Chris drives technology innovation within NDI, applying appropriate new approaches with citizen organizations, governments and political parties across NDI’s global programs. Chris specializes in the challenges of internet freedom and cybersecurity in closed societies and using new technologies for political organizing.
Christopher Gervais (ergonlogic) is a founder of the Aegir Cooperative and long-time contributor to the Drupal community. He is a co-maintainer of Drush, and one of the lead maintainers of the Drush Make sub-system. Christopher is also the project lead of the Aegir Hosting System, a Drupal, CiviCRM and Wordpress hosting system built atop Drupal and Drush.