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iCanProgram.com--A Story of Success, Sadness, and the Spirit of Open Source

Making a Gift

  • August 23, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

Thoroughout the Linux and Open Source community, there are joys and triumphs, and, unfortunately, sorrows and defeats. One Canadian man has taken a recent sorrow and created a positive way of trying to prevent such sorrows from happening again.

On the surface, the iCanProgram.com seems like just another training consultancy. Geared for young people, the program teaches students how to program. What makes this program unique is that the cost is free of charge.

Bob Findlay, the co-founder of the iCanProgram, is now using his gifts to try to help people all over the world.

Findlay, a freelance programmer, always liked the idea of teaching people how to program, particularly children. He has run a successful custom software business outside Toronto, designing programs for customers using Linux-based systems for a number of years.

Linda Phillips was an 30-year veteran educator who also enjoyed teaching, especially children.

So, when the two professionals got together in late 2000, it seemed like an ideal match. Together, Findlay and Phillips worked to create iCanProgarm.com, a fee-based educational programming project that offered "Introduction to Linux" and "Introduction to GUI Programming with Tcl/Tk" courses to 10 through 13 year olds.

Sadly, after a seven-year battle with cancer Phillips passed away in August of 2001. Fortunately, her spirit has lived on in the iCanProgarm.com project. In her memory, as of January 2002, Findlay made the decision to provide the educational programming sessions available free of charge.

In order to sign up for a class now, a student simply has to make a donation to the student's preferred cancer charity. The program has taught over 1000 students in 23 different nations since January of 2002. According to student feedback, the average donation is around $50.

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