Book Shepherds Faithful to Free and Open Source Pastures

From: Oakdale Christian Fellowship
Published: Mon May 09 2005

Penguin in the Pew (2.0), a book about using free and open source software in Christian ministries, is now available on the Internet through Penguin in the Pew is the only book on the market that is specifically targeted at helping Christians to discover and understand free and open source software, especially GNU/Linux. While the book is aimed primarily at Christian technologists, it is also useful to pastors, church staff, and other members of the congregation.

Penguin in the Pew clears up the confusion about the terms "free" and "open source", addresses the challenges of hardware compatibility, software interoperability, and whether a migration is really more expensive than an upgrade. Readers will learn why and how they should migrate to the GNU/Linux operating system. Additionally, Penguin in the Pew connects readers to the growing community of Christians who use, develop and provide technical support for GNU/Linux and other free and open source applications. The book's author, Don Parris, invites fellow Christians to join in a dialogue where the GNU/Linux "philosophy" and Christian values intersect.

The original version of Penguin in the Pew (1.0), distributed via the Internet in PDF format, has been downloaded thousands of times from Pastor Parris' ministry website (, inspired a number of churches to migrate to GNU/Linux, and has helped fueled the growth of a community of other like minded Christians interested in the using and promoting GNU/Linux. It has been translated into French, with Spanish and German translations in the works. The title comes from the Linux mascot, a penguin named "Tux", and is also released under a license from the Creative Commons (, that allows for a level of sharing and collaboration similar to the philosophy behind free and open source software.

More and more individuals and organizations have been discovering and turning to free and open source software as an alternative to costly Microsoft and legacy software in use today. The browser, Mozilla Firefox, and, the office suite, are supplanting Microsoft's offerings in many businesses, government, and non-profit agencies. Still, many are unaware of the existence of alternatives to proprietary software. Penguin in the Pew introduces the Christian community to free and open source software in general, and specifically to GNU/Linux.

Don Parris, Pastor of Oakdale Christian Fellowship in Charlotte, North Carolina has written articles for Linux Journal and NewsForge, two popular Internet news sources with a focus on GNU/Linux. Parris developed a church administration database back-end known as CHADDB, and has worked with a number of Christian-oriented projects in the free and open source community. He is also a leading activist with The Freely Project (, a web-based free software advocacy initiative.
Company: Oakdale Christian Fellowship
Contact Name: Don Parris
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 704-398-1506

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