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ITW/P: freecati

I intend to write and package a free computer assisted telephone
interviewing (CATI) application for Linux; there appears to be no free
CATI software in the universe, and what CATI software there is is
extremely overpriced (per-seat licensing), runs on certain operating
systems that aren't free produced by Microsoft, and has really crappy
support.  [The disgusting part is that writing a CATI application
appears extremely trivial... you can do 90% of what you need with
dialog or whiptail.]

I intend to base it around the newt 0.50 (new upstream version not yet
in Debian) slang-based windowing toolkit and the Python scripting
language.  I suspect I'll use Python's database interface as well
(which supports multiple database backends).  I plan on including
support for "smart modem dialling" (the modem handles busy signals and
no answers for the interviewer) and "voice" modems with builtin
speakerphone capabilities (for use with off-the-shelf headsets).

For the unfamiliar, CATI programs are used to to conduct surveys over
the telephone (although they can also be used in other contexts).
Think of an "installation wizard" with a modem dialer and database
backend, and you've got the idea.  The concept here is basically to
make it possible to turn mothballed 486es (or eMachines ;-) into
interviewing stations running Linux for the cost of a network card, a
good USR modem and a noise-cancelling headset (i.e. well under $200).

The software will be GPLed.

|          Chris Lawrence           |      Get your Debian 2.1 CD-ROMs      |
|     <quango@watervalley.net>      |       http://www.lordsutch.com/       |
|                                   |                                       |
|   Political Scientist Wanna-be    |        Your site belongs here.        |
|     University of Mississippi     |    [Commercialize your sig today!]    |

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