#SidnetDonations: Wojtek for Pandoc and Marcin Sztrubel (Avalon Foundation beneficiary)

Inconspicuousness may be the common denominator of the initiatives we support in November. Today we’ll talk about the inspiring power to act despite disability and about a tool that did not need a marketing package to become popular at universities and among developers.

This month’s selection of open‑source and non‑profit projects has been made by Wojtek Siewierski AKA Vifon—an experienced Full‑Stack Developer and IT Administrator, a cybersecurity expert and enthusiast of open‑source technology.


Versatile, open‑source document converter. Created by John MacFarlane, a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and released under the GNU General Public License.

It supports a number of formats, from standard .doc or .pdf to those used by developers, such as: Markdown, org-mode, LaTeX, Jupyter Notebook or HTML. The project author himself points out the tool’s multi-functionality, comparing it to  Swiss Army knife.

“At Sidnet, we use it in our SidPDF software—an internal tool to generate PDFs based on templates. The strength of Pandoc is that even if we need to convert from/to a format that is new to us, the tool probably supports it,”—says our developer.

In addition to many formats, Pandoc can perfectly handle document aspects such as:

  • metadata (title, author, date);
  • footers;
  • tables;
  • lists;
  • subscripts and superscripts;
  • quotations.

You can see the capabilities of Pandoc in the browser demo version.

Marcin Sztrubel (Avalon Foundation beneficiary)

Wojtek’s friend, Marcin Sztrubel, suffers from progressive muscular atrophy. Thanks to the Avalon Foundation, he collects funds for orthopedic equipment and specialist rehabilitation.

When his health and time allowed him, he used to be involved in issues close to people with disabilities. He was a member of the board of the Polish Neuromuscular Diseases Association, which has gathered over a thousand members. He is also the author of over 20(!) blogs in Polish dedicated to people with disabilities, including:

“Last year Marcin broke both legs during rehabilitation, which made his condition much worse as he had to cease all exercise. Because of Marcin’s health, the injury required several surgeries. Right now, he must use a special elevator,”—explains Wojtek.

Marcin is looked after by the Avalon Foundation, which also helps many other people with disabilities and chronic diseases. It acquires funds, activates those under its care during rehabilitation and improves their self‑reliance. It inspires the disabled to play sports through the Avalon Extreme project.