Thursday, January 31, 2013

Humanitarian Open Source Software Meeting at Linux Conference

Tim McNamara arranged a well attended meeting of those interested in humanitarian uses of open source software (and hardware) at Linux Conference 2013 in Canberra on Wednesday. The HFOSS BoF (Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Birds of a Feather) was held at the Purple Pickle Cafe on the Australian National University campus (just opposite the College of Engineering and Computer Science: CECS). Topics discussed included: CrisisCommons, mailing list, Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK), Sahana Software Foundation, Ushahidi, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), OpenMRS, RapidSMS, and the Serval Project.

Tim suggested one way organizations could assist is to provide a venue for volunteers to work on projects, especially during a crisis. It occurred to me that perhaps more work needs to be done to address on-line disasters. As we become more dependent on the Internet and telecommunication and as these come under threat from cyber-attack, as well as natural disasters, some form of crisis response is needed. This would provide a surge capacity in a crisis, beyond the resources provided by organizations such as AusCert.

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