News: Open Source

Innovation and open source software
The appropriateness (or not) of open source in international development and global health is one of my favourite conversations. Despite our large investment in open source and active promotion of it, I still believe that open source can’t yet touch proprietary models for their innovative potential. One of the most innovative technologies I know, the iPhone , is also one of the most proprietary and restrictive. It leaped mobile interface, human...
Adaptability is one of the key benefits of open source software, but it requires investment in capacity building
Cost is not the win it first appears to be to the newcomer to open source. Thankfully, countries appear to be recognizing this. In one country’s recent public sector eHealth workshop, the attendees recommended to the health system leadership that they ‘encourage, coordinate and support’ more use of open source for several reasons. Affordability was the least of them. The real value that countries are seeing in open source is adaptability. The...
IntraHealth OPEN: Building Capacity for Open Source Development
DataDyne’s EpiSurveyor is one of the most usable and adaptable mHealth applications. Whether you are tracking health supplies, ART compliance, or disease incidence, EpiSurveyor can be quickly customized and applied to most health data collection efforts. DataDyne's commitment to Open Source technologies and Open Standards are commendable and essential to the sustainability and adaptability for developing world solutions. Open Source applications...
A Brief Explanation of Open Source
In the early 1980s MIT programmer Richard Stallman decided to build a replacement to the very expensive, proprietary UNIX computer operating system and make it completely free. His idea of what free meant extended the boundaries a bit when he formed the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and included in his mission statement, "availability of source code and freedom to redistribute and modify software are fundamental rights." Out of this the General...
Supporting Health-Related Open Source
In a recent post about Linux distributions and Open Source projects, Celeste Lyn Paul writes: The open source operating system experience exists in pieces, scattered across a world of projects and technologies. Distributions exist because they attempt to create a unified experience from the bits and pieces of open source functionality out in that world, while establishing themselves as a vendor their users can trust. Here, of course, she is...
Measuring and Monitoring the Health Workforce Using Open Source Tools
On April 5, 2008, Dr. Pamela McQuide and Dykki Settle presented their paper "Measuring and Monitoring the Health Workforce using Open Source Tools" at the 2008 Berkeley Conference on the Global Health Workforce: From Evidence and Research to Public and Health Care Industry Policy in Berkeley, California. The other authors of the paper were Rita Matte, Registrar, Nursing Council of Uganda, and Julie Stevens, Graduate Student Intern, University of...
Harnessing Open Source Software in African Healthcare Information Systems
Open Source Software (OSS) is distributed under a license that gives users the freedom to run, study, modify and redistribute the code without restriction. Linux’s operating system, Apache Web server, MySQL database and PHP hypertext processing language are examples of common OSS in use today. OSS can be easily customized to meet specific needs and can be deployed on small and large settings, such as high performance hardware platforms and...
A Global Health Perspective on Open Source
As a registered nurse with years of international experience in social policy and human resources management, I find the prospect of using Open Source systems for health care extremely exciting. Over the years I have seen other types of technology programs in Africa fizzle after projects ended or the funding ran out. An expensive liability is outdated software that cannot be modified or tailored to meet expanding requirements in countries...
Geeks, Suits, and the Case for Open-Source Software
“Am I a geek, or a suit?” I pondered, sitting in a large hall with some thousand others in Victoria, Canada, during the Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G ) conference. The question was posed to me by keynote speaker Damian Conway , PERL enthusiast, frequent speaker at FOSS conferences, and management consultant. I wondered to what extent my fellow conference-goers were pondering the same question. Looking around me at the...
iHRIS under GPLv3
With the iHRIS suite of software we decided from the start that it would be open source. There are many benefits to making a piece of software open source - and many more websites devoted to those reasons. Our main reason was people. We want to empower the people who use iHRIS to be able to do with it what they need to do, not what we allow them to do. With open source the users are given the source code with which they can fix it, modify it,...