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Open And Humanitarian

ComputerWorldUK - Simon Phipps - Open source software, open hardware and crowd-sourced innovation are the key to a new project intended to design clever, low cost data gathering tools for relief efforts.

When we think of open source, the ancient saying that our achievements arise only because we stand on the shoulders of giants is often validated. Apple's huge success is in large part because it has been able to use so much open source software, albeit giving very little back to the commons (as is their corporate style); Microsoft, IBM and most others owe big slices of their product portfolio to their ability to build on open source precursors rather than to reinvent the basics.

While such commercial examples may spring to mind readily, open source is also having enormous impact in allowing humanitarian activities to start aloft giant shoulders rather than needing to painstakingly build from the ground upwards - the Sahana Software Foundation epitomises this. For aid and relief organisations, open source is as important for providing access to innovation and technology as it is for reducing costs.