An accurate, up to the minute, accessible medical record system is fundamental to effective treatment and tracking of the Ebola virus. But how to create this type of system in the rudimentary, overwhelmed Ebola care centers of West Africa where paper records or computers—even if they were available—couldn't be carried in and out of treatment areas?
As Ebola surged in resource-constrained Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in the fall of 2014, the ingenious concept of a tablet computer usable by individuals in bulky protective gear and encased in polycarbonate enabling simple and repeated disinfection was developed and implemented by Google and Doctors Without Borders teams, solving the hardware part of the problem.
But what software to use on the specialized tablets and on the server where critical information is stored? Enter the OpenMRS community, who drives the world's largest open source project to develop health information technology for resource-constrained environments.
One of the most important, yet unsung, applications in a software developer’s life is the Make utility, or its equivalent. Make first appeared in 1977 and has been with us ever since. There are a very large number of build utilities, some based on Make, others completely different. The principle remains the same. The build system has a set of rules that tell it how to build an application from source files, usually fetched from a version control system. The Make utility reads the rules, then runs the compilers and linkers to do the build. The really good ones will run tests, as well.
Google has been using their own system, called Blaze, and open-sourced part of it as the anagrammatically named Bazel — recently released at alpha status. In this article I’ll give a general overview of Bazel.
Developers Peter Ivanov, Alex Raikov, and I came up with the idea for Microweber about five years ago, when we were all having problems building sites with the existing solutions.
Microweber aims to take the complexity out of building a website, online shop, or blog, through a combination of drag-and-drop UI and real-time, WYSIWYG site edits.
From the beginning, it's been an open source project. The earliest versions were licensed under GPL, but we switched to Apache License version 2.0 to allow the developers to protect their work and have commercial merits.
Another example of open source: You wouldn’t buy a car with the hood welded shut, so why do we buy proprietary software? If you can’t see what’s going on and see what’s happening under the hood then you’re stuck with the car exactly the way it is and that might not be so great. While some people are fine with that, computer geeks shouldn’t be. We should want to get in there and tinker with it.
In December 2014, Intel revealed that it had been working with Professor Stephen Hawking to create a new system to help him communicate and interact with the world around him. In an unprecedented move, the company also announced that it would be opening up the platform to the international research community so that it could be adapted for the three million people suffering from motor neurone disease and quadriplegia.
"As we started to work on this, we realised that we could also impact a larger group of people," says Lama Nachman, speaking at WIRED Health in London about developing the platform.
According to a new study that was discussed today, April 23, in a committee meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, a group of IT security experts think that the European Union should finance key open source projects that strengthen privacy and security, and configure certification schemes for fundamental open source tools.