Monthly Archives: January 2010

SourceForge abandons Open Source idea and its community

Once upon a time SourceForge.net used to be the biggest and most popular platform for Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in the world. Just in the field of medical FOSS they hosted more than 900 projects and in total more than 230,000 projects. People from all around the world could search for projects of interest, collaboratively develop them via the platform, seek for support or just download the source code or precompiled binaries.

SourceForge.net - former FOSS platform

This is now all gone. According to their recent blog post “Clarifying SourceForge.net’s denial of site access for certain persons in accordance with US law” they disallowed users from ‘rogue states’ to interact with their platform and since last week they are also automatically blocking any IP (visitor) from certain countries including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

It appears really strange to me that they still show phrases like “Find and develop Open Source software” or “SourceForge is your location to download and develop free Open Source software.” on their front page. I am not yet sure if they should add the note “… in case you are from a ‘good’ country” or better remove the term “Open”.

At least it is clear that it is not Open Source anymore what they are doing as they are infringing two of the most crucial principles of the Open Source Definition which read like this:

  • 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.”
  • 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor: The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.”

SourceForge seems not to be familiar with these and is blocking users to comply with the US law … and hell yes, the US is the country whose Secretary of State recently gave a widely honored speech about Internet Freedom.

Happily there are dozens of other real FOSS portals/platforms where you can now move to and host your FOSS project while preserving the original idea of Open Source.

Articles about this in German are available at golem.de and netzpolitik.org.

Open Source Software supporting emergency care efforts in Haiti

Just another post about this region, but from a bit different perspective … and this one is meant especially for those who are still thinking that Open Source software in the area of health care is a useless toy for computer fetishists and far from being deployed in a productive clinical environment.

OpenMRS - an Open Source EMR system

Since the beginning of 2003 the Bosten-based Partners in Health (PIH) rolled out a web-based EMR to primarily track HIV patient within Haiti. Meanwhile the system was replaced by the FOSS EMR software OpenMRS and is deployed in 9-10 PIH hospitals spread over Haiti (and by the way more than 20 countries worldwide). Luckily these hospitals are networked via satellite links, so still online after all other systems went down after the earthquake. Only an instance of the system which was used in a now destroyed hospital of the Médicins Sans Frontières directly in Port-au-Prince seems not to be at service anymore.

According to Hamish Fraser, director of informatics and telemedicine for PIH, OpenMRS served before the current crisis more than 14,000 patient records and is now used to “… generate reports for the government and funders and make lab data available to the physicians and medication lists for the pharmacists. We also built a drug supply management tool to track all the medications in our main warehouse and our 10 hospitals.” as Fraser said in an interview with the Healthcare IT News.

Surely FOSS will not play a keyrole in the relief efforts, but still provide considerable means to support medical care for the Haitian people. Also take a look at Fred Trotters article “OpenMRS shines in Haiti” who originally pointed me to this.

PIH welcomes any donations to support their efforts in Haiti.

Freemedsw – Stats and More

As freemedsw.apfelkraut.org is now online for more than two years (2nd anniversary 2010/01/12), it is again time for a ranking of the most popular Open Source projects for the health care sector.

Meanwhile more than 130 active projects are listed in 21 categories and I still (!) appreciate your help in case you find a broken link, incorrect information or you just have improvement suggestions. Please send me a message or leave a comment. You can submit change requests or new projects via a form which is available here.

Congratulations to the ClearHealth Inc. and its contributors for the popularity of their project ClearHealth!

Continue reading Freemedsw – Stats and More

Haiti: Spenden, aber bitte nicht zweckgebunden!

In Hollywood liefern sich Stars wie Brangelina, Schorsch Clooney und Wyclef Jean derzeit ein wahres Wettrennen und übertrumpfen sich gegenseitig mit Geldspenden und Spendenaufrufen (z.B. Yéle Haiti!) für die Erdbebenopfer in Haiti.

Auch hierzulande und auch nur als Ottonormalbürger kann man durch Spenden – egal welcher Höhe – die Hilfsorganisationen bei der Soforthilfe und beim Wiederaufbau unterstützen. Möglichkeiten gibt es genug, so hat zum Beispiel das DZI eine Spenden-Info “Erdbeben in Haiti 2010” in Form einer Liste mit seriösen und unterstützenswerten Organisationen zusammengestellt.

Unicef.de Aber Vorsicht! Reicht man die Spende zweckgebunden (Verwendungszweck: “Für Haiti”) ein, so darf diese vom Empfänger auch nur aussschließlich für den angegebenen Zweck eingesetzt werden.

Das Leid und Elend von Menschen in anderen Regionen der Welt ändert sich aber – trotz der aktuell großen Medienpräsenz von Haiti – nicht. Und spendet man dieses Jahr dann wirklich auch noch ein weiteres Mal speziell für diese (anderen) Mitmenschen in Not?

Die Gefahr besteht, dass ähnlich wie beim Tsunami 2004, der Katastrophe eine Spendenflut folgt, die nur zweckgebunden eingesetzt werden kann und dabei andere, ebenfalls wichtige Projekte der Hilfsorganisationen – trotz vorhandener Mittel – leer ausgehen.

Deshalb am besten nicht zweckgebunden spenden und darauf vertrauen, dass die ausgewählte Hilfsorganisation die Unterstützung denjenigen zukommen lässt, die sie am dringensten benötigen.

Google vs. China

Google.cn
Good Google?! (image by bonnae)

Hey … the news and blogosphere are full of praise after Google announced that they are considering to discontinue their Chinese business (Google.cn) if they still have to censor search results and to reveal critical privacy information of dissidents to be compliant with Chinese domestic policy.

It is just hard to imagine that Google now suddenly cares more about human rights than about their own wallet. I like more the way how Evgeny Morozov puts it in his post “Doubting the sincerity of Google’s threat” [via netzpolitik.org]:

“Google was in need of some positive PR to correct its worsening image (especially in Europe, where concerns about privacy are mounting on a daily basis). Google.cn is the goat that would be sacrificed, for it will generate most positive headlines and may not result in devastating losses to Google’s business (Google.cn holds roughly 30 percent of the Chinese market).”

So in the end it is still all about the wallet … but ok, Ethan Zuckerman has a maybe more neutral view about the motives in his post “Four possible explanations for Google’s big China move”.

If Google really takes it seriously, I am just curious how long we will have Google.de here in Germany after these alarming developments

Until now apfelkraut.org is still accessible from within Germany, but as I have quite some occurrences of the terms “open” and “free” on this page, I was wondering (like Horatiorama did) if my site can be reached from behind the Great Firewall: Positive, according to just-ping.com and websitepulse.com it is not blocked. So happily at least I do not have to rethink my Chinese business …

[image taken from bonnae]