irrigating Senegal with free software

It’s the kind of day on the Holloway Road that rappers get mawkish about. So, obviously, time for some blogging about open-source software for the public sector. I’m hugely impressed by the contestants in the SourceForge Community Contest, specifically the ones in the Government category. There’s Trisano, a free epidemic surveillance system for public health officials. Think you’re going to cook up squid flu in your shed and the sclerotic processes of Government 3-G can’t do a thing? Think again.

In case that doesn’t work, there’s Sahana, the open-source disaster management application that works either as a network or as a standalone application. It’s apparently been used from Galveston to China via New Orleans and is “pre-deployed” in New York – not only have they got the disaster software, they’ve even got disasters that haven’t happened yet.

And there’s the simply named Medical, an open-source healthcare information system, which is certain to be much less bad than whatever code-glob the Department of Health, Cerner, and BT eventually excrete onto the NHS. But my favourite, and the one I voted for, was Agepabase, a French-speaking GIS devised by the Senegalese government to plan the construction of water supplies.

I’m awed by the innovation and commitment., and ashamed by all the shite I’ve produced over the years. There is nothing at all like it in the other categories; if you don’t count the RepRap, that is, which you ought to vote for in its own slot.

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