The recent natural disasters in Haiti have left several people dead and millions more homeless, there are organizations which are helping out in efforts to restore Haiti to normalcy.
Now, another initiative called Software for Haiti has been started out by independent software vendors and developers. The main aim of the initiative is to provide free software licenses to companies which are helping out with the Haiti relief.
SoftwareForHaiti.org is an association of developers and vendors from around the globe who believe in offering their software at no cost to the organizations directly involved in Haiti relief and re-construction. Together, we can help Haiti recover and re-build from this tragic event.
Right now there are 6 software in the catalog, including CloudBerry Online Backup, OpsCentral, RoboMeta, Easy Projects, DBxtra and JetWorksheet. If you are a software vendor who is interested in joining the initiative you can do so by signing up here.
Organizations which are involved in Haiti relief can get the software for free by visiting the catalog page and clicking on the links to the software, which will then take you to instructions on how you can obtain the software for your organization.
The World Bank has managed to pull off an excellent humanitarian relief effort, thanks to open source maps which could help them get an idea of the affected areas. Tom Buckley and Schuyler Erle are the team advising the World Bank on the use crowd-sourced mapping through the Open Source program openstreetmap, which is proving extremely helpful in relief and recovery effort in Haiti.
Erle has remarked on this, saying:
Since mid-January, we’ve seen a whole set of interlocking technical communities swung into gear to piece together geographic information to help relief efforts after the earthquake in Haiti: OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, CrisisMappers, and so on.
Erle is an expert on map making and has authored famous books like Google Maps Hacks. The map was a community driven effort where people from different parts of the world came together to build a map for the affected area from aerial pictures and satellite views. Erle remarks on this, saying:
With basically no one calling the shots, while a thousand people painstakingly build a map database of Haiti drawn from aerial and satellite imagery that’s so detailed that the Ushahidi volunteers have to ask for a simpler version.
This effort has proven that Open Source is all about passion. This time, it was the passion of helping. As for other times, it is always the passion of free and open thinking.
We are all responsible citizens of the world, some fortunate, some not so fortunate. However, there are people who lost their lives in Haiti, for no fault of theirs. It takes huge efforts and pains to rebuild everything. We can’t play a part in giving back their lives to them, but we can play a part in rebuilding the lives of people who will live their lives coming from the disaster.
As a part of our contribution, we will donate the next three days of the revenues from Techie Buzz to Red Cross for the Haiti Relief Fund. If you are a reader who wants to contribute, you can do it at the following sites.
If you feel that you can contribute towards it, feel free to go and donate. We just don’t want to stop and make money out of technology, we want to play a part in helping people who will play a part in shaping it. Hope you do too.