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I'm working at a software consultancy that a has a lot of volunteers available for about a month and a half at a time (when we're between projects and learning things) and we'd like to start contributing to open source projects that have a positive social impact. Any idea which projects we can look at?

The constraints are:

  • Built on a fairly modern language and stack that's suitable for beginners but has wide adoption - Java+Spring+Hibernate / RoR / Groovy+Grails - basically a stack we'd expect to work on in other projects too.

  • Has / aims to have a positive on peoples lives - like Ushahidi, OpenMRS, RapidFTR, FrontlineSMS, etc.

  • Has well defined stories and requirements, or has owners who are willing to work with our analysts to come up with them.

Any ideas?

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You ask, "Any idea which projects we can look at?" and then go about mentioning some of the open sourced social impact project yourself - OpenMRS, RapidFTR, FrontlineSMS etc. Confused! What is it that you are asking for or wanting to know? May you please refine your question. –  karthiks Jul 22 '11 at 17:17
I'm trying to see what other projects fit into that category. Are these the only ones? –  Sudhir Jonathan Jul 23 '11 at 12:44
labs.google.com/… –  Job Jul 25 '11 at 14:58
I do not like the idea of doing charity while on the company's clock. It is bad economics. –  Job Jul 25 '11 at 15:10
@Job: The OP said that the people are volunteers. Therefore it is not a question of good/bad economics (disregarding for the moment that charity is, from a naive viewpoint, always bad economics, but valuable and admirable nonetheless) –  asfallows Jul 25 '11 at 16:16

2 Answers 2

You could look into distributed social networks, like Diaspora or Appleseed. Having monoliths like Facebook or Google controlling our online interactions could/has lead to bad places.

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I am not deeply familiar with the projects promoted there, but https://www.engineeringforchange.org/ aims to offer people an easy way to connect with humanitarian projects in all aspects of engineering - they have a section on 'Info Systems', I suspect that one or more of those projects will fit your interests.

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