Linux Foundation supports health authorities in containing COVID-19

The newly founded Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative brings together providers of open source technologies to fight the pandemic together.

 Linux Foundation supports public health authorities in containing COVID-19

The Linux Foundation (LF) has partnered with seven technology companies to launch a public health initiative to help public health officials use open-source technologies to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) has founding members Cisco,, Geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent, and VMware, as well as two Linux Foundation-hosted pandemic-related projects (the Canadian project COVID Shield and the project behind the Irish COVID tracker, COVID Green).

The umbrella of the Linux Foundation is to cover the previously scattered open source -Provide initiatives with the necessary organizational framework and know-how so that efforts do not come to nothing. The long-term goal is apparently concerted cooperation between health authorities, epidemiologists, data protection and security experts and leading IT companies. Managing Director of the new organization is Dan Kohn, who can refer to project management experience at CNCF (Kubernetes, Fluentd). The initial focus of the LFPH will be to improve applications that break the chains of infection – for example, by notifying users after contact with infected people.

Some Shopify developers volunteered to create COVID Shield , which is currently used primarily in Canada. COVID Green, on the other hand, was created by a team from NearForm who are helping the Irish Government and Health Authorities in Ireland with their pandemic response. Both programs are based on the Google Apple Exposure Notification System (GAEN). According to the COVID-Green team, around a third of Irish adults have been using this app for two weeks – globally, it has a particularly high level of acceptance. For comparison: The Corona warning app of the RKI, which was developed by SAP and Deutsche Telekom in a decentralized model and is also open source, has so far been downloaded by 16.1 million people (as of July 20, 2020). That corresponds to about 19 percent of the total German population.

The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) is a non-profit organization Organization. It promotes open source technologies for use in public health facilities internationally in order to better contain the current pandemic and future epidemics. Other projects can join the LFPH and make software contributions that health authorities can use to test, track and isolate (potentially) infected people to break infection chains more quickly in the future. The applications developed by members of the initiative will be available to health authorities and their IT partners. Apparently, the first thing on the agenda is the further development of technologies based on the GAEN concept developed by Google and Apple.

Anyone interested can find further information on the website of the newly founded initiative. The developers of the COVID Shield app have created a homepage, and a press release from the Irish health service HSE (Health Service Executive) is available on the initiative of the Linux Foundation Public Health. Information on COVID Green and the source code donation to the Linux Foundation can also be found on the NearForm website.

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