Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS)

Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS), or sometimes called Humanitarian FOSS, describes software projects that meet a social need in areas such as health care, economic development, disaster management, ecology, and education. 


Research indicates that involvement in computing that benefits humankind is motivating, especially to women. Read some of the research supporting HFOSS project work.

Why HFOSS Projects?

The focus of most HFOSS communities is on “doing good”. Therefore these communities tend to have a supportive and helpful environment that is conducive to student learning. 

National Science Foundation (NSF) Interest in HFOSS

NSF has funded four grants as of January 2017 related to student participation in HFOSS projects. 

  • HFOSS Research – studies on HFOSS project work in undergraduate CS/SE courses
  • HFOSS Projects  – find an HFOSS project that welcomes student work