There is a darkness in the ruins of New Orleans the likes of which living Americans have never seen.
It is a darkness born of hurricane, poor planning, and—inland from the Gulf coast—the slow realization of just how horrid the situation really was.
The OSSI (Open Source Software Institute), which is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., and at the Stennis Space Center, is calling for donations to the Red Cross.
Its a good idea. The Red Cross and other worthy, legitimate charity organizations need your help. Trying to make the Katrina disaster better will take more than state governments and the federal government—its going to take all of us.
Sadly, even as I write this, I have received more than a dozen e-mails trying to trick me into giving money to some of the most disgusting people on earth with their fake charity Web sites. My fellow writer Evan Schuman has some good ideas on how to separate the good from the bad.
There is, however, also a unique charity effort going on, Public Web Stations, which builds on Linuxs unique strength as an operating system that can run on almost any hardware.
The plan is simple: Supply the hardware, software, labor and know-how needed to set up sites where people can connect via the Internet with Katrina survivors.