Salvatore Iaconesi’s Open Source Cure


Salvatore Iaconesi is known as an engineer, teacher, hacker, artist, and open source supporter. But from today on he will also be known as something else: a cancer victim.

Open Format

One of Salvatore’s brain scans

When Salvatore got his diagnosis, the natural first response was to start searching for a cure. He requested copies of his medical records from his doctors with the intent on distributing them as widely as possible, which is when he ran into a problem: his medical data was wrapped up in closed proprietary formats.

Wanting to put his information into a format that could be easily downloaded and viewed by everyone who cared to look at it, he did what any self respecting hacker would do, he converted them all to standard file formats and made them publicly available via his website. As Salvatore notes, the response in just 24 hours has been extremely encouraging. Two doctors have taken a look at this information in their free time, without any special equipment or software, and were able to give him advice on what his next steps should be.

Open Cure

Salvatore intends to post up all of the information he receives from various medical professionals about his condition up on the site, with the hopes that peer review can focus in on the best course of action. In addition, Salvatore hopes the site can become a resource for other people diagnosed with the disease, so that the information gained can be a resource for more people than just himself. An open cure, created from open data.

Of course, not everyone who hears about Salvatore’s story will have the medical expertise to look at his brain scans and recommend a course of action. In reality, only a tiny few will be able to directly help Salvatore with his cancer. What can the rest of the community do to help?

To those people, the hackers and the makers out there that want to show their support, Salvatore has the following message:

CURE, in different cultures, means different things.

There are cures for the body, for spirit, for communication.

Grab the information about my disease, if you want, and give me a CURE: create a video, an artwork, a map, a text, a poem, a game, or try to find a solution for my health problem.

Artists, designers, hackers, scientists, doctors, photographers, videomakers, musicians, writers. Anyone can give me a CURE.

Create your CURE using the content which you find in theDATI/DATA section here on this site, and send it to

All CURES will be displayed here.

The message is simple. Take the information that Salvatore has made available to the public and use it. Turn this data that would have otherwise been locked up into something new and creative. It won’t be able to cure Salvatore’s disease, but it will spread the message that the open source mentality works and can have a real and positive benefit on society.

Source | My Open Source Cure

Everyone here at “The Powerbase” wishes Salvatore the absolute best, and respect his courage and clarity of thought in these difficult times. Good luck, Salvatore. 

About Tom Nardi

Tom is a Network Engineer with focus on GNU/Linux and open source software. He is a frequent submitter to "2600", and maintains a personal site of his projects and areas of research at: .