What does ‘open source’ mean for the institutional web manager?

This is being presented by Randy Metcalfe (from OSS Watch)

So – Randy’s key messages:

  • open source is more than just a copyright licensing paradgm
  • no one needs to tell you to use open source software (everyone in the audience showed that they use open source software)
  • good policy helps embed best practice
  • standards, especially open standards, are a good thing
  • pragmatism is also good

OSS Watch provides unbiased advice and guidance on free and open source software for UK HE and FE. It is funded by JISC.

So – what is Open Source?

It is a copyright licensing paradigm. Either your software is released under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) certified licence or it is not open source software (there are many licenses that are certified – GPL being the best well known)

Open Source is related historically to ‘Free software‘ (as Richard Stallman said – free as in free speech, not free beer)

Open Source is also a development methodology.

In October 2003 the open source virtual learning environment Moodle did not register on OSS Watch’s initial national scoping study. By March 2006 56% of FE colleges reported they are using Moodle. An incredibly fast takeup – why? Randy suggests Market Forces.

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