Friday, January 19, 2007


FLOSS is a new acronym to me. I'm not sure that it would be allowed in France but it has a certain ring. I believe it translates as Free/Libre Open Source Software.

I have been following the discussions about open source or commercially produced Virtual Learning Environments with some interest. As a student I must admit I was somewhat disappointed by Blackboard, but I suspect my opinion had been rather clouded by my limited but wonderful experiences as a distance learner at the OU.

I have no axe to grind in this discussion. I drift between open source and proprietary software, trying to choose the right software for the job.

Today I came across these two links.
They both point to the same report but from slightly different perspectives.

The BBC report that "Open Source gets European Boost"
the Monkey Bites highlights a "Huge New Study of Free / Open Software."

I am no economist but I suspect there are important arguments here. We all hope that pedagogical arguments lead discussions about choice between open source or commercial VLE
s but experience indicates that the finance department might also be interested in our discussions.

My experience of managing a school budget was that far too often the opinion of accountants determines educational policy. In this case it could just be that the accountants agree with the Open source movement.

A version of this post appeared as a comment at Learning Zone, a University of Glamorgan Blog.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, you know I seriously don't understand why the question is even there. When the open source is giving me all what I need and more with proper and guaranteed support so why should I pay all this money for less quality. I am not even speaking as a developer who was seriously annonyed by blackboard and enjoyed moodle; I am speaking as a neutral user. It is not only an issue for me in the VLE debate, I see it almost everywhere especially with databases too.

    But, then I say ok, if people want to pay money, let them do it ;)