These are my notes and some of the thoughts behind a presentation on open source that I will be giving in Moncton on Wednesday June 9th. The link shows my four points that I have promised to present.
I have only been seriously looking at open source and all of its ramifications since last September, when I started to post information for my clients and colleagues. Any comments or feedback would be greatly appreciated. If anyone is planning on attending, you can see here if it will be worth your while. of course, some changes will be made to this outline in the next few days.
What is open source software?
According to Wikipedia, an open-content online dictionary open source software ?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨?ï¿½generally is any computer software whose source code is either in the public domain or, more commonly, is copyrighted by one or more persons/entities and distributed under an open-source license such as the GNU General Public License (GPL). Such a license may require that the source code be distributed along with the software, and that the source code be freely modifiable, with at most minor restrictions, such as a requirement to preserve the authors’ names and copyright statement in the code, a concept known as copyleft.?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½ï¿½
According to The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999), "Markets are conversations." and "People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products." Read the other 94 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto and then look at World of Ends (2003), which states that "The Internet’s Three Virtue are – 1. No one owns it 2. Everyone can use it 3. Anyone can improve it.
Building once, and selling to many at no additional cost, is a model for making money, but not a model for innovation. Unfortunately, this is the model for proprietary software development. The Internet has enabled enormous collaboration opportunities, at minimal cost. I believe that interconnected people and organizations can work together in sharing their know-how at a reasonable price, without huge software license fees eating most of the budget.
Technogy should enable innovation, not stifle it.
The Business Case for Open Source
Information technology infrastructure should not be the largest cost of any human performance or learning project.
It is not your technology that gives you a competitive advantage but your company’s strategy, leadership and the talent of your workforce.
Licensing from a trusted collaborative partner saves money and leaves the technology open to further development.
By driving down the cost of software or content, the open source model frees capital for other projects, thereby fostering innovation.
Most of the market leading products in the learning content management space (and other enterprise applications) are so costly that many organizations cannot pay the price of admission. Let’s face it, most organizations do not need a space shuttle to go to their mailbox.
What Others Have to Say
A recent article on The Myths of Open Source in CIO Magazine, stated that open source is not really about free software. Open Source is about standards, like internet protocol, which enable collaborative development. By giving access to source code, new applications can be developed quickly and collaboratively. If your organisation needs to collaborate, you probably need open source.
In April 2003, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) urged the Canadian Treasury Board to support the use of open source and open standards. CATA believes that open source ?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨?ï¿½provides a foundation for lowering costs while increasing stability, scalability and security. This change in procurement strategy [by the Canadian government] provides an opportunity for our members to capture new markets?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½ï¿½.
Focusing on Open Source allows a consulting services company to have discussions with clients focused on solving pressing problems while presenting broad options to the economic buyer.
Proprietary software development is usually controlled by a single company, with clear business objectives. Sometimes these objectives do not align with the overall market need. For instance, a proprietary software company was recently asked if its new application would be available in another language. A group of potential users even volunteered to do the translation, but the company was not interested. If this application was Open Source, the users could have gone ahead and translated the application presentation layer. Open Source applications can spread to marginal markets, such as developing countries, very quickly.
Here is an example of a business model, based on a for-profit cooperative, aimed at reducing members’ dependence on IT vendors. Project Avalanche is a cooperative which serves the technology needs of a wide variety of companies. The members pay an annual fee and share software, intellectual property, and further development costs. The business structure and legal framework also mean that members have a secure right to the use of any collaboratively-developed software. Analyst, Patricia Seybold says, ?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨?ï¿½By sharing, evolving, and managing the quality control of each other?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½Ñ¢s software – software that is destined for deployment in large enterprise applications – and sharing best practices and other IP, corporate developers will be able to move much faster at lower cost. Project Avalanche is also a needed whack in the side of the head for today?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½Ñ¢s commercial software companies?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½it will give them lots of opportunities both to be more competitive and more coop-erative. That?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½Ñ¢s a good thing.?ï¿½ï¿½Ç¨ï¿½ï¿½
Open Source Learning Applications
Screenshots and quick explanations here.
Demonstrations I will provide:
A quick overview for those who have never heard of the Creative Commons.
CC = somewhere between no rights reserved, and all rights reserved
Basic CC License Components
Other Commons Licenses:
Public Domain (not really a license)
CC-GNU-GPL and CC-GNU-LGPL (for software)
Recombo (for creative mixing)
Founders’ Copyright (as originally intended, for 14 years)
Also will explain iCommons Canada