This extensive paper funded by the Mellon and Hewlitt foundations (amongst others) is an important read. It looks at the adoption of open source in higher education (in the US) and the need for an organizing body that could address “uncertainty about future support for and improvements in the software” and supply coordination to prevent “wasteful duplication both of development efforts and of governance structures.” Sounds sensible enough, right?
The case made here for adoption of open source in higher ed seems strong and unassailable, and the scope is not just ‘educational’ software like LMS but all aspects of higher ed infrastructure, things like SIS, Library OPACs and Financial Aid systems.
Here’s where my wordy wrestling with the issues would usually go. Too busy. Suffice to say – the issue of ‘freedom’ is as tantamount here as it’s been recently noted elsewhwere, and while my first reaction is to bristle against some of the seemingly artificial constructs these organizations would engender, those might be small concessions compared to the freedoms from commercial licensing fees, patents and the like that I think honestly motivate initiatives like this. – SWL