ERIC Number: EJ842679
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Panettieri, Joseph C.
Campus Technology, v20 n8 p37-38, 40, 42-43 Apr 2007
This article discusses open source projects which may free universities from expensive, rigid commercial software. But will the rewards outweigh the potential risks? The Kuali Project involves multiple universities writing and sharing code for their financial and operational systems. Another, the Sakai Project, is a community source platform for academic teaching and course management. Kuali and Sakai are bold initiatives that could free universities from rigid commercial software that's often expensive to acquire and maintain. But the journey to open source freedom also includes numerous risks. While commercial software has a support network including thousands of hardware, software, and integration partners, niche open source projects may involve only a few hundred--or even a few dozen--software developers worldwide. Still, more and more universities are seeing the upside of open source. In fact, many universities are deploying or evaluating open source databases, e-mail systems, and business applications. Even voice over IP (VoIP) hardware and call management systems increasingly leverage open source software known as Asterisk. Kuali and Sakai are unique, however, in that they are designed "for" universities, "by" universities. Unlike traditional, loosely organized open source projects which can involve the random contributions of programmers from across the world and which can cause problems related to communications, project priorities, cultural issues, etc., the Kuali and Sakai projects have formal, organized teams stretched across multiple universities, with clearly defined responsibilities and goals.
Descriptors: Management Systems, Computer Software, Higher Education, Universities, Databases, Electronic Mail, Shared Resources and Services, Partnerships in Education, Technology Integration, Internet
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Washington