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ERIC Number: EJ850637
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
Is There Such a Thing as Free Software? The Pros and Cons of Open-Source Software
Trappler, Thomas J.
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v32 n2 2009
Today's higher education environment is marked by heightened accountability and decreased budgets. In such an environment, no higher education institution can afford to ignore alternative approaches that could result in more effective and less costly solutions. Open-source software (OSS) can serve as a viable alternative to traditional proprietary software (PS), but to ensure that OSS is selected and deployed effectively requires: (1) Understanding the OSS licensing model; (2) Knowing how to determine when it makes sense to use OSS; and (3) Managing OSS use effectively. This article summarizes some of the key issues to evaluate when considering implementing an OSS solution. The approaches outlined in this article have been crafted to meet the needs of a decentralized institution like the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The use of OSS can have implications that extend beyond the purview of the IT organization. Engaging other key institutional stakeholders, including software licensing, intellectual property, and legal experts early in the process can be essential to a successful implementation. Throughout this article, the author has interspersed tables comparing attributes common to all software but in which OSS and PS differ. The pros and cons of both OSS and PS vary by product. Linux is very different from a nascent OSS product, just as Microsoft Windows is very different from a PS start-up's new product. For this reason, the information in these tables includes some generalizations. (Contains 8 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California