Open Source in Higher Education


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A presentation delivered at the 2008 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference, Biloxi, Mississippi, February 8, 2008

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Open Source in Higher Education

  1. 1. Open Source in Higher Education Steve C. Yuen, Ph.D. Professor The University of Southern Mississippi and Patrivan K. Yuen Technical Services/Systems Librarian William Carey University 2008 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference, Biloxi, February 8, 2008
  2. 2. Content What is Open Source? Open Source Movement Open Source Software Using Open Source Software in Higher Education Implications of Open Source Resources
  3. 3. What is Open-Source? Software programs that are distributed with the source code. Code is available for all to see. Code may be modified by anyone. Modifications must be shared. Licensed under an approved Open Source license. Well-known open-source projects include the Linux OS, the Apache Web server, and the Firefox browser.
  4. 4. Open Source Definition 1. Free Redistribution 2. Source Code 3. Derived Works 4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor 7. Distribution of License 8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product 9. The License Must Not Restrict Other Software 10. The License must be technology-neutral
  5. 5. Open Source Movement MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Yale Open Courses OER Commons, Curriki – Open Educational Resources OpenCourseWare Consortium Wikipedia – Online Encyclopedias Project Gutenberg – Online Collections Linux, Ubuntu, Edubuntu – Operating Systems Firefox, Opera – Web Browsers OpenOffice, GIMP – Open Source Software
  6. 6. What Are NOT Open Source? Public domain – A software author who chooses to release his or her software into the public domain surrenders the copyright. Other people can then use the author’s work as they see fit. Freeware – Open Source software is also different from “freeware” software. In freeware, the developer offers a standard license, but does not give access to source code or the right to make derivative works.
  7. 7. Open Source Licenses It is not freeware and it is not public domain Three Main License Branches – GNU General Public License (GPL) Requires derivate works to fall under the GPL. – Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Does not require derivate works to fall under the BSD license – Licenses created by commercial companies that decided to release part of their application as Open Source.
  8. 8. Why Teachers Like Open Source? Cost Escape from license management and audits Peer support and collaboration Security Flexibility Reliability Challenge and ownership of problems Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. NETC Circuit: Open Source Software Means More Choices.
  9. 9. Portable Applications on USB Flash Drives Convenience, safe, easy to use, and self- contained applications. Carry programs and personal preferences anywhere, anytime, on almost any computer. Have your email and instant messaging accounts, bookmarks, log-on passwords, and document templates available on any computer. Carry enough applications to serve as a personal office on the road. Access programs on any computer with no trace behind. Run entirely from the USB drive without installation.
  10. 10. Samples of Open Source Software
  11. 11. Linux One of the most prominent examples of open source development. The Linux systems were completed by combining the kernel with system utilities and libraries from the GNU project, which led to the coining of the term GNU/Linux. Predominantly known for its use in servers. Linux is packaged for different uses in Linux distributions, which contain the kernel along with a variety of other software packages tailored to requirements.
  12. 12. Apache Web server Apache has been the most popular HTTP server on the Web since April 1996. Apache served 58% of all websites as of March 2007.
  13. 13. Moodle A course management system. Designed to help educators create online courses with opportunities for rich interaction. Multi-language support (over 60 languages are supported for the interface). Run on Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, NetWare and any other systems that support PHP.
  14. 14. Sakai A course management system. Include features such as document distribution, gradebook, discussion, live chat, assignment uploads, and online testing. Also include a wiki, mailing list distribution and archiving, and a RSS reader. Can be used as a collaborative tool for research and group projects.
  15. 15. Joomla A course management system written with PHP and using the MySQL database. Include features such as page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, website searching, and language internationalization.
  16. 16. Claroline A course management system. Create and administer courses and collaboration spaces through the web. Used in almost 80 countries and is available in more than 30 languages. Compatible with GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. It is based on free technologies like PHP and MySQL.
  17. 17. phpBB A popular Internet forum package written in the PHP programming language. Provide templates for easy customization. Multilingual support – 64 languages
  18. 18. Elgg An open source social networking platform developed for LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). Offer blog, networking, community, file storage, RSS aggregation, personal profiles, and file sharing features. Everything can be shared among users with access controls and everything can be cataloged by tags as well. Can be setup to integrate with MediaWiki, Moodle, Drupal, and WebCT.
  19. 19. Curriki Global Education & Learning Community. Open source curriculum (OSC) development that provide universal access to free curricula and instructional materials for K-12. Empower educators to become an active community in the creation of world-class curricula.
  20. 20. Internet Applications Firefox – Web browser Thunderbird – Email client NVU – Web authoring tool FileZilla – FTP and secure FTP Gaim – Instant messaging client Download at []
  21. 21. Firefox Full-featured Web browser. Available for Windows, Mac., and Linux/UNIX. Include popup-blocking, tabbed-browsing, integrated search, improved privacy features, automatic updating. Portable version allows you to leave no personal information behind on the machine you run it on, so you can take your bookmarks, extensions and saved passwords with you wherever you go.
  22. 22. Firefox
  23. 23. Thunderbird Easy to use email client. Available for Windows, Mac., and Linux/UNIX. Include quick message search, customizable views, support for IMAP/POP and RSS support.
  24. 24. Thunderbird
  25. 25. NVU Available for Windows, Mac., & Linux/UNIX. A complete Web Authoring System that combines file management and WYSIWYG Web page editing. Integrated file management via FTP. Can jump between WYSIWYG Editing Mode and HTML using tabs. Tabbed editing to make working on multiple pages. Support for forms, tables, and templates. Download at []
  26. 26. NVU
  27. 27. FileZilla A fast and reliable FTP client. Available for Windows and Linux/UNIX. Support resume on both downloads and uploads, timeout detection, firewall support, SOCKS4/5 and HTTP1.1 support, SSL and SFTP. Drag and drop interface.
  28. 28. FileZilla
  29. 29. Gaim A multi-protocol instant messaging client that works with AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo. For Windows only. Log into multiple networks with the same program. All your IM settings and buddy lists are self- contained, so it leaves no personal information behind on the machine.
  30. 30. Gaim
  31. 31. PuTTY A telnet and SSH client for Windows, along with an xterm terminal emulator. Securely connect to your systems while on the go. For Windows only
  32. 32. Open Office Multilingual office suite. Available for Windows, Mac. and Linux/UNIX. A full-featured office suite that's compatible with Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, Lotus and other office applications. Include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing package & database. Download at []
  33. 33. OpenOffice - Writer
  34. 34. OpenOffice - Calc
  35. 35. OpenOffice - Impress
  36. 36. OpenOffice - Draw
  37. 37. OpenOffice - Base
  38. 38. OpenOffice - Math
  39. 39. AbiWord Portable word processing program. For Windows and Mac. Read and write a number of document types including Microsoft Word, Word Perfect,, RTF, HTML, and Palm. Download at []
  40. 40. Scribus A professional page layout program Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows Feature quot;press-readyquot; output and support professional publishing features such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and PDF creation. Download at [] [www.
  41. 41. Sunbird A standalone calendaring and task management application. Available for Windows and Linux/UNIX. Keep your calendar and tasks up-to-date. Leave no personal information behind on the machine you run it on. Download at []
  42. 42. Sunbird
  43. 43. PDF Creator Creates PDFs from any Windows program. A printer driver that creates Adobe Acrobat files from any applications. Create more than just PDFs: PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS. Offer a multitude of options for controlling the output, including the ability to password-protect PDF files to limit users’ ability to print, copy, or modify the documents. Download at []
  44. 44. PDF Creator
  45. 45. Sumatra PDF A PDF viewer for Windows. A minimalistic design. It's small and starts up very fast. Download at []
  46. 46. GIMP GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an image editing software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Available for Windows, Mac., and Linux/UNIX. Can be used as a paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, and an image format converter, etc. Download at []
  47. 47. GIMP
  48. 48. Blender A 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Download at []
  49. 49. Audacity An easy-to-use audio editor and recorder. Available for Windows, Mac., and Linux/UNIX. Record live audio. Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs. Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files. Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together. Change the speed or pitch of a recording. Download at []
  50. 50. Audacity
  51. 51. VLC Player A portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) and DVDs, VCDs. Can be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high- bandwidth network. Available for Windows, Mac., and Linux/UNIX. Download at []
  52. 52. MediaCoder An universal audio/video batch transcoder. Convert for audio/video portable devices (digital audio player, MP4 player, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, VCD/DVD player etc.) Extract audio tracks from video files. Rip audio/video discs. For Windows only Download at []
  53. 53. 7-Zip A file archiver (compression) utility for Windows. Compress 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR files and more on the go. Download at []
  54. 54. KeePass Password Safe A password manager for Windows. Put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key- disk. The databases are encrypted using the secure encryption algorithms. Download at []
  55. 55. ClamWin A Standalone Virus Scanner for Windows. High detection rates for viruses and spyware. Update virus databases. Download at []
  56. 56. TrueCrypt Disk encryption software for Windows and Linux. Encrypt an entire hard disk partition or a storage device such as USB flash drive. Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent. Download at []
  57. 57. InfraRecorder CD/DVD burning solution for Windows. Create custom data, audio and mixed-mode projects and record them to physical discs as well as disc images. Support recording to dual- layer DVDs. Record disc images (ISO and BIN/CUE) Download at []
  58. 58. A CD-ROM created by Help students get free software programs without paying the high price of commercial software Available for both Mac and Windows platforms. Most of the software programs in the CD-ROM are open source and few of them are obtained and distributed by permission. Software are arranged in 13 categories: Art & Graphics, Astronomy & Space, Computer Science, Games, Internet, Keyboarding, Mathematics, Multimedia, Office, Publishing, Security, Studying, and Utility. Download free at
  59. 59. Open Disc A collection of high quality open source software for Windows The Open Disc CD-ROM contains 39 software tools in 6 categories: – Design – Games – Internet – Multimedia – Productivity – Utilities
  60. 60. Open Source in Higher Education Open the door to a worldwide community of expert software. Encourage the development of 21th century skills for students. Allow students legal hacking, manipulate, customize, and improve open source applications Allow teachers to work collaboratively within a global community toward the end of improving a product for the good of all. Free schools of a dependency on expensive commercial software. Keep students from pirating software and violating proprietary licensing agreements. Allow students, teachers, administrators, and parents to exchange electronic documents. Minimize cost and allow funding to be diverted to equipment and other programs.
  61. 61. Possible Roadblocks Unfamiliarity, fear, or lack of experience. Training or re-training costs. Integration with existing technology can be difficult. Certain applications or “killer apps” aren’t open source. Comfort of using name brands (i.e., Microsoft domination). Inertia or resistance to change. Migration problems. Misconception and misinformed about Open Source. Lack of coherent technology plan or vision. Software vendor attitudes. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. NETC Circuit: Open Source Software Means More Choices.
  62. 62. Suggestions Don’t use Open Source unless – Good needs assessment – Thorough planning – Stakeholder involvement Administrators Teachers, staff Students, parents Community, etc. – Aware of the implications
  63. 63. Steps to a Smooth Open Source Transition 1. Convene a committee representative of teachers, administrators, and office staff and share the problem with them. 2. Get buy-in on beginning with a familiar basic application open source tool, such as OpenOffice, which can be easily shared and includes a clipart library. 3. Prioritize the different solutions. Have the members keep a blog or journal of what they experiencing. 4. Survey all stakeholders. Focus on function and need rather than product. Guhlin, M. (2007). The case for open source. Technology & Learning, 27(7), 16-21.
  64. 64. Steps to a Smooth Open Source Transition 5. Maintain regular communication via newsletters and a Web page. Disseminate committee findings and keep stakeholders abreast over time of funds saved and how they've been redirected to worthy projects that directly impact students, teachers, and community. 6. Create quick reference cards for the open source solutions you choose. Also train your help desk. 7. Set up training and offer to do on-site demonstrations for teachers. Also setup a FAQ page online to help train everyone. 8. Make CDs of the software available for people who do not have a high-speed Internet connection at home, including parents of district students. Guhlin, M. (2007). The case for open source. Technology & Learning, 27(7), 16-21.
  65. 65. Implications of Open Source The power of openness holds tremendous potential, and not just in the software arena. A wave of change is headed for schools. It involves a different way of valuing individual contributions by students, teachers, and administrators. Open source invites us all to share our expertise. Open the door to a worldwide community of expert software Guhlin, M. (2007). The case for open source. Technology & Learning, 27(7), 16-21.
  66. 66. Resources
  67. 67. The End Questions or Comments? Thank You for Attending Our session! This presentation is available on the Web at: