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CIO  February 2004

CIO February 2004

Subject:

Re: Technology Development Co-op

From:

Michael Sherer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Feb 2004 10:33:17 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (170 lines)

A few comments in response Alfred Essa's reply:

I've been watching the Open Source community for a long time, and
Caravel and the technology development co-op fill what I perceive to be
significant gap:

The major open source projects are typically funded by large
corporations, large universities, large granting agencies or some
combination of the three.  Minor open source projects often have a
motivated single individual donating time or a small consulting company
generating income off consulting, support and development services.
The gap is in the small college, K12, non-profit space--the folks who
are too small to ask for help, too small to get a major grant.  Their
needs are not necessarily small, but their resources and available time
typically are.

My second observation is that Goshen College is a small college, but we
spend $80,000/year on web service development and maintenance.  If I
could find even a small number of similar institutions willing to pool
resources developing on a common framework toward a common agenda, we
could get an incredible amount more done. Neither the OSS community nor
higher ed has really addressed that level of collaboration yet (Sakai
is probably the closest), but I want to try.

I've looked at Sakai and uPortal and they are great projects.  You
might say I want to do Sakai for the PHP world, which I think is more
approachable for small institutions than Java. One observation about
uPortal--there appears to be a for-profit consulting firm at the heart
of it that sells uPortal add-ons. When I looked at what value-added
functionality was available for uPortal through the community, I was
pretty underwhelmed. There was almost nothing besides the core
framework (am I missing something?).  So, I'm not sure that what I'm
proposing is radically different than what's going on in the uPortal
project. I want a vibrant Open Source CMS/framework with lots of
community support, and I want  co-ops that work on the high-end
vertical functionality (that may not be of interest to people outside a
particular community), and help underwrite the core OSS project.

If I can find enough interest, I'll write a Mellon Grant, but I also
think the Open Source community needs to find other community-based
funding mechanisms and I think co-ops could be a very important
strategy.  Perhaps a way of addressing the need to induce people to be
in and stay in the co-op while staying truly open source would be to
have a time period after which co-op produced code was GPL'd, say after
two years.

On the differentiation question vs other open source CMS's:
o  Most OSS CMS's are single site-oriented, Caravel is designed to
handle thousands of sites
o  Most CMS's store metadata in relational databases, Caravel stores
metadata in OpenLDAP (a hierarchical database) for scalability reasons,
which also handles replication and load balancing.
o  Caravel is multi-platform, not Windows-only
o  Caravel is very close to WYSIWYG, using page layout software as its
paradigm
o  Caravel is written in PHP (I'm only aware of MidGard as a comparable
product in the PHP space)
o  Caravel grows out of the higher ed/non-profit world, which means the
design goals are aligned well with higher ed IT.

Hope that clarifies things a little,
-ms
+------------------------------------------------------------+
Michael Sherer                  voice:  574-535-7406
Director of Information Technology
016 Union Bldg.                 fax:    574-535-7017
Goshen College                  e-mail:  [log in to unmask]
Goshen, IN 46526                http://www.goshen.edu/~msherer
+------------------------------------------------------------+
                     "Technology for Service"

On Feb 5, 2004, at 12:00 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:

> Date:    Wed, 4 Feb 2004 23:18:24 -0500
> From:    Alfred Essa <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Technology Development Co-op...
>
>> This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not
>> understand
> this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.
>
> --B_3158781505_286568
> Content-type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
> Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable
>
> Dear Michael,
>
> i laud your efforts. some quick comments:
>
> * hunch is that your principal competition will most likely be other
> open
> source content management systems rather than commercial systems. this
> mean=
> s
> that you need to differentiate yourself from the pack. the pack is
> large
> (see e.g. http://www.oscom.org/matrix/index.html).
> * a distinction between content management framework and content
> management
> system is probably in order. it appears that you are proposing open
> source
> license for the content management framework but joint =B3ownership=B2
> of the
> content management system application. but what this tells me is that
> what
> you are proposing is more a =B3cooperative=B2 model of software
> development,
> where a number of institutions band to together to build software, and
> less
> an =B3open source=B2 model of development as commonly understood. (i
> don=B9t want
> to imply that there is only one model of open source development, but
> in th=
> e
> model you are proposing it will be tricky to get independent developers
> (i.e. unaffiliated with co-op institutions) to join the project. why
> would =
> I
> want to contribute to the framework/project if don=B9t benefit from it
> any
> way? if, on the other hand, the framework is robust enough so that it
> can b=
> e
> used to create other vertical apps then that might spur independent
> developers to join. the net effect is that most likely you will limit
> project participation to co-op members only. there is nothing wrong
> with
> that. it all depends on your aim.
> * it appears that project sakai is quite similar structurally to what
> you
> have in mind. i guess i tend to favor open source projects that
> release cod=
> e
> early and often, that release code freely to anyone and everyone, and,
> most
> importantly, provide mechanisms for anyone and everyone to bring their
> idea=
> s
> to the table. it doesn=B9t mean that the idea will be implemented, but
> it wil=
> l
> be heard. the best open source projects are globally democratic (in
> giving
> everyone a seat at the table) and meritocratic (in terms of which
> ideas are
> ultimately implemented).
> * i would think that it=B9s to your advantage to make the entire
> project open
> source in order gain maximum adoption. there would still be a role for
> the
> co-op, namely to secure joint funding and resources for new features
> and
> enhancements. by the way, this would not preclude an institution from
> not
> releasing some modules or code;
>
> best,
> Al
>
> Alfred H. Essa
> Chief Information Officer
> MIT Sloan School of Management
>
>
> From: Michael Sherer <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/cg/.

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