Thanks Stephen, for the welcome. Joseph, I also think Stephen makes a
very important point about the long-term viability of these projects
focused on the education domain. Personally I have a lot of confidence
that they will prove to be be far more sustainable than the model
where one organization is responsible for a product. But there is
plenty of work ahead to ensure that, and so a healthy degree of
concern is appropriate to remind us that we haven't "proven it" yet.
Stephen, there are a number of things that give me some confidence:
1. A minority % of institutions in higher education have always
undertaken to develop their own "home grown" solutions to key business
systems like Sakai and Kuali. This has persisted through hard economic
times in the past and I wouldn't expect it to change.
2. These *are* mission-critical systems that these institutions are
depending on. They aren't "hobby" projects for IT.
3. We're getting good enough at collaborative development that the
long-term cost to those institutions will actually decrease from when
they endeavored to build them alone. Brad Wheeler and some of the
other Founders of Kuali express this as "outsourcing four fifths of
4. The model for peer development is also creating opportunities to
aggregate the contributions of many institutions with varying
capacity. It's not only the large institutions making significant
contributions to these projects. Many smaller institutions like Marist
College, and San Joaquin Delta College are making significant
contributions. I expect that as we continue to improve our peer
production skills this will continue to increase and we'll achieve
significant resilience to the impact of one institution having to
cease their contribution. We've already seen this kind of resilience
in the Sakai community.
I hope others will help refine my understanding and beliefs as we
continue the dialog.
Chris Coppola | 602.490.0472
On Feb 12, 2009, at 12:54 PM, Joseph Vaughan wrote:
> There are so many dimensions to this conversation. Stephen points to
> a real worry, especially if the domain of examples includes only
> open source software that is built by higher ed institutions -- how
> many institutions may be tempted, in these times, to discontinue
> their Sakai membership dues or their developer contributions? But of
> course the domain of examples needs to be bigger -- Moodle, for
> instance, is not developed by an institution of higher ed (though
> the original developer had connections to higher ed).
> I believe that "build or buy" is the wrong slogan to have in mind.
> It is more like "buy or buy", and increasingly vendors and open
> source proponents will need to compete, when they are competing, on
> the quality of the product. Open source products will have an
> advantage over time, because open source code is an additional
> (vital) part of the quality of those products. I believe that this
> fact is a big element in why we are seeing more and more companies
> make the decision to open source their code.
> I too would welcome honest and open discussion from vendors.
> Joseph Vaughan
> CIO/Vice-President for Computing
> and Information Services
> Harvey Mudd College
> [log in to unmask]
> 909 621 8613
> free/busy info at http://tinyurl.com/vaughanfreebusy
> Stephen G Landry wrote:
>> Welcome aboard, Chris. I’ve enjoyed our brief conversations, and
>> look forward to continuing them here and elsewhere.
>> As you know, Seton Hall University is a customer of rSmart; you
>> support our Sakai pilot project, enabling us to explore how Sakai
>> can add value to our learning systems. My colleagues at Seton Hall
>> enjoyed Stephanie’s comments to this thread, and we’ve taken to
>> calling our Sakai pilot “our puppy”.
>> I also want to be clear that I support the principle of open
>> source. Openness is particularly important virtue when it affects
>> the public sphere; if I had my druthers the software that runs
>> electronic voting, for example, would by law be open source, so
>> that the best minds of the software community could ensure its
>> security and reliability, rather than the situation where vendors
>> use legal means to prevent the analysis of this vital code.
>> In these discussions I always seem to work my way back to a couple
>> of mild worries I do have with open source projects in higher
>> education. I worry about projects that run counter to my intuition
>> of the economics of software development. There always is tension
>> in our “build versus buy” decisions. I worry that our community’s
>> open source projects might underestimate the cost of the “build”
>> option to the community as a whole. I worry that the cost is
>> disproportionately born by a few large institutions that may at
>> some point find it uneconomical to continue to do the heavy
>> lifting. I worry that open source projects may be a overreaction to
>> valid concerns we all have about dealing with our vendors and with
>> the commoditization of IT services. I worry that software
>> development may not be considered central to the mission of our
>> institutions, and may be shed if budgets become tight.
>> But of course I have different, but equally vexing worries about
>> some of our major software vendors as well; I’m not trying to say
>> that one approach is obviously right and another wrong, but rather
>> that some of the delightful exuberance for higher education open
>> source projects evident in these discussions may not be fully
>> justified and should perhaps be tempered a bit. I personally urge
>> cautious optimism in this and all things.
>> In any case, welcome to the conversation. I look forward to your
>> insights as one of the thought leaders in software development in
>> higher education.
>> As an aside, I, for one, would also welcome the appropriate
>> insights of the thought leaders from some of the other vendors that
>> support the missions of my institution – Sungard, Oracle,
>> Blackboard, Microsoft, IBM, etc. – but I fear I’m in the minority
>> here; many of my colleagues on the CIO list would probably prefer a
>> strict “no vendors” policy. I just hope Theresa didn’t get too many
>> flames following your post.
>> Stephen G. Landry, Ph.D.
>> Chief Information Officer
>> Seton Hall University
>> South Orange, NJ 07079
>> Office: 973-761-7386
>> Email: [log in to unmask]
>> Web: stephenlandry.com
>> For the latest news from SHU IT, see the IT News and Announcements
>> blog at: http://tltc.shu.edu/blogs/projects/DoIT/
>> For the latest news on teaching and learning, see the ePirate blog
>> at: http://tltc.shu.edu/blogs/projects/epirate/
>> *From:* The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:[log in to unmask]
>> ] *On Behalf Of *Christopher D. Coppola
>> *Sent:* Tuesday, February 10, 2009 9:37 AM
>> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>> *Subject:* Re: [CIO] Savings with Open Source (?)
>> Great expansion Scott. I got a few offline comments as well and a
>> few people mentioned they'd like to work together on a common
>> vocabulary / framework. Would you be interested in helping out if I
>> organize a small group?
>> Also, in the interest of full disclosure I should have been more
>> clear in my first post that I'm a board member in several of the
>> Kuali projects, just finished a term as a Sakai board member, and
>> I'm the CEO of rSmart--a company that supports these projects.
>> Chris Coppola | 602.490.0472
>> blog: coppola.rsmart.com <http://coppola.rsmart.com/>
>> On Feb 9, 2009, at 3:08 PM, Scott Siddall wrote:
>> Chris Coppola makes an important point here, one worth expanding.
>> Community source, like an ecosystem, derives stability from the
>> diversity that includes producers, consumers, commensals and
>> others. All are needed and players that don’t fit will be selected
>> Many small colleges make use of Sakai, Moodle, Drupal and DSpace
>> and other OS applications without technical staff dedicated to the
>> effort. (Some even outsource their use of open source, possibly for
>> purposes of better cost accounting.) These institutions consume
>> community source, they don’t produce it, but they do contribute in
>> other ways such as quality assurance, pedagogical innovation,
>> expanding the reach of the community and more. Our models of inter-
>> institutional collaboration should encourage this diversity in
>> approaches; it can add stability.
>> Scott E. Siddall, Ph.D.
>> Kenyon College
>> Gambier, OH 43022
>> ********** Participation and subscription information for this
>> EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE
> Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/
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