TWEET: Open source versus commercially produced

I couldn’t agree more with this point raised in Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009).  I’m aware that many open source projects have governance and processes every bit as tight as commercial software developers, indeed there’s an argument for needing even tighter control to avoid the shortcomings that can be the product of anything  ‘designed by a committee’.  But I also believe that the combined brain power of a, potentially, unlimited number of contributors must have some advantages.

Where open source really seems to come into its own though is in its responsiveness to the input of end users of the software.  Many open source projects have a nightly build system where everything that has been checked into source control is built and made available for download.   This can result in much shorter times between a bug report or new feature request being submitted and a fix or enhancement being made available.  The flip-side of this is technology giants such a Logitech who seem to take forever to respond to this input of their users.

So what can we take from this from a digital education perspective?  Collaborative / shared lesson plans and peer review spring to mind immediately.  Should we be precious about our way of doing things if a collective effort will provide resources that will better meet the needs of our students?


Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge

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