Printer Friendly

Open source software gets boost from big business.

IBM STRENGTHENED ITS SUPport for open source software when it announced a new relationship with higher ed. Big Blue is giving colleges and universities free access to its alpha Works lab, a research center for emerging technologies, including new games and middleware tools.

Students and faculty members can delve into IBM's source code to learn how development projects work. In exchange, they can offer improvements and new ideas. The hope is that collaboration will result in better commercial products. In the past, IBM offered colleges and universities a 90-day trial to its research and emerging software products.

Other divisions at IBM are already furthering open source efforts in higher education. Its Business Consulting unit is working closely with the Sakai Project (www.sakaiproject.org), a higher ed-led effort that includes the University of Michigan, which is about to issue version 2.0 of its free course management system. The company is also supporting the Kuali Project (www.kuali.org), a separate effort of Indiana University and others to produce an open source financial management system for colleges and universities. OSPI, the Open Source Portfolio Initiative, (www.theospi.org) also is getting help from IBM.

"We have people building Sakai in IBM's DB2, or getting it to run on industrial-strength middleware," explains Patrick Carey, industry leader for higher education in the Business Consulting division. After gaining practical experience with the open source programs, IBM consultants report back to the three major higher-ed initiatives with the goal of tweaking and improving the programs. IBM's involvement also helps set standards for open source software--an important mission if disparate universities are going to use the same programs.

"Open source software that isn't based on standards has no value," insists Carey. The higher-ed landscape is strewn with such open source programs that fell by the wayside, he says.

Programs that are based in software standards move through the development phase quicker, he adds. And, obviously, the quicker a software is developed, the quicker commercial companies can offer their for-profit hosting and support services. To that end, IBM already is partnering with The rSmart Group (www.rsmart.com), a commercial venture that offers service and support for higher ed.

In a separate endeavor, several companies, along with Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) have launched an effort to evaluate open source software. As any IT manager knows, free programs can come with coding problems and untested applications. To minimize headaches, Intel and SpikeSource are joining Carnegie Mellon to create the Business Readiness Ratings system, which will be distributed at www.openbrr.org.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Professional Media Group LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:University Business
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:424
Previous Article:Florida A&M University.
Next Article:Reality show not reality at all.
Topics:


Related Articles
LINUX WORLD: STRONG SUPPORT FROM VENDORS.
Up The Irish! O'Reilly's Open Source Wingding Packs Them In.
IBM TO LINK US GOVT LAB COMPUTERS IN POWERFUL GRID.
Open source not fully exploited in UK ... NCC. (IT News).
Open Architecture Opportunity: Open-source software components are fueling a new reseller's market, customized enterprise software for smaller...
Commentary: open source software bridging the technology gap. (Storage Networking).
Open source security-still a myth.
Proprietary software can't control the world: even Microsoft now says it can co-exist with open source software.
A taste of open source: this CIO says to drink the Kool-Aid, but as part of a balanced diet.
CMS: sticking with tried and true: institutions are boosting their content management efforts with the use of commercial software while looking at...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters