Problems with Committing to Use Non-Open Educational Software

See, we really need to support open source in education (and by we, I mean the government, funding organizations, individuals). This was posted on the phys-l list with respect to the Interactive Physics (IP) simulation software, for example:

BTW, I used to work a LOT with IP and I still consider it to have
BEEN one of the best pedagogical software resources ever developed
for physics instruction. But the publishers have been unforgivably
derelict in supporting and improving the product and have chosen
instead to milk their once fanatical and ever dwindling user base
with silly and very expensive “upgrades.” When they abandoned OS X,
I most reluctantly hung up my IP hat for good.

He could have just as easily been talking about other commercial or non-open source software such as Real basic, Supercard, Internet Explorer, Starlogo (which was only open sourced recently after 10 years), and numerous other software titles. Once you commit to such software and depend on it, you may essentially be locked in to whatever they want to do or not do development-wise and price-wise. And sometimes even open source is not open enough. It’s about being open to contributions and changes, and in some open source projects it is difficult to impossible to get any improvements accepted, be it the huge, enterprise-controlled open source projects, or the small, one person projects.

Posted in opensource, software

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