The OERu is an international philanthropic collaboration of universities, colleges and polytechnics providing more affordable access to higher education using courses based solely on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) resources. Our entire tech infrastructure is powered by FLOSS.

We are currently building a open course Dimensions of Openness in Education and naturally open source software is a key dimension. 

We typically start each session with a short video stimulus from a leading thinker in the space - about 3 to 4 minutes max to introduce the topic and its importance.

As custodian of the Open Source Definition would the OSI be prepared to create a short video introducing the Open Source Definition and why its important. The anticipated target audience are educators (working largely in the post secondary sector, although we regularly have school teachers joining these free open online courses.)  If possible, I would need a recording by 30 April 2015.

This session will cover an intro to FLOSS (for educators) - A little history, the essential freedoms, OSD definition, and OSS in education. 

All our materials carry a free cultural works approved license (eg CC-BY or CC-BY-SA). 

Thank you in anticipation for your gift of knowledge.

Please collaborate to develop a 3 to 4 minute script for narration on the video

The tone of the video should be conversational and cover introductory material for those new to open source software.

Open source has become a popular term as more people and organizations recognize the value of combining their efforts with like-minded peers in order to improve their work and promote its use. The phrase "open source," sometimes shortened to simply "open," is commonly used by groups working on a project to covey to their colleagues that their work will be developed through the input of the larger community. Typically, values such as transparency and collaboration are highlighted in community-driven work, where those who contribute benefit from the wisdom of the crowd, sharing the fruits of their labor freely, at no cost.

"Open source" and "open" are common throughout education today: "open source textbooks," "open source curriculum," "open courseware," "massive open online courses" or MOOCS, and even "open educational resources" are popular and respected areas of development across the educational landscape.

In order to understand not only the values implied by the phrase "open source" but the benefits of it's application as well, one needs to begin with a review of the open source software movement. Indeed when David Wiley introduced the concept of "open content" as, "freely available for modification, use, and redistribution," he specifically referenced the open source community. [1] “'Open content' was and is an attempt to appropriately adapt the logic of 'open source' software to the non-software world of cultural and scientific artifacts like music, literature, and images." [2] Wiley took a major feature of software engineering - the open licenses applied to open source software that enabled community-driven improvement of the software code - and applied it to educational content. [3]

So what then is "open source?" Well there actually is an internationally recognized definition agreed upon by governments, corporations and open source projects alike... and it doesn't just mean that you may use some piece of software at no cost. The Open Source Definition is an actual document, published and maintained by the Open Source Initiative. The OSI, founded in 1998, is a global non-profit that supports and promotes the open source movement, and as the stewards of the Open Source Definition, determines whether a software license, and thus the software which is distributed under that license, can be labeled as open source.

Let's take a look at the Open Source Definition's criteria and the rationale behind each.

  • The Open Source Definition requires free redistribution--but you can sell open source software: Open source licenses shall not restrict anyone from selling or giving away the software as a standalone application, or as a component of a larger distribution. In addition the license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale. That means that even if someone sells your work, you cannot require a portion of any payments.
  • As most people know, open source licenses require that the program include the source code: you can't evolve programs without modifying them, and you can't modify them if you can't access the code.
  • An open source license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software. The mere ability to read the source code isn't enough to support independent peer review and rapid, iterative development. For rapid evolution to happen, people need to be able to experiment with and redistribute their ideas in the form of modifications.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

Rationale: Encouraging lots of improvement is a good thing, but users have a right to know who is responsible for the software they are using. Authors and maintainers have reciprocal right to know what they're being asked to support and protect their reputations.

Accordingly, an open-source license must guarantee that source be readily available, but may require that it be distributed as pristine base sources plus patches. In this way, "unofficial" changes can be made available but readily distinguished from the base source.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

Rationale: In order to get the maximum benefit from the process, the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally eligible to contribute to open sources. Therefore we forbid any open-source license from locking anybody out of the process.

Some countries, including the United States, have export restrictions for certain types of software. An OSD-conformant license may warn licensees of applicable restrictions and remind them that they are obliged to obey the law; however, it may not incorporate such restrictions itself.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

Rationale: The major intention of this clause is to prohibit license traps that prevent open source from being used commercially. We want commercial users to join our community, not feel excluded from it.

7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

Rationale: This clause is intended to forbid closing up software by indirect means such as requiring a non-disclosure agreement.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

Rationale: This clause forecloses yet another class of license traps.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

Rationale: Distributors of open-source software have the right to make their own choices about their own software.

Yes, the GPL v2 and v3 are conformant with this requirement. Software linked with GPLed libraries only inherits the GPL if it forms a single work, not any software with which they are merely distributed.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Rationale: This provision is aimed specifically at licenses which require an explicit gesture of assent in order to establish a contract between licensor and licensee. Provisions mandating so-called "click-wrap" may conflict with important methods of software distribution such as FTP download, CD-ROM anthologies, and web mirroring; such provisions may also hinder code re-use. Conformant licenses must allow for the possibility that (a) redistribution of the software will take place over non-Web channels that do not support click-wrapping of the download, and that (b) the covered code (or re-used portions of covered code) may run in a non-GUI environment that cannot support popup dialogues.

Created by Patrick Masson on 2015.03.12 at 03:54:26 PDT

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