It’s been a year and a bit since my personal, critical take on open source software solutions in the South African education system. Naturally, I was lambasted by the open source evangelists, and applauded by those who are vehemently opposed to Moodle – no surprise there. However, what become very apparent was that most critics of my opinion didn’t or couldn’t read my article well enough to understand what I am (still) looking for: a success story of an open source solution being used to the real benefit of learners and teachers in South Africa.
Now of course, I am well aware of software solutions that are built on open source platforms but for all intents and purposes are sold as proprietary products. Thumbs up to them. If you’ve managed to create a useful product using open source and you sell it for profit then you deserve whatever you derive from your invention.
My critical take on open source is when South African schools are hoodwinked into ‘buying’ into open source by overly zealous IT administrators. And my reasons are clearly stated in Why open source sucks. I know of some schools that went the Linux/Ubuntu route, only to return to Windows when they realised that there was less available on the Linux than the Windows platform. A more recent trend in South Africa is schools that are dumping Windows for Apple. I’m becoming more of an Apple fan every day, but more about that later.
This piece, however, is a swipe at vendors who are pushing proprietary products. They can suck too. Big time.
I am speaking from personal experience (as with my previous article).
Instead of expanding on my own thoughts about proprietary systems, at the risk of being lambasted a second time (yes Johnny, Ferial Haffajee would NOT be impressed by my fear!), I am opening the floor to allow you to share your experiences – good or bad.
So please go ahead and add your comments below …