Red Hat

Teaching Open Source Software

Jane Park, April 7th, 2010

If you’re like me, then you don’t know much about software; if you’re not like me, then you know about software but not much about open source software (OSS). Regardless of which camp you fall into, there’s good news—you can learn about open source software (and help others learn about it) through open educational resources on OSS online. Practical Open Source Software Exploration: How to be Productively Lost, the Open Source Way is teachingopensource.org‘s new textbook to help professors, or anyone for that matter, teach or learn about open source software. “It’s a book that works like an open source software project. In other words: patches welcome.

For those needing something quick and simple to hand out to their classes, educators can contribute to or adapt this textbook (it’s licensed under CC BY-SA so you can share, translate, remix as long as you share alike) or search for other OER online. One K-12 educator developed this resource under CC BY, A K-12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software.

Via CC licenses, both resources enable a community of educators and learners to contribute to, edit, and improve them, especially Practical Open Source Software Exploration which invites people to edit the wiki directly. But fostering a community around open resources to keep them up-to-date and relevant isn’t something that just magically happens, which is why Red Hat, a successful business built around OSS, developed this meta-resource: The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors. The book is available in wiki-form also under CC BY-SA, and “it contains knowledge distilled from years of Red Hat experience, which itself comes from the many years of experience of individual upstream contributors who have worked for Red Hat.” Basically, it’s a guide “for helping people to understand how to and how not to engage with community over projects such as software, content, marketing, art, infrastructure, standards, and so forth.” Of course none of this is set in stone (literally), since what works for some might not for others, but it’s worth taking a look and adapting to your own needs.

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Thank you!

Joi Ito, January 7th, 2009


Joi Ito / Photo by Mizuka / CC BY

One week ago I asked for support in helping us reach our $500,000 goal. At that time, we had $12,000 left to raise with only 2 1/2 days left in the campaign, and we were all wondering how we were going to make it. Today, I’m proud to say that our community went above and beyond — raising CC a grand total of $525,383.73.

I want to send a special thank you to all of the individuals and companies that are long time supporters of CC. We’ve had hundreds of people continue to support CC over the years and I wish I could thank each and everyone of you publicly for your continued support. However, I don’t want to take up the entire CC main page, so please know how appreciated your commitment to CC is. To Digital Garage, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Tucows, Consumer Electronics Association, and wikiHow, thank you for your continued commitment to CC – I look forward to working with each of your companies in bringing more global awareness about CC, and I feel confident that together we will continue to enrich the digital commons we’re all investing in.

And to all the new individuals and new corporate supporters (Attributor, DotAsia, Ebay, Nevo Technologies, Safe Creative) – thank you for choosing to support CC this year. CC is only as strong as the community that supports it and we’re thrilled to see this community thriving. Think of all we can do over the next year by coming together and supporting each other.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the following companies and foundations who are committed to sustaining CC and the open movement. To the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, IETSI, Red Hat, Google, and the Omidyar Network – thank you.

Thank you all from the bottom of my (and the rest of the CC staff’s) heart — we know how difficult it is right now and are deeply honored that you would choose to support CC this year. This doesn’t just help us continue our work but also reaffirms the growing strength of our community and the belief in a more fair and accessible digital world.

The CC staff, the board of directors, and I all look forward to what will surely be an exciting 2009.

- Joi

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