Community Source Software

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= model that would be more appropriate than Open Source, in the context of Open Educational Resources


"Mackie suggests an alternate term for OERs designed in keeping with the open source ideals: community source software (CSS). He identifies the following characteristics as key to the CSS movement:

  • Multiple institutions band together to design software that meets their collective needs, with the ultimate goal of releasing the software as open source eventually;
  • Development of the software is conducted virtually, with employees from each institution collaborating;
  • The collaboration aligns with a corporate, even sometimes hierarchical, structure, with project leaders, paid staff, and experts in a range of design and development categories;
  • Everybody is compensated for their expertise, and this supports a systematic, targeted approach to software development that is often lacking in OSS projects.

Embracing the notion of community source software instead of open source is more than a semantic choice, in my view. It opens up new avenues for participation and the possibility for new affiliation structures across institutions of higher education. Just as higher education institutions have historically affiliated around various community markers (cf. The Associated Writers and Writing Programs, HASTAC member institutions, the Doctoral Consortium in Rhetoric and Composition), colleges and universities--and their affiliates--might unite around the notion of opening up education by opening up technologies, access, and information." (