K12OpenSource.com is a collaborative effort to organize and bring the benefits of Open Source Software and training to K-12 educational organizations--that is, to help build a more organized Free and Open Source Software "ecosystem" for K-12.

The wiki that was previously there is now at http://wiki.k12opensource.com.  I've also been feeling for a while that the time is right for a stand-alone social network around the use of Open Source in K-12, and have created a community network:  http://community.k12opensource.com

Thanks for visiting, and please let me know if you need anything or have any suggestions for what we are doing!

Steve Hargadon

The K12OpenSource wiki is now at http://wiki.k12opensource.com.

What Is Open Source Software?

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is software that is developed openly and built collaboratively. While it may seem like this would be a chaotic process, it actually produces extremely stable long-term results—comparable to the processes of democracies and open-market economies.  While these programs are often distributed free of charge, “free” in this context actually means the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

Linux is just one example of thousands of Free and Open Source computer programs that are licensed in a way that actually protects their “free” status.  The GNU General Public License, originally conceived by Richard Stallman, is the most popular of this type of license. The different movements which are generally referred to as “Free and Open Source Software” are motivated by both altruism and pragmatism—by a belief that the ability to work together to create and build upon computer code benefits both the programmer (who can produce better software by not having to start from scratch and can work with and learn from others) and the ultimate users of the software (who get software that can be freely used, modified, and upgraded).

Recent studies have shown Free and Open Source software to have many fewer coding errors than proprietary software because of the “peer review” that takes place in the development process. A widely known example of an Open Source software program is the Apache web server software, which runs over 70% of the world's websites. Most of the programs which form the backbone of the Internet are Open Source software.

What is Linux?

Linux (pronounced “linnuks”) is a computer operating system like Microsoft Windows® or the Apple Mac OS®.  Linux is most widely known among corporate computer users because of its quality, reliability, and price. Linux has matured to the point where it is now the preferred platform for most of the world's more robust and critical computer systems.

In 1991, Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland, started to write the kernel for a computer operating system. By releasing early versions of his software under a “free” or “open” license, Torvalds provided an exciting environment for other programmers to work together to improve his software, which became the foundation of what is generally known as the Linux operating system.

Because Linux can be modified, it is available in several versions (or distributions), some of which offer commercial support.  You may have heard of Fedora Core, Red Hat, SuSE, Novell, Ubuntu, Knoppix, or Linspire.

2010 OpenSourceCon!

Join us Saturday, June 26th, in Denver, Colorado, for our free, all-day "unconference" on Open Source Software in K-12.  More details here.

Join The Email List:

See Us at the Following Shows:

CUE (Palm Springs, CA) March 2010
CoSN (Austin, TX) March 2010
NECC (Washington, DC) June 2010
T+L 2010


Community (NEW!):  http://community.k12opensource.com

Email Group:   http://groups.google.com/group/k12opensource

CUE 2010 Session Link:

60 Open Source Programs in 60 minutes, by Benoit St-Andre.  Also archived at http://twapperkeeper.com/60in60