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User:JWSchmidt/Blog/4 September 2007

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---- start 2007 ----
24 October, 2006 - Wikiversity history
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Is education the goal or some kind of Open Source software religion?

The Wikimedia Foundation is built upon the concept of open content. "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop neutral educational content under a free content license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." (Mission)

Now we have a Software Policy Draft that tries to expand the "open content" approach of Wikimedia projects to an "open source software only" crusade.

At Wikiversity we have learning resources that make use of all types of software and the goal is education. We are trying to develop server-side resources for learn-by-doing software projects (see Wikiversity:Sandbox Server). Do we really need doctrinal restrictions on the software that Wikiversity participants can use and learn about? The Wikimedia Foundation has always been and will always be a friend of open source software, but some folks seem to cross the line into an Open Source Software Religion and that can start getting in the way of the educational mission of the Foundation rather than supporting it. Is this new "Software Policy" proposal crossing the line?

If we look at the inability of the Wikimedia Foundation to make Wikimania accessible to the world, we might wonder if damage to the educational mission (due to the "Open Source Software Only" reflex) started long ago. Have monks from some Open Source Software Religion taken over the Wikimedia Foundation? It seems like these monks are on a crusade and that they do not care to place the educational mission first.....their first priority seems to be holy war against proprietary software. Is "open source software only" fanaticism in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation? From an educational perspective, learning about how to use proprietary software is a valid educational goal for many Wikiversity participants. Would the "open source software only" policy proposal get in the way of the Wikiversity mission?

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