December 2008

This issue of the OSBR provides many examples of using open source principles to enable innovation. These innovations go beyond code creation and address the diverse issues of: declining computer science enrollment, a lack of affordable publishing tools for online exhibitions, the rising costs of text books, the need for process automation in developing countries, easy-to-use and accessible solutions for the not-for-profit sector, adding open source to a proprietary Fortune 500 company's business strategy, and reducing duplicated costs.

Readers will find many references for further research and plenty of thought-provoking content. As always, we look forward to your feedback.

Dru Lavigne



Enabling innovation is the theme of the December issue of the OSBR. This issue includes examples of innovations that flourished in environments of open values, open processes, and open assets.

Individually, each article tells a compelling success story of innovation. Collectively, they argue that innovation in open environments is effective and sustainable across a broad range of circumstances. The agents of innovation can be dedicated individuals, profitable companies, and not-for-profit organizations. The ultimate beneficiaries are end-users, as consumers of better products and services, students and educators with better access to higher quality learning assets, and empowered user-innovators continuing the virtuous circle of community innovation.

Leslie Hawthorn from Google's Open Source Programs Office examines the origins of Google's Summer of Code program, how students benefit by participating, and how Google views this investment in the F/LOSS community and its potential to improve the overall progression of Computer Science as a discipline. The Google Summer of Code program provides mentorship and stipends to college and university students contributing to open source software projects.

Tom Scheinfeldt from George Mason University describes Omeka, an open source platform for online publishing of museum exhibits and cultural heritage collections. Omeka builds on commonly recognized web and metadata standards to interoperate with other museum-centered projects and benefits from an active community of users and user-developers.

David Wiley from Brigham Young University presents an innovative alternative to rising textbook costs. Flat World Knowledge leverages the principles of openness to bring high-quality textbooks back into reach of all students, creating significant social value in a manner that will sustain itself over the long-term.

Steven Muegge from Carleton University and Chukwuemeka Afigbo from SW Global describe a for-profit private sector company that creates high-impact value at universities and governments in developing countries through an innovative business model anchored around service subscriptions, open source software, and open content.

Fred Dixon from Blindside Networks and Jill Woodley from Volunteer Ottawa share the experiences of a unique community/university partnership to bring accessible technology to a non-profit community.

Jon Weigelt, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Canada, discusses Microsoft's commitment to interoperability and collaboration with the open source community. The article also discusses the role that service oriented architecture and interoperability can play in keeping an organization innovative and competitive, and the benefits of embracing openness as part of an organization's business strategy.

Michael Grove of CollabWorks proposes "Open Innovation 2.0" as a way for companies to share IT infrastructure and business solutions within collaborative enterprise networks in ways that reduce costs, improve effectiveness, and enable innovation.

We invite readers to share your comments regarding the issue theme or individual articles on the OSBR website and blog. Please enjoy the contents of the December issue.

Steven Muegge

Guest Editor

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