Catherine Howell looks at a report by OSS watch into the use of Open Source Software by UK FE/HE institutions. The report itself was looking at all OS use, though Catherine has concentrated on the CMS/VLE/LMS aspects of the report. Institutional Policies and actual practice do vary, according to Policies, 7% of FE establishments make Open Source their preferred option – as opposed to 0% of HE, though 41% require it to be considered. (Interestingly in 2003, 6% of HE establishments said that Open Source was their preferred option.) Most (70% FE/ 52% HE don’t mention it in the official policy/strategy)

In practice, however, about 77% of institutions consider Open Source solutions, with most preferring a combination of OS & proprietary.

The report looks, as well as end user software, at server software (in which HE seems to make more use of OS solutions), and learning Enviroments, where Moodle is very heavily use in FE (56%) of institutions, as opposed to only 9% of HE.

Reasons for not using OS, are those that might well be expected – training needs for staff etc.,

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