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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Just what is open source anyway? A coat hook?

By Matt Jenner, on 19 January 2011

Moodle, Myportfolio (Mahara), Apache, Linux & Ardunio – all these things have something in common, they’re all Open Source. But what exactly does this mean? In the most simple form, it means you can get under the hood and change whatever you don’t like or what doesn’t work for you. so it’s customisable. But more so than just changing some settings, you have 100% control (generally) over everything it does and how it operates. You also get it for ‘free’ (a loosly defined term for no cost to aquire).

A wonderful documentry called Arduino The Documentary (2010) is about an open source piece of hardware which utilises an open source piece of software (Processing) to create a device which is changing the way people see hardware. If you need an example before you spend 30 minutes of your life watching this, then the video contains the following:

  • A group of dedicated individuals with a vision of how we can create our own worlds around us
  • An open source coat hook
  • How to turn a dream into a reality
  • How money means less than dedication
  • How you can build your own 3D printer
  • That anyone can do the above and more…

Watch it!


Daniel Artemendi

“Its future will not be technological, it qill be quite more social; it will be some kinds of big boom where a lot of people will start using it. “