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SERIES: Open Source/Free software: Philosophy & theory course at Göteborg University

by Gavin Henry on October 29, 2004.

UPDATE 2004-11-08:
Unfortunately, due to family commitments and current work load, I have had to pull out of the course. I was really looking forward to the course, but didn't anticipate how much work it was going to actually be, reading wise.

Apologies to all who were also looking forward to my essays. Maybe next year :-)

I have just started a free course at the department of Informatics, which is a part of the School of Economics and Commercial Law at Göteborg University. The university, one of Swedens largest and most popular, was established in 1891.

You can read about the course on their website, but here is a brief synopsis:

What is it about?
The purpose of this course is to study the philosophical foundations and theories that have developed in the open source/free software field. Beginning with a historical view of the developments in theory and philosophy the course participants will continue their study of the phenomenon and also be given the opportunity to discuss the new issues these development philosophies have given rise to. Additionally the question of whether these same theories and philosophies can be applied in other fields of intellectual endeavour aside from programming.

The course is completely conducted online via a great open source education package called Moodle, with an extensive recommended reading list, with the course book being:

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (edited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, Mark Stone). ISBN 1-56592-582-3

I have spoken to the course leaders and they have given me permission to cover the whole syllabus, and also post all my essays on my column.

The first one is due on the 7th November and is called, What Free Software means to me.

So what do I have to read this week in order to complete my essay?

  • Introduction to Open Source/Free Software (available only on their portal)
  • History of Free Software (available only on their portal)
  • Chapters from Open Sources:
    • Introduction (Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, and Mark Stone)
    • A Brief History of Hackerdom (Eric S. Raymond)
    • Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix (Marshall Kirk McKusick)
    • The GNU Operating System (Richard Stallman)
    • The Open Source Definition (Bruce Perens)
  • The GNU Manifesto:
  • Definitions:

Hopefully you will enjoy the course material and find the essays I write somewhat interesting. You never know.

I will post my first essay next week sometime and keep you all informed of what is due next.

Maybe I will get extra credits for covering it here? ;-)

Well, that's it for now. For any comments or corrections, please e-mail me.