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05.22.14

With Moodlerooms, Blackboard is Almost Killing the Free Software Project (Moodle)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Blackboard seems to be ‘pulling a Microsoft’ on an essential FOSS project that makes Blackboard redundant

Moodle is a fantastic and comprehensive piece of free/libre software. I use it at work. I have it installed in my own Web site as well, having set up and configured Moodle for clients. It’s an impressive collection of software for which I produced some documentation, so seeing how Blackboard is trying to ruin it feels quite personal. First Blackboard was exploring patent litigation and now it uses “embrace, extend, and extinguish” (the Microsoft modus operandi).

According to this new post, there is threat to Moodle and Blackboard is involved. To quote: “When services are not conveying but users interact the GPL does not seem to come into play. While companies like Moodlerooms allege they donate a lot of funding to Moodle, we are unable to use the source code from this deriv because it is “Cloud” based and no copies are distributed.

“I was absolutely surprised when I saw that Moodlerooms did not have a GPL notice on their website. I was confused, shocked and dismayed when I realized they were not required to have one. Honestly, they use Moodle as a backend. They use both 1.9x (GPL v2) and 2.x (GPL v3). At least, according to their Joule documentation, this is how their service works.

“They take a 1.9x course and archive it. They then use 2.x to convert this to Common Cartridge format for importing to Learning Management Systems like Moodle and Blackboard – the company who bought them or whatever – Blackboard is proprietary. Moodlerooms code and Joule is closed source even though it uses open source.

“The interface of Moodlerooms is admittedly Moodle. The look and feel is exactly Moodle. The processes on the back are not seen, but seems like a simple backup, restore, export process.

“However, maybe I want to see the code. I cannot. This is a service.”

Remember that Moodlerooms is now controlled by the biggest enemy of Moodle which is linked to Microsoft. The author of the rant does not seem to note this (perhaps unaware).

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    May 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Gravatar

    Both Blackboard and Moodle have their advantages – I use both regularly. But that is not really the point: is MoodleRooms going against the license of Moodle? If so then this should be corrected. If not, well, that is what happens when you release code with a license that allows others to use it in such a way – they will use it in such a way.

    Future versions of Moodle can be released with a different license.

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