View Full Version : Learning about open source from a non-tech perspective

October 16th, 2007, 09:47 PM
Hi there! Can't wait for the new distro, but in the meantime, I'm looking for a little advice.

I have a coworker who's interested in learning about OSS, coming from the point of view of someone who's interested in the user-services side of technology. However, she doesn't have much background knowledge beyond HTML. Today I talked to her a bit about building websites using PHP/MySQL/CSS, and the advantages of doing that versus static HTML, for example.

Does anyone know of a good introduction to the ethos of OSS, what it's good for, how it's used in organizations, that kind of thing? She's willing to put some time into reading about, but she really doesn't need to get into any kind of code or anything like that (that's our dept's bailiwick and it might scare her off!). In our organization, people are constantly dropping names like Sakai, Moodle, Linux, Firefox, Pidgin, etc. and I think she really wants to understand what these things have in common, not just in terms of their license, but in terms of user experience, how to adopt them, what they're like to work with, and so forth.


October 16th, 2007, 11:12 PM
Your co-worker could do worse than to browse JISC's OSS resources:


But ethos-wise that is a rather emphatically "open source" site and she would likely get into trouble if she remained unaware of the historical and current cultural importance of the "F" in "FOSS" - so she should read some of the essays, history and philosophy pieces at http://www.gnu.org or http://www.fsf.org too.

October 17th, 2007, 03:01 PM
Thanks! Those are a good start and I'll pass them on.