Browsing FOSS Projects

Looking through libraries of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects on SourceForge for education software, Moodle stood out as the most popular. Moodle is a Course Management System — a free alternative to the likes of Blackboard. Impressively, Moodle has had a presence on SourceForge since 2001 and is still an active, stable project; it’s last update was just a couple days before this post.

Although Moodle has it’s own shortcomings, I’m strongly considering using it in future semesters because: (A) it provides a little more flexibility than Blackboard and (B) it provides me an opportunity to customize it even further since I have access to the code. I’ve been warned that it’s code is pretty ugly and not very extensible, but at least on principle I like the idea of building upon existing FOSS CMS.

Meanwhile, OpenMRS is a Humanitarian FOSS project (HFOSS) with the goal of providing a Medical Record System for developing countries to manage health systems. OpenMRS has many related sub-projects on OpenHub but the core of the system is predominantly Java while there is some JavaScript code as well. Interestingly, the project has also been very active, averaging almost 2 commits per day over the last year. That is a great illustration of how commits should be small increments and easy to understand. However, it should also be noted that not all commits are necessarily source code. Commits may also include other information such as documentation.