Factors affecting the use of open source software in tertiary education institutions


  • David Glance
  • Jeremy Kerr
  • Alex Reid




Open Source Software (OSS) is software that has been released under a license which requires the distribution of the software’s source code with any binaries. It is often available at no cost and is mostly supported by developers providing their services for free. Considerable interest has been shown in OSS by tertiary education institutions (TEIs) because of the promise of a reduced total cost of ownership of the software, potentially better support, freedom from vendor lock–in, ability to tailor the software and pedagogic benefits of being able to view the source code. To find out the extent of use of OSS by TEIs in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, a survey was sent out to technical personnel at all TEIs in these countries. The results of the survey show that OSS is already being used by all TEIs who responded to the survey and that the major reasons for this was lower Total Cost of Ownership and freedom from software vendor dependence. It is clear however that the majority of the OSS software being used is in server infrastructure with a lesser amount being used on normal desktop machines.




How to Cite

Glance, D., Kerr, J., & Reid, A. (2004). Factors affecting the use of open source software in tertiary education institutions. First Monday, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v9i2.1121