Yes, that acronym is pronounced "Awesome." Cheesy acronyms aside, the Open Source University Meetup is actually a great idea. Joe Hartley touched on it during our interview and Sun Microsystems formally announced it yesterday. OSUM is a social networking and learning site devoted to Sun Microsystem's ecosystem of open source software. According to the press release,
Sun's OSUM is an open social network created for students interested in learning, sharing and using open source developer tools and platforms. The portal harnesses the true power of open source by helping students collaborate and use open source developer tools like MySQL(TM), NetBeans(TM), Java(TM), GlassFish(TM), OpenSPARC(TM), OpenSolaris(TM) and more. Students can also use OSUM to connect in person through on-campus meetups and events coordinated by the network of more than 500 Sun Campus Ambassadors. Within the first two months of the launch, there are already 10,000 members in the OSUM community.
It's a quick signup and, once logged in, participants can start discussions, read and write blog posts, upload video, etc. If MySpace had real educational value and were all about Sun's open source technologies, this is what it would look like. Except, of course, you don't have to see Tom every time you log in.
Content ranges from an Asian student concerned about her English skills to a webinar on "Building High-Performance, Parallel Applications for OpenSolaris and Linux". If nothing else, this shows students that there really is value to social networking beyond FaceBook. In fact, it's a model for other businesses looking to reach out to a community.
One student asked on the open forum for some example programs accessing MySQL databases with Java. The forum allows files to be uploaded so that members can share software, code, etc.
As Sun puts it on the home page,
OSUM (pronounced "awesome") is a global community of students that are passionate about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and how it is Changing (Y)Our World. We call it a "Meetup" to encourage collaboration between student groups to create an even stronger open source community.