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Why are universities not more enamored of open source?

Give your staff open source and patent revenue will not flow to you. You won't be able to sell the results to some big company for big bucks.
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on
A report from InsideHigherEd, headlined Open to Open Source, says that, in fact, the academe is rather ambivalent to open source software. (I thought about using a statue of John Harvard, but the William Marsh Rice statue at my old alma mater is a dead ringer for him.)
Open source software has found a permanent home on some college campuses. But according to a study released today by the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness, open source products, which enable programmers to modify code and customize programs, have yet to reach the masses of academe.

The report is based on a survey of over 200 decisionmakers, people responsible for choosing software used by colleges and universities around the country.

While acknowledging the costs are lower, there are the usual caveats. Who do you go to when something breaks? (How about that clever freshman over there?) It might not be prudent. They want to integrate open source with commercial stuff.

But I'm wondering whether something other than cost is at work here. Look at the revenue side of the equation.

Over the last decades colleges and universities have become vast "Intellectual Property" faculties. By exploiting graduate students and professors alike, they derive patent rights that deliver revenue streams which keep everything growing.

Open source resists patents. Even in areas where patents are allowed in the open source world, there is resistance. Give your staff open source, in other words, and patent revenue will not flow to you. You won't be able to sell the results to some big company for big bucks.

Does this make sense to anyone?

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