Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: .LRN Consortium - Yet Another Governance Discussion

Posted by Alfred Essa on
Steffan, Thank you for the eloquent statement. A couple of comments:

As you note, one of the consortium's biggest challenges will be to define a funding strategy. There seems to be an emerging consensus in the business community that pure open source plays, such as OpenACS / .LRN, do not have an adequate business model and will fail in the long run. What this means for us, I believe, is that the funding strategy has to be more than just raising large amounts of money or charging "substantial membership fees". One of the reasons why many of us are in this game is that we cannot afford the capital investment and substantial license fees associated with proprietary software. {MIT is confronting a 10-15% cut next year.} The alternative is to define new business models and sustainable enterprises, which are grounded in economic reality, but connect industry, society, and the environment. This is why OpenACS/.LRN partnerships among the developers, universities, ngos is potentially very powerful if we collectively figure out how to harness our collective experience, energy, and resources.

A second point concerning small projects. There is good evidence that truly innovative organizations encourage and invest in smaller, autonomous R&D projects at the margins since this is likely to be a very important spring for new ideas and insights. I would hope that the consortium can also fund small R&D grants.