@smiths now has wiki space at a cost of around £2000 for the software licenses (1).

Wiki’s, along with blogs, are a prominent feature of the contemporary easy to read, easy to edit web. The term wiki is derived from the Hawaiian word for quick. Wiki’s are websites that are quick and easy to contribute to and to edit. The software purchased, Confluence, is merely an implementation of the wiki idea, corporatised, privatised and packaged up as an ‘enterprise level collaboration tool’.

Apparently the free software Media Wiki (it’s open source, don’t you know), the software that built wikipedia the software that spawned a thousand clones, isn’t good enough for Goldsmiths. I don’t understand the rational behind the purchasing a proprietary implementation of generic software, when one of the original and best pieces of software out there, the code behind the biggest wiki on the planet, is available for free.

Has the success of Moodle, the free software code that powers the VLE, not sufficiently demonstrated the strengths of open source to Goldsmiths IT purchasers? A couple thousand pounds have been spent on software that could have been obtained for free. The savings made by adopting a free software alternative could have been spent on developing the skills of the IT services team so that they could support and maintain the software.

  1. Assuming a New Academic Unlimited User License. Costs estimated from Atlassian website.