CORVALLIS – Want to organize and title your music collection? Find a free alternative to popular office software programs? Or enjoy a supportive environment for women in computing at “LinuxChix”?
If so, you and hundreds of millions of other users have probably ended up at the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University, which was just named one of the nation’s “10 Really Cool University Networking Labs” by Network World, an information technology magazine.
The recognition cites several of the lab’s features, especially its focus on open source software, which is freely available to anyone to download, use, adapt and pass on to others.
“It’s great to be included in this group along with a number of other outstanding computer laboratories,” said Jeff Sheltren, operations manager for the lab. “The Open Source Lab is a very unique place and more people all the time are learning about what we can offer them.”
The OSU Open Source Lab, begun five years ago, now has five full-time employees and 12 student employees. It’s an international advocate for open source software, which is rapidly improving in quality, range of applications and usage by everyone from individuals to businesses and government agencies.
The honor by Network World pointed to several of the lab’s more well-known features:
• The lab is home to the Linux kernel, the core of the Linux operating system that interacts with servers all over the world;
• Drupal, a program to create and maintain web sites, started as a relatively small project when it moved to the lab, and is now in widespread use, increasingly popular, and used to run most of the OSU web sites;
• The lab hosts the infrastructure for the Apache Software Foundation, including the Apache web server, which is used on more than half of the web sites in the world;
• New projects continue to emerge, such as the Oregon Virtual School District, an online learning and support system for K-12 students that lets them work and learn on the web;
• The lab hosts the annual Government Open Source Conference, or GOSCON, which this year featured an “international open source summit” with the World Bank that is helping people around the world learn about the use and applications of open source software by government agencies.
Software available with open source licenses includes programs for web design, internet browsing, clip art, medical records, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, education, e-mail and many other common computer uses.
Other university networking laboratories recognized by Network World included sites at Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California/Berkeley, Rutgers University, and other institutions.