Towards a Free and Open Source curriculum in higher education for IT professionals.

There have been many disparate experiments worldwide in building higher education diplomas offering some form of specialization in Free and Open Source Software over the last years.

We are many to believe that it is time to bring all academics having worked in this area together to build together a Free and Open Source Software curriculum schema for higher education in IT. It will be a long lasting effort, and the first significant step will be the FOSS Curriculum event in Paris, in the framework of the Open World Forum.

The following call for comments and contribution details the scope of this action.

Call for comments and contributions on a Free and Open Source curriculum for higher education in IT.

Software development and deployment has evolved tremendously over the last two decades. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is going mainstream, and the industry is asking for an increasing number of well-trained professionals that are able to install, exploit, maintain, develop and create sophisticated software artifacts, in particular coming from the FOSS world, and that furthermore bring in knowledge about legal, economic and management issues.

Academia should contribute to satisfy this demand by developing a curriculum specifically taking into account the changes that FOSS has brought to the software ecosystem, and by incorporating FOSS into the early stages of the traditional IT curriculum. Several FOSS-oriented diplomas already exist, and some have been running for several years. It is now time to consolidate and structure the existing experiences into a common set of curriculum guidelines, and to issue recommendations for its adoption.

We are calling all interested academics to collaborate in building together this common curriculum, and to participate in the FOSS Curriculum events that will take place in Paris on December 1st as part of the Open World Forum.

All information on the event, and a collaborative platform for working on the curriculum proposal, are online at

To be able to edit documents, just click on the Create Account link in the upper right corner of the main page.

Our first goal is to deliver a roadmap for higher education at the Open World Forum, which will consist of

  • a draft FOSS curriculum for IT professionals
  • a set of recommendations how to include FOSS in IT higher education
  • a set of recommendations (to decision makers) how to favor adoption of the roadmap; this might include concrete actions like
    1. creation of an experimental international FOSS master
    2. support for a network of academics working on the necessary materials like textbooks, exchange of students, connections with well-known FOSS core developers
    3. infrastructure necessary to foster such curricula (initiatives like Google Summer of Code are a good starting point, but still fall short of what a university teacher needs to efficiently leverage the FOSS community in the courses)

A short document summarizing our recommendations will be included in the FOSS 2020 roadmap, a larger document which will be produced by the Open World Forum, and it will contain pointers to our working documents available electronically.

Important dates

14/11/2008: first consolidated contribution to the OWF roadmap

1/12/2008: the FOSS Curriculum event takes place at the Open World Forum in Paris

Organizing Committee
  • Renzo Davoli, Universita di Bologna, Italy
  • Roberto Di Cosmo, Universite Paris Diderot, France
  • Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain
  • C N Krishnan, NRCFOSS, India
  • Daniel Pascot, Universite Laval, Canada
  • Olivier Ricou, EPITA, France
  • Ralf Treinen, Universite Paris Diderot, France