Authors: Guy Toko, Ernest Mnkandla
Technically speaking there are currently two types of software system platforms: Open Source Software (OSS) and proprietary systems (PS). OSS is remarkable not only for its ease of access but also for public access of its source code. PS is said to be more advanced, more stable, more reliable and more effective but very expensive and does not allow users to access its source code. Some argue that OSS is financially viable for a developing nation’s Higher Education (HE) institutions as an ideal platform for academic experimental learning, peer criticisms, student source code reviews through error tracing, and most importantly, for offering the Information Communication Technology (ICT) student a unique opportunity to master systems code-writing without being bound to a particular vendor or commercial product and finally, as a cost-cutting factor at a time when the operational budgets for many of these institutions are being reduced. On the other hand, there are academic ICT experts who question the quality of OSS source code and supporting systems documents.
This study investigated the academic impact of software system platform migration on HE institution budgets and students. The results show that there is a possible reduction in software licensing fees if effective migration to OSS is implemented.
open source software, high education, proprietary software system, Republic of South Africa (RSA)