Monday, March 9, 2015

Last COSI 'Open' Religious Technology & Tools Blog

After 5 years, this is the last COSI 'Open' Religious Technology & Tools blog. We will, however, continue to maintain the associated COSI 'Open' Religious Technology & Tools web site. We thank the thousands of visitors that took the time to visit the site and read our blogs over the years.  

For well over 10-15 years, the battles between 'open' vs. 'closed' solutions have raged. It started with free and 'open source' software (FOSS) solutions, then moved on to 'open standards', 'open access', 'open data', 'open architecture', ...  It started in the technology sector, then spread into education, healthcare, manufacturing, government and just about every other component of the public and private sector. It became more than just about technology, it became a broad, global movement that supports the adoption of 'open culture' and 'open societies' around the world. Many individuals, corporations, and countries will continue to battle and fight against the 'open movement' for years to come, not recognizing that the war is over - all 'closed' systems will succumb to 'open solutions' as we move into the future.    -  Peter Groen

Friday, September 12, 2014

Understanding 'Open' Terminology

Having heard so many people using the terms “open systems”, “open computing”, and “open source” interchangeably, believing they all mean the same thing, it seemed appropriate to  write a short blog defining some of these terms and soliciting input on other ‘open’ terminology.

In general, the term “Open” often refers to initiatives whose inner workings are exposed to the public and are capable of being further modified or improved by any qualified individual or organization. “Open” is the opposite of “proprietary” or “closed” environments. In the case of software, this would mean that the “source code” is either open for all to access such as the Linux operating system or closed systems such as Windows  where only Microsoft programmers are able to change the source code. 

Other ‘open’ terminology often loosely bandied about include:
  • Open Source Software (OSS) - OSS refers to a software program in which the source code is available to anyone for use. It can be modified by anyone from its original design free of up-front license fees. The source code is available for review, modification, and sharing by the at-large community.
  • Open Standards - The set of specifications developed to define interoperability between diverse systems. The standards are owned and maintained by a vendor-neutral organization rather than by a specific commercial developer.
  • Open Systems - Hardware and/or software systems that use or adhere to open architecture and standards that support interoperable to some degree. See
  • Open Architecture - An Information Technology (IT) architecture whose specifications are open and available to the public and that provide a platform that enables continued evolution and interoperability. See
  • Open Access - Providing free and unrestricted access to journal articles, research findings, books, and other literature. See
  • Open Data – Data that anyone is free to use, reuse and redistribute without restriction. For more detail, see
  • Open Data Format - A standard way for describing data formats, per the “Open Data Format Initiative (ODFI)”, and a program to validate that a data file is “ODFI compliant”. See
  • Open Community - An environment in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is loosely coordinated into large, meaningful collaborative projects and generally avoids the traditional closed organization structure many are used to seeing in the private sector.
  • Open Computing - This is a general term used to describe an “open” philosophy in building information technology (IT) systems. It represents the principle that includes architecture and technology procurement policies and practices that align IT with the goals of an open interoperable computer systems environment.
  • Open Knowledge - An open system of knowledge transfer using the Internet and other information technologies to share best practices, emerging practices, knowledge and innovations within one or more “Community of Practice (CoP)” or across organizational boundaries. Visit
  • Open Publication License (OPL) - This is a license used for creating free and open publications created by the Open Content Project. Other alternatives include the Creative Commons licenses, the GNU Free Documentation License and the Free Art License. See
  • Open Source Hardware - Hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the hardware based on that ‘open’ design. See
We are now seeing the emergence of new, related terms like ‘Open Culture’ and ‘Open Society’ as more people and organizations around the world adopt ‘open’ technologies and solutions and embrace the philosophy behind them.

Have you heard some other ‘open’ terminology being used that you can take a shot at defining and share with us?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's Easy! It's Time! Go ahead and install Linux on your old XP PC

I finally started broke down and bought a new laptop to replace my old one at home that still runs Microsoft XP. I started using Windows 8.1 and was not pleased. So many unwanted features that keep disrupting my use of the computer. I guess it will just take time to adjust, but...

As a result, I decided to install Linux Mint on my old XP laptop. I looked on the web and found an article entitled “How to install Linux Mint on your XP PC” published by ZDNet. Great article! I followed the instructions and within an hour had installed Linux on my old PC.

Fantastic, easy to do, and so much more user friendly. Oh! Also at no cost. I avoided this for years. Silly me. I had tried Linux about 6-7 years ago and was not pleased. I went back to my trusty Microsoft XP system. But times have changed. I am really impressed with Linux Mint.

As a result, my new PC running Windows 8.1 has become my backup system and my old PC running Linux Mint has become my primary system. BTW – it came with Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP, Thunderbird eMail, and many other of the best free and open source software (FOSS) products.

I highly recommend that anyone that has an old PC running XP should install Linux Mint before they think about buying a new PC with Windows 8.1 Share this with your members.