U.C. Berkeley Creating Large-Scale Open Source Software Project

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 11, 2009

Researchers and developers at the University of California, Berkeley are working on open source software to help distribute audio and video files of classroom lectures to media services like iTunes and YouTube. The university already publishes full-length videos of classroom sessions on YouTube, but recording, editing, and posting these videos is an costly undertaking. Now, new grant money will pay those expenses and help expand video distribution worldwide.

Known as the Opencast Matterhorn project, an international team of developers from universities in Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and the UK will draw from a coffer of $1.3 million to create the software platform that's scheduled to launch next summer.

The project has lofty, but no doubt achievable, goals. Developers plan to "lower the technical skill and cost barriers to scalable podcast deployment and increase the potential for universities to integrate rich media content into their teaching, learning, research, and knowledge-sharing environments" and design it to be installed as an end-to-end system. Matterhorn will also be highly configurable so organizations can install only the modules and components they need and eliminate those they don't.

U.C. Berkeley's involvement in such a large open source project is not surprising. As San Francisco Business Times reporter Steven E.F. Brown points out, "The university counts the open source Unix operating system, with its roots in Cal’s 1970s research, as one of its achievements."