Chamilo is a project that opts for free software (meaning open source with a high ethical goal) in a radical way. It aims at bringing you the best e-learning and collaboration platform in the open source world. It comes in two flavours: Chamilo LMS, improved and freeer version of a software created in 2001, and Chamilo LCMS Connect, still in development, a new taste of e-learning and much more, that will definitely bring fresh and creative tools to your e-learning experience.
Chamilo is currently used by millions of students around the world, and the feedback from the community is great. Governments, private companies, public and private universities, NGO and other types of organizations use the Chamilo software suite to manage from simple live training to full distant learning, certification center, e-courses shop and staff selection.
Chamilo is a brand owned by the Chamilo VZW (non profit association). The trademark is not and will never be owned by a single trademark holder, thus considerably reducing the risk of deriving from the open source philosophy.
Aiming to protect the software and to keep it free and open, the association has been created to watch over the future of the Chamilo software.
- Easy creation of educational content
- Easy and free installation on web hosting solutions
- Tracking of users results, allowing for methodology improvements
- Clean interface, letting user focus on learning
- Synchronous and asynchronous communication channels
- Many tools allowing for all learning types (visual, auditive, practical, serious games, staff selection)
- Extensive documents management capabilities
Chamilo is distributed under the GNU/GPLv3 license starting from version LMS 1.8.7.
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What is Chamilo?
Chamilo aims at bringing you the best e-learning and collaboration platform in the open source world.
Chamilo is also a brand owned by the Chamilo Association, which makes it possible for many companies to build on the name of the product with very low risk. The trademark is not and will never be owned by a single trademark holder.
Who's in charge?
Chamilo is lead by a legal non-profit association founded in Belgium in 2010, formed by at least 5 effective members, institutional and business members with a common goal of getting the best results from their e-learning and collaboration solution. The members are elected every even year (or more often if required).
What are the objectives of the Chamilo Association and what will it do to reach them?
The main objectives of the Chamilo Association are to protect and improve the e-learning and collaboration software Chamilo and to build, protect and increase a community of teachers and enterprise learning coaches who want to improve the efficiency of teaching and their courses through the use of our software. The unsaid goal behind this is, of course, to improve education, worldwide.
The association will organize events, training and ensure that documentation is published to a high quality standard, and will encourage contributions from both for-profit and non-profit members, through the allocation of grants for a series of activities recognized as benefiting the community and/or the software. One of the key ways to get there is to implement an official certification program whereby people and organizations can be recognized as official providers of Chamilo solutions. This work is currently under way and should hit the teachers' benches in 2011.
What are the differences between Chamilo and other software?
Many other software have a trademark owned by a single person and a software package lead by one micro-sized private company.
Chamilo is a trademark owned by one association made of a considerable number of people with equal rights, and a software solution lead by this association and freely extended and supported by private businesses to allow them to grow together with the software.
Most of the development team of our parent project having moved to Chamilo, important differences have arisen shortly after the Chamilo project started (new tools, improved portability, improved response to the community, improved stability).
If you want to be able to enjoy the latest web technologies, if you think Moodle has a great community, but you need something more user friendly, then you should definitely move to Chamilo.
The first release of Chamilo includes an embedded social networking feature allowing you to increase the desire to learn of your students and learners. It includes a real-time-controlled exam, one long-requested feature in the community. It also includes a series of bug fixes and minor new features (like a mathematical formula editor) which we think you will enjoy. For more details, please check our website.
We worked hard to avoid the separation with our predecessor. We negotiated for more than a year, but our counterpart has proven an unreliable ally in support of the community and, owning the exclusive property of the trademark, a very dangerous partner to work with. What we have built together for years was threatened by a possibility of unilateral exclusion from the project. After more than one year struggling to unite our efforts and to limit the damages of removing documentation or pieces of software from the solution, and to avoid generally misusing the open-source business model, we decided to let go and show our own way of doing things is based on more respectful principles.
Only one year after the start of the Chamilo project, we can already see we made the right choice.
Is it really important for me that the software is open-source?
If you have a limitless budget to spend, then it might (just *might*) not be important to you. In any other case though, an open-source software guarantees:
- you will always be able to find another provider if you are unsatisfied with the current one
- you will always be able to manage the software in-house if you want to
- you will always be able to change the software to your liking, without the need of an authorization (in fact, you are encouraged to do so and to share those changes)
- you will always be able to study the software
- you will be able to re-use parts of the software, provided you read, understood and respect the terms of the GNU/GPLv3 license
- you will both contribute and benefit to a common growth that otherwise could not be achieved by individual companies or particulars
When developing an open-source software, selling it is made very difficult. Because software development implies important costs, commercial companies are generally tempted to develop closed-source additions. If this model proves efficient in the short term, then these companies have a natural tendency to focus on that aspect of development, which then leads to the development of a poor software base, only really useful with the addition of many closed-source "plugins", which defeats the whole purpose of the free software development model. This is what is currently happening with our parent project. To avoid this going further, we have protected the source, the name of the solution and its development dynamics through the foundation of an association which ensures that good, non-profit moral principles lead the development of Chamilo, while making the work of all private partners much better.
We want everybody to contribute and enjoy it!
The short answer is: about 90% of the active developers of our parent project. If you consider any software, you can imagine a ratio of 1% or less developers for 99% of users. Now if you look at development activity reporting websites, like Ohloh, you will find a list of contributors/developers, and a corresponding graph showing their recent activity. We consider any developer having been active in 2009 as an "active" developer. Most older developers do not influence the future of the product anyway...
That's about 90% of the current development force moving to the new project. This also means that there will be a considerable competence gap as the know-how is not slowly passed on to the next generation in the previous project.
This allows us to get a quick list of active developers who moved to Chamilo::
- Yannick Warnier (Lead Developer of previous project)
- Ivan Tcholakov
- Julio Montoya
- Sven Vanpoucke (LCMS developer)
- Juan Carlos Raña (herodoto)
- Hans De Bisschop (Scaramanga)(LCMS Lead Developer)
- Michael Kyndt
- Stefaan Vanbillemont
- Ricardo Rodriguez (rixi)
- Michel Panckoucke (Chellee)
- (other occasional developers)
Two of the 19 Chamilo developers are Zend Certified PHP Engineers, the highest-level certification available in software development in the programming language used by Chamilo. Another one is an senior teacher with development skills. The rest are divided into half professional developers working for private companies and half developers in universities and university colleges. We believe that with this set of skills in our team, we have the tools to go fast forward, working on a tool that will exceed your expectations. Other contributors (translators, community supporters, teachers, professional trainers) have joined us as well. Check the forum to get an idea of the various profiles that make up our community.
Will Chamilo "embrace" private businesses?
Of course! Several small to medium private businesses have already joined us, and these server medium to large-size businessed all over the world, with the largest implementation (so far) reaching more than 5 million users. We regularly discuss with private businesses and make everything possible to encourage them to join. We hope that a healthy market will develop around Chamilo, so that private businesses can grow and help us grow, avoiding parasitism, though, so we are putting a few measures in place to protect our project and give incentives to new companies to join. The association offers advantages in the form of grants on the next association subscription:
- development of new features and bug fixes will be taken into account
- promotion of the project in fairs will be taken into account
- publication of freely available documentation will be taken into account
- organization of training sessions will be taken into account
plus a bunch of other things that will be submitted to approval by the association.
Of course, private companies have the right to develop their own extensions privately and make money out of it, but we want to make sure this is based on good intentions, and something is given back to the community in exchange of the efforts provided by its members.
Open source software allows small and medium sized business to grow and compete with more powerful companies, always thinking about Chamilo as a group and a part of themselves. Take something from the community and give something back: that´s our goal. As we know this is difficult to do for private businesses, we are helping them to do that through these incentives.
To become an official provider, please check the procedure here.
That's great! How can I contribute to the project?
We have setup a page where you can define, according to your profile, how you can contribute in your best way to the project, being a teacher, a student, a developer, a typewriter, a translator, a designer or anyone not mentioned here. There's always a way to contribute. Please see our contribution page.