I’ve just noticed this post on Rustici’s Blog -they’ve also mentioned in the past about the possibility of offering a commercial plugin for Moodle and their SCORM engine.
One of the questions posed on their post is:
Q: Would open source adoption increase revenue substantially?
A: Doubtful. If the SCORM Engine were part of Moodle, for example, would any Moodle user come to us for a support arrangement? Or would they go to a Moodle host? Would we continue to appear to be a distinct entity in the eyes of a user? We don’t think so, and given that, what’s the positive impact for us? (It is, after all, about us, in some respects.)
While this may seem selfish to some people in the open source community – it’s also a very important one that many open source communities battle with! Rustici is a Business that needs to make money to pay employees so they can pay their mortgages etc… I presume a large amount of their income comes from the licensing of their SCORM engine. SCORM LMS development isn’t cheap – and it’s not always easy to find someone to fund the full development work, but it’s not as hard to find people willing to pay smaller amounts of money to get a SCORM compliant Engine! – So when SCORM 2.0 comes out finally – Rustici may be in a better position to spread the cost of development across a larger group of clients rather than the traditional Moodle method of a single up-front cost.
But eventually, an Open Source based LMS will implement SCORM 2004 and then 2.0 (maybe) – we’re hoping this will happen for Moodle soon! – So any income that Rustici receive for licensing may decrease significantly when that happens. But – if the SCORM engine in Moodle was an open-source engine from Rustici – then the profile Rustici would get from this integration could improve Rustici’s revenue rather than decrease it!
So will Rustici release an open source version of their Engine? – I would love to see it happen, but I don’t think it is likely at this stage! – in the meantime it will be good to see a commercial offering from them to allow people who really need compliance/certification inside Moodle to have a viable option!