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Site Gives Students Web Access to Open Source Computation Tools

A small UK company has launched a set of free open source computation utilities for college students. The Bamboo Toolbox includes access to software developed by open source communities that runs in a Web browser hosted by Hughes Bennett Education. If a student wishes to save computations, he or she can subscribe to a "personal notebook" for a small monthly fee.

A dozen utilities make up the current offerings, including:

  • R Project for statistical analysis and graphical modeling
  • GNU Octave for numerical computations
  • Maxima for manipulation of symbolic and algebraic expressions
  • Objective-C for adding object-oriented features to C routines.

"A significant barrier to the adoption of open source software in higher education has been the cost of installing, configuring, and maintaining software. The result is that there are many excellent open source software packages for students, but, they are not accessible because students and higher education institutions do not have the money and staff in today's difficult economic climate," said Chi Nguyen, editor of the site. "Bamboo Tools removes that barrier by eliminating the cost of installation and maintenance. Now, students and higher education institutions can instantly use the Bamboo Tools software collection with their studies."

A subscription of £2 per month grants the user access to a single notebook for one utility in the toolbox. The notebook works like a wiki, allowing the subscriber to save work done through the software, including previous iterations. Further information can be found here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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