California College of the Arts (CCA) used EQUELLA as an online archive to store and catalog work by students and faculty. Pearson Education, parent company to EQUELLA, decided to make the product open-source, a benefit for many reasons, but the decision also left CCA and other institutions running the program without a support provider.
Open-source meant CCA was in charge of their own platform — meaning they could alter it according to their specific needs, and bug fixes would be fast, since they’d be the one making them. However, they needed the infrastructure to do this, so they solicited the partnership of experts in the space.
When Pearson Education made the business decision to open source the EQUELLA platform, they approached Unicon to make it happen. Our deep experience in open source projects and communities positioned us well to transition the product into an open source distribution. In addition, openEQUELLA (as it is now called) was a logical addition to Unicon’s Open Source Support program. Joining a host of other open source platforms like uPortal, SSP and CAS, openEQUELLA now has a cooperative-minded support program that contributes to the sustainability of the product.
Unicon has an SLA-based relationship with CCA for openEQUELLA installation and ongoing use — providing unlimited support for questions, recommendations and troubleshooting without being locked-in with licensing fees from a vendor.
With open source software, CCA is able to control and extend the code as they wish, while also benefiting from the crowd-sourcing aspects of an openly available codebase. These benefits include improved security and the availability of ongoing enhancements and bug fixes. As open source support subscribers, CCA is actively contributing code development, through Unicon, to the openEQUELLA community. In addition, Unicon provides regular forums for CCA and other subscribers to tell them about events, system updates and recent news.
As a high education institution, CCA uses openEQUELLA as a critical application in their content production process and having a support partner is a smart risk mitigation strategy.