Open Sourcein science

University teachers: Penič Samo
Number of credits: 4

Description of the subject

In this course, we will learn about the principles of open source development methodology, the benefits of open source licences (such as the Creative Commons Licences) and open research data and databases that underpin open science and enable the development of new research approaches and tools.

We will test the benefits of open source with practical examples from software tools (such as the Linux operating system and its Android mobile version, the LaTeX text editor widely used by scientific writers, the GNU Octave mathematical tool), hardware (such as the Arduino microcontroller development system and the Raspberry Pi microcomputer), databases (such as Wikimedia Commons, a component of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and language corpora), and problems related to different data ("big data", domain data, public sector data, etc.).


DIR extra-curricular activities require student's coordinated activity in a group. The student is part of a student organising team, which starts organising at the beginning of November each academic year. The initial period is about collecting new ideas and defining new interesting applications for industrial robots. There are 9 of these per year (see for 2015 applications). Afterwards, the student and the team look for industrial partners who can provide them with the appropriate state-of-the-art robots for implementation. This year, in 2015, 17 industrial partners have confirmed their participation. For example, one of them delivered an industrial two-armed robot to UL, Faculty of Electrical Engineering from Germany. The student then prepares the rest of environment, sensors and programs for all applications/robots.

The students activate the corresponding web page in the beginning of the calendar year. Registrations open at the end of February. The registrations are open for any other student (who is not the subject of this extra-curricular activity), and the application is reserved for him/her at the time booked. During this time, with the help of a student demonstrator, he/she will learn about the robot and other relevant elements and contribute with part of the programming of the robot. Unannounced students and other visitors, young and old, are welcome to just attend and observe.

The content of the student's extra-curricular activity therefore includes, in addition to the overall development of the app and the collaboration with industry, the promotion of the event in the digital and print media, as well as a three-day full-day demonstration during DIR Week.


Objectives and competences:

Knowing the basic idea of open source, which is free and practical access to a product, including its design and architecture, allowing anyone to not only use the product, but also to develop it further.

Familiarity with open source development methodology, which has proven to be a highly successful development and business model, offering open collaboration instead of closed competition, and which is increasingly widespread in the fields of science, technology, databases, social organisation, etc.

Understanding the basic idea of open source and open source development methodology (including practical examples from science, technology, databases, social organisation, etc.).

Understanding the wider meaning of open source in the social and scientific environment.



  • The lectures will also help us to present the widest possible range of applications of open source, with the help of experts from different fields.
  • In the seminar, students will present a topic of their choice or organise themselves in a group to tackle a more challenging project and publish it on an open platform (e.g. Github).
  • Interdisciplinarity, project work and group work will be encouraged in the framework of independent work.



Due to the open nature of the course, most of the literature is freely accessible on the Internet:

  • A good general reference page is for example book;
  • Eric S. Raymond: The Cathedral & the Bazaar, O'Reilly Media, 2001;
  • Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture, Penguin books, 2004;
  • Matej Kovačič: Linuxnanamizju, 2010. (;
  • Linux Gazette;
  • Linux Journal

Studies on which the course is based

  • 0 year - cycle - Extracurricular activities

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University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Tržaška cesta 25, 1000 Ljubljana

E: T: 01 4768 411