I’ve recently enrolled with the Open University for the first time, to study Software Project Management. The first course I’m taking is M865 Project Management and ultimately I’m studying towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Software Projects.

The OU is pretty heavily geared towards using Microsoft Windows and associated software when studying and submitting assignments, and I’m strictly a Ubuntu kind of guy, so I’m going to be in for a few issues along the way, no doubt. I’m aiming to use Linux alternatives wherever possible, falling back to WINE to run Windows applications if I have to and I’ll document my progress here.

M865 requires you to use project management software to do some of the assignments and activities, and you’re provided with a copy of Sciforma PS8 to do this. Thankfully, this installs and runs fine using WINE, so I’ll be able to use that if none of the open source alternatives work, but I intend to investigate the linux native options such as Planner, Taskjuggler and Openproj.

I have managed to find and install a linux version of the FirstClass messaging software that the OU use for discussion forums. Whilst you can access the forums via the website, the functionality is reduced and it’s not so nice to use. There’s a debian package available, along with a generic linux archive. It’s a simple case of installing that package and running it on Ubuntu 9.10

The first time you run it, you need to click on the advanced link on the login screen to configure the server to use, this will be either oufcnt1.open.ac.uk or oufcnt2.open.ac.uk. Try both if you have authentication problems, you may not have an account on both.

Next up I’m going to investigate the eTMA assignment submission system and see if there’s anything specific I need to do for that.