Another product I won’t use

I was all excited this morning reading Jane’s post about CoFFEE.  It sounded like a great tool.  According to the CoFFEE website,

CoFFEE – the new groupware application for digital discussions in a live classroom situation.
CoFFEE offers customisable tools, such as a threaded discussion forum, graphical concept mapping, voting and more.
CoFFEE is open-source and free!
Available in: English, French, Italian and Dutch

I was intrigued because, although I work in a langauge lab, I don’t find the software there really works for the kind of teaching I do.  The computers are critical, but the actual lab software is good but not necessary.

So I watched the demos and read all about it.  I was impressed.  And then I went to download it.  And there is where I stopped.  It only works on Macs and Windows PCs.  As a Linux user at home, I couldn’t look at it to evaluate it.  That means I am not going to look at it for use in my classes.

I know I am the one losing out by not checking it out on my PC at work.  But this is something I feel strongly about.  If you are not considering the Linux community when developing software, then I am not interested.  Especially when your product is open source!


5 thoughts on “Another product I won’t use

  1. Hi.. Just wanted to drop a line about your question… we opened a thread on the Sourceforge CoFFEE development website at

    In brief, the choice to favor Windows (as first platform) was from the project requirements (schools that were testing it had Windows)… Our design choice was a neutral-choice (Java based) so the porting is easy and possible.. We are investigating how tough that is (some idiosincracies are known) and how it will work.

    check our development web site for news… we are happy to have a Linux request…

    Vittorio Scarano (from the CoFFEE developer site)

  2. Hi,
    I am part of the team that made CoFFEE and I thought your comment was a challenge we should rise to. So I copied your post to our open developers discussion forum on sourceforge, and got an immediate response from Professor Scarano who led the development.

    The bottom line is that a Linux version of CoFFEE is possible and not too difficult to make.

    The reasons for not having one right now are quite banal – we got European taxpayer money as part of a research project to make software that will work in schools in four specific countries, and none of these schools used Linux, so we couldn’t prioritise it within this research project. We knew that Spanish schools did use Linux – but we had no Spanish school in our project. Still, CoFFEE was created in JAVA so that it remains intrinsically multiplatform, and thus making a Linux version should not be difficult for the right programmer. We’re looking for one, and members of the original development team will be around to assist.

    So, if you know someone in the Linux community who is willing to volunteer time and effort for the job, please let them know about CoFFEE!

    And of course, as soon as a Linux version is out, we will announce it via our newsletter, to which you are welcome to register on

  3. It’s a shame. I am part of the project that produced CoFFEE. We argued very strongly in favour of CoFFEE being produced for Linux. We were told that no schools using Linux were part of our target user group 😦

    As it happens, CoFFEE is based on the Eclipse platform so I expect it would compile for Linux.

    You might consider contacting the authors regarding this.

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