Frequently asked questions about Moodle asked by people who are deciding whether Moodle is right for them.
What is Moodle?
Please see About Moodle.
What do you need to run Moodle?
If you want to run a stable Moodle service for a school, college, business etc., you should really invest in a dedicated server with enough capacity for your users. Moodle runs on a variety of platforms - the most common being Linux/Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Please see Installing Moodle for more specifics.
I don't understand this technology... how can I use Moodle?
Any organization with more than a few computers likely has a technology person who understands this.
If you don't, then you'll probably be looking at purchasing hosting, where Moodle is installed for you on a server belonging to a commercial provider and you mostly just use the web interface to run your courses etc. (See below for more info on these)
Is Moodle complicated?
It depends on your skills. Moodle is very powerful, and with power comes complexity. It is intended to be easy as possible for teachers, tutors and trainers to use, for technicians to install, and for administrators to manage, however, there are a lot of options and settings and there is still some learning curve. Getting started is easy if you're not afraid to explore on your own, or if you get some training from a Moodle Partner or someone who knows Moodle well.
Is Moodle for teachers or administrators?
Moodle is a Learning/Course Management Systems (LMS/CMS) which helps individual, groups, schools, institutions, business, and even boards of education and school districts manage courses for anyone involved in teaching. Courses can be from 5 minutes to 5 years, from 1 person to 500 (or more!), and for everyone from first-graders to senior-citizens. The tools built into Moodle are appropriate for everything from social groups to professional development to traditional students in class.
Why would we trust our enterprise work to a free software package?
Almost 70% of the world's websites run on Apache, which is a free webserver. Moodle is open-source, and while this FAQ is not the appropriate place to discuss open-source software, a quick Google search on the viability of open-source products should provide ample material. Other great examples of widely-used open-source software include Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox, Sendmail, and numerous other packages that you probably use daily without thinking about it.
How can Moodle be free?
In addition to community volunteers to put their time and effort into discussing, documenting, testing and developing on the Moodle.org sites, Moodle is led and supported by Moodle.com, who in turn are supported by royalties from Moodle Partners, through clients who are willing to pay for specific development, and some donations.
What is a Moodle Partner?
The Moodle Partners are a group of service companies that contribute a proportion of their earnings directly to Moodle development. They provide a range of optional commercial services for Moodle users, including fully-serviced Moodle hosting, training, certification, remote support contracts, custom code development and consulting. Please see moodle.com for further details.
How many people are using Moodle?
As Moodle is free to download and use, there is no simple way to count its "customers" since anyone can use it any time with no record. However we do keep some stats based on registered sites, see Moodle statistics. There are a number of large installations of Moodle which cater for hundreds of thousands of users each.
How do we know Moodle will still be around in the future?
Moodle has a strong installed user base (the number of organizations and people using Moodle), so there are many individuals and organisations who have a vested interest in Moodle enduring long into the future.
Moodle has a number of key strengths which when combined make a powerful case for its continuing presence and success:
- A corporate structure which co-ordinates development, finances etc.: This entity (Moodle Pty Ltd) employs the core team including the Founder and Lead Developer Martin Dougiamas. Although the loss of any of the core team members would be a blow to Moodle this corporate body would remain intact and functional.
- Moodle Partners: The growing global network of Moodle Partners provide commercial support services which help sustain Moodle users. Crucially, Moodle Partners contribute financially to support Moodle development and the organisational aspects provided by Moodle Pty Ltd.
- Moodle community: Last in this list, but by no means least. The Moodle community, combined with the well funded and organisationally stable elements above is a powerful force in itself in maintaining the momentum and longevity of Moodle.
How long is a particular version of Moodle supported for?
Moodle HQ is committed to supporting the two most recent stable versions. That is, at any point in time:
- We work on the next version but don't provide production support
- We support the most recent stable version with constant bug fixes
- We support the previous recent stable version, but mostly only serious bugs and security issues
- We don't support any older versions
See dev:Releases for expected times that each major release of Moodle will continue to receive core updates.
- dev:Future for answers to the questions "What happens if Company X buys Moodle?" and "What happens if Martin gets eaten by a kangaroo?"