"To all those interested,
I have found the following over the past few weeks:
LMS is probably more robust in some areas but not all. The way that it handles things, although far superior, is much likeWeb CT or Blackboard. As with any IBM product there are levels, options, and features that can be purchased to enhance the product. Things like full blown document server capability. No matter how you look at it the cost of running a product like LMS is higher. It takes a separate server for DB2 and the Websphere server. You can run them on the same platform, but IBM is quick to say they do not support that model for LMS.
" I know the argument about technical support is a credible one, but a tech experienced in DB2 or Websphere is extremely expensive. If you want to talk about complexity, then DB2 and Websphere is about as complex as I have seen.
For large base of users that needs to be fully scalable LMS is probably better from a performance view, but it will cost. It will cost more than most organizations can bear.
By extreme contrast Moodle is cleaner, simpler, and much less expensive to maintain. This is true even when you include the technical support costs. You can train someone in MySQL and PHP quicker and cheaper than you can get a tech with DB2 and Websphere experience.
Then you have the product costs from IBM which is charged on a per processor basis. The last time that I checked, you have to buy the DB2 and Websphere yourself. I have heard that they are working on an all inclusive product costing plan, but I have not seen it yet. And hardware cost is extreme. No matter how small you start at it will take a minimum of 2 platforms with a reasonable amount of power power to spare. Moodle can start small and grow. Also, with Linux clustering scalability will be possible for Moodle in a few years.
Note: Forget that if you are used to the replication capability that came with Learning space, forget it. It is gone forever. LMS uses a document checkout feature, and document server seems to allow for full versioning management.
From a technical perspective it is very important that the support person have resources to glean information from on a problem. Just because you call big blue does not mean that there will be an answer there. I have worked with problems and it took IBM several days to solve the problem. Many times I found the information from other sources and solved the problem myself. Moodle has a large enough user base that there is more information and people floating around out there that can resolve any issue that comes up.
I have rambled on a little here, but one clear defining difference is that Moodle is cheaper to run and somewhat scalable. Yes, even when you include the technical support issues. It is extremely flexible, and LMS is not. The point of decision for most educational organizations is the material cost. Time and time again a selection of Moodle supports doing more with less very well. I have and will continue to recommend Moodle to users where cost is the driving element.
I would also recommend using Moodle in the place of Learning Space as well. The document server like capability will allow you to get around replicating. The ability to store all responses in a meeting/forum is great and will help in the transition. There are plenty of document servers out there that can be loaded to augment Moodle if needed. Go Moodle.
Here is how most of my clients look at it. I have two technicians, a single Learning Space server (a good one), 6K for materials, and the usual nothing for technician training. I have to beg for the training no matter what. Which is why the training cost is a wash. Oh yeah, one of my technicians might not be able to master Websphere or DB2 while he could easily master supporting MySQL and Apache. You cannot get blood from a turnip. Moodle is the only possible choice. time and time again it comes down to the money.
Buy......get Moodle. " (Barry)