Answer: Yes you can. Really dumb.
For evidence see Wired Campus: Stanford U. and edX Will Jointly Build Open-Source Software to Deliver MOOCs
We usually try to show restraint, but every once in a while something comes across the bow that is so completely stupid - well, it has to be addressed.
Here is what I posted as a comment to the above article:
This idea is completely brain-dead. Note to self as Stanford alumni: no more contributions to Stanford fund - as they obviously have plenty of money to waste.
Look - LINUX was based on Unix - which was a very well-baked operating system based on at least 10 years of wide adoption. How do you create "the LINUX" of anything from a completely new platform?
And, oh by the way, the LMS market is moving to one of interconnected applications based on open standards, namely IMS LTI. This is the model that every one in the know has been talking about, and implementing, for the last three years. I know - I run IMS. We've gone from 0 to over 150 certifications of open standards based products in three years and the curve is accelerating. You can see the many examples here: http://developers.imsglobal.or...
So, the idea of building a platform that is all encompassing in terms of functionality - even if it is open source - is completely the opposite of where the market is moving.
Finally, when you can't find a business model, build something and give it away for free - and pretend you have a business model. When you're living off grants and endowments its a good strategy for delaying the inevitable: failure. Unfortunately that money could have been used for something useful.