learn to FLOSS @ your library

FLOSS is an acronym standing for Free/Libre Open Source Software and it’s the term people use when they’re trying to describe the intersection of what’s free and what’s open source. Eric Goldhagen gave a great talk about FLOSS (ppt) at the Simmons Skillshare and sent us off with a list of FLOSS tools that can replace what we’re already using in libraries, from Open Source IM clients to whole free operating systems. It made me happy, then, to read about Howard County Library in Maryland moving to a user experience on their computers that they call Groovix. This web4lib post has the details but it’s an ubuntu-based system that covers all the bases of what people use PACs for using free (not always open source) tools. They end their post with this note

Howard County Library is a pioneer in Maryland in using Open Source software on public and staff machines. Because Open Source software is available free or at a very modest cost, the Library can provide public computers at a fraction of the cost using comparable commercially-available software.

Sounds neat, doesn’t it? I’ve often though, and said in my talks, that a lot of software problems are management issues disguised as money issues. We say we can’t afford to change, when what we mean is that we don’t know how. FLOSS-curious? Check out this Wikipedia Free Software portal. Yeah I said Wikipedia, for all of its flaws, at least they’re not trying to sell you anything.

One Response to “learn to FLOSS @ your library”

  1. Losing Sleep / Blog Post #1 Open Source in the library… Says:

    [...] I was browsing my RSS feeds today, getting caught up on all my back reading when I found this post from Sept. 29 at librarian.net. (Take a look at the powerpoint presentation, it gives a great rundown on what FLOSS is.) It’s great to see people talking about FLOSS. I’m constantly telling people about open source applications. (So far, for me, the big open source application winner has been Audacity.) The one criticism that I have about this post is that if you want people to take the open source leap, you should introduce it to them in small steps. It’s one thing to let libraries know about open source solutions for Windows, or Mac. It’s another thing to get them to drop their current OS and hop on the open source wagon completely (Linux). I think that might be a little bit too much of a leap of faith for some people. [...]