Koha and LibLime and the letter and the spirit of open source

Another link or two about the thing I mentioned in my day in the life post from a week or so ago. I had mentioned there was some Koha/LibLime drama but I didn’t know much about it. I spent some time emailing with people asking about it — my library is a Koha library, or a nascent one, so this is professionally as well as personally interesting to me — and reading a lot of email and chat transcripts. My impression now is that there’s a little bit of a “there” there and now there’s something I can link to.

This thread on the Koha users discussion group list outlines some of the issues. In short, what I understand, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that LibLime is building features into their hosted version of LibLime that may not be rolled into the main version of Koha that is openly distributed. This became apparent during a user group meeting tha thappened at ALA, a loose transcript of which is included in this discussion. This release option is technically okay according to the terms of the license which is GPL V2 which says that only released code needs to be made available to the larger community. Some clients feel that this is against the spirit of what they thought they were purchasing which was code they’d have access to and that they could edit and/or alter themselves. Other large clients like WALDO want their investment in improvements protected, it seems.

LibLime has lost some staff recently and it is felt that there is a schism growing in the Koha community over this and related issues. I’d be interested to know if other people are running into this.

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