I’ve been trying to blog less right before a weekend — convenient time for me, less convenient for readers, but I read The Equinox Promise: An Open Letter to the Evergreen Community and felt that I should pass it along. The whole LibLime thing has been sort of upsetting both because they seemed to both totally adhere to the letter of the law [and the license] and so totally run roughshod over the spirit of the open source community. I think it’s safe to say that Koha wouldn’t be where it is now without the efforts of LibLime, but I’m a little more concerned thatn usual for where it’s going. Ever since the Evergreen Conference that I went to, where I got to hang around with a lot of really excited and capable people, I’ve been pretty jazzed about Evergreen as well. Here’s hoping…
“Meanwhile, if there is high ground to be had, I doubt it is currently occupied by LibLime.”
Roy Tennant explains what’s been going on at LibLime and links to a longer post at Library Matters. LibLime’s version of this announcement, on their news feed, is not very encouraging. As someone working with a tiny library and a free version of Koha, I’m particularly disappointed in the libraries that are helping bankroll this and are not pushing for more openness in terms of release dates for code and better communication all around. Meanwhile Nicole Engard whose work I respect a lot has taken a job at Bywater Solutions. They are lucky to have her.
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.
I subscribe to the LibLime news blog which is often announcements of libraries that have decided to go with Koha. It’s an interesting blog, I’m always curious who decides to go to the Open Source route. This latest announcement about the Derby Public Library cheered me because not only are they going with Koha, they’re implementing YakPac which is a kid-specific OPAC that still has a huge degree of functionality. I show it off a lot in my 2.0 talks because it’s engaging and entertaining and represents the answer to the question “how far can you go with the OPAC?” without a lot of bells and whistles, just fun easy-to-use design.
I’ve been travelling and working more than I’ve been surfing and sharing lately. That will change this Summer, but for now it’s the reality of what seems to be The Conference Season. Here are some nifty links that people have sent me, and ones that I have noticed over the past few weeks. Sort of a random grab bag.
- Some introspection and questions from a special collections blogger. “Why do this anyways?” If you have suggestions or comments I’m sure she’d appreciate them.
- The MaintainIT project has a guest blogger from the Tonganoxie Public Library in rural Kansas. I’ve pointed to their website before as a way that a tiny library can make use of tech tools to really expand their presence and share a lot of information. Library director Sharon Moreland is detailing her library’s move from Sirsi to Koha and it makes for great reading.
- Speaking of library blogs, Seattle Public Library has one called Shelf Talk which falls solidly into the category of “blogs I’d read even if I weren’t reading blogs for work” Right up top there’s an interview with Cory Doctorow talking about his new book Little Brother. Also noted is every librarians favorite category: lists, booklists to be exact. The blog manages to intersperse library information, local lore and trivia and book topics in a lively and attractive package. It’s a great model of what a library blog can be. Yay team!
- Dear New York Public Library, please do not invade the Andrew Heiskell Library Braille Collection (the only browseable collection of books for the blind and visually impaired in NYC) by relocating the Technology Unit there. Thanks. More info on facebook.
- Original Spiderman origin artwork donated to Library of Congress.
- Not exactly library related, but this TED talk with James Howard Kunstler talking about the despair of suburbia and the importance of creating inspired public spaces as “manifestations of the common good” is worth watching. 20 minutes.