happy birthday to me, from the writer’s desk

I always skip my blog’s birthday because it’s 4/20 which is on or near Earth Day, the holiday of stoners everywhere, and usually school vacation. So hey, my blog is now eleven! And I write in it much less than I used to. Partly this is because I’ve got a 1000 word/day minimum writing deal with myself getting my book out the door. I just noticed you can pre-order it from Amazon which sort of freaks me out. I set up a page for the book but there’s really nothing there yet. I hope the cover looks okay. Partly I’ve been doing a lot of other things. Though my crazy six weeks of travel is over — with a whimper, not a bang, since I didn’t get to PLA which displeases me — I’ve been doing my tech work in town and started riding my bike around a lot more. Spring is delightful here.

I’m still answering a lot of library-type emails on behalf of the casino utan svensk licens (someone looking for a copy of DDC 20, got one?) and working at MetaFilter which contains more than its share of writing. I seem to be pouring more of my “this is why the digital divide is important” efforts into the book, though I’ve been pulling out little snippets here and there.

And I gave a talk about Open Source and why it’s important to small libraries at a local conference for educators recently. The notes for the talk are here: Solving Problems with FOSS- What works and doesn’t work in Vermont’s Libraries. It was a great talk but I think I aimed it for more of a library-ish audience and teachers and IT folks have different goals. I did get to talk to a lot of people in my region about what sorts of tech things work and don’t work, and saw a great presentation about MYTH-TV, an open source alternative to home DVR stuff. Fascinating stuff. Interesting times.

Photo is from this post at inhabitat about this art exhibit.

what happens when you don’t get what you pay for

Nicole wonders aloud why people who paid for an Open Source OPAC from LibLime aren’t raising hell when they are instead pressured to accept the closer-source version instead?

So why are these librarians taking it? Why are they being quiet? I don’t have an answer for you – and so I’m hoping someone out there can answer this for me. If you signed a contract for one product and then are told you have to use another – do you just say okay? or do you move on or demand the product you originally wanted. I think that the result of the Queens Library law suit will be very interesting – but I’m shocked that this is the first!! Librarians have been just taking these hits and coming back for more.

SirsiDynix Corp lobby paper against Open Source technologies

Interesting thing in my inbox today from WikiLeaks. Read it and see what you think about it. Any SirsiDynix customers actually receive this and want to go on the record about it? From the WikiLeaks page:

This document was released only to a select number of existing customers of the company SirsiDynix, a proprietary library automation software vendor. It has not been released more broadly specifically because of the misinformation about open source software and possible libel per se against certain competitors contained therein.

SirsiDynix is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with one of the largest public libraries in the U.S. (Queens Borough, NY) and this document does illustrate the less-than-ethical nature of this company.

The source states that the document should be leaked so that everyone can see to what extent SirsiDynix will attempt to spread falsehoods and smear open source and the proponents of open source.

Friday afternoon posts about important things

In the habit I seem to be in of writing posts about topics I deeply care about, here is a late Friday post about Open Source library catalogs. I was at an in-service day at the Howe Library in Hanover on Monday talking about Open Source. I gave a version of a talk I gave in Athens GA at the Evergreen conference, back when my OS project was still looking all shiny and before the LibLime implosion (and Nicole’s departure) and before Karen took a cool job on the West Coast. The talk was fun, well-received and then we had lunch together and talked some.

In the course of talking to various librarians, it became clear that there are a lot of separate OS projects going on in New England. There’s the VOKAL project which I’m loosely involved with — and I get to work with Nicole because Bywater has the support contract! — and the VT state librarian has been talking about a statewide catalog. New Hampshire is looking at a similar thing, though I’m not sure how far along they are. And I’ve been talking back and forth with Brian Herzog about the MA Open Source Project. Looks like they’re hiring a coordinator! I only wish I could go to either one of these presentations but I’m off following my own different drummer to the Iowa Library Conference and then to BitNorth in Montreal the following weekend. If anyone goes, please do let me know how it goes. Exciting times.

an open letter to the Evergreen Community

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…