Chris Cormack from Catalyst IT is one of the founders of Koha, an open source ILS, and one of the lead developers. He gave a talk on Koha today, but focused more on the free software, caring, sharing, and community.
- freed to run the program, for any purpose
- freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (access to the source code is a precondition to this)
- freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour
- freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others
Why Free Software?
- end goal is freedom
- open source puts the emphasis on the development model
- free software puts the emphasis on freedom
- free software allows to weed, expand collection, and share
- pile of code and documentation
- more importantly, Koha is a community
- widespread, fairly sized community with159 committers from every continent except Antartica
- 35% women, partly because librarianship dominated by women, partly because of how it developed
- 11+ years of development and an average 3.7 commits/day
- New Zealand libraries had a suboptimum ILS, and was not legally allowed to fix it
- wrote RPS and got responses, but none worked for their requirements
- some requirements were unique to New Zeland e.g. had to work on phone lines because of electric fences
- decided to develop their own
If you would like to know more, there is a code4lib article on its forming.
What to do when things go wrong
- project forked for various reasons: blog post on the split
- but community became a lot stronger
- with focus on the users
- koha-community.org >> & =! koha.org
- Bug Enhancement Workflow (in response to a question)
Chris Cormack also gets extra thumbs up for encouraging library students to report bugs as part of their assignment by giving us chocolate! I will have to post our Koha vs. Evergreen Circulation Module Evaluation later.