Why is it that when open source is mentioned some people (librarians/techies/programmers/etc) get mean? I have not had a chance to readby Paul N. Couran (Principal Investigator) and Rebecca J. Griffith – but after reading some comments I will be making time today.
I suspect the the combination of open source and the reluctance of vendors to keep their systems up to date will result result in the demise of significant number of commerical library vendors in the next five years. The poor performance and outdated products of commercial OPAC products is due largely to the disconnect between developers in software firms and their customers. This should be an advantage to library developers, and the timing to look at open source networks/incubators is ripe.
To which commenter bcarson responds:
I have worked in five different public, academic and medical libraries and with five different library systems. (Innovative, NOTIS, Dynix, some Mac-based system whose name is the one thing I can’t remember about it, and a homegrown system that was easily the worst of the lot).
What ever happened to “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again”?
First – homegrown (to me) means built in-house. If you don’t have a programmer in-house that cares about libraries and what the librarians want and need – you’re going to get a substandard application. Our library has applications built by outside programmers and applications written by me – and if I do say so myself, the time I spend researching our librarians needs far outweighs the time the outsiders spent. This is why you want a librarian or library supporter to write your code – not a computer programmer who thinks he/she knows what’s best despite the cries of the staff.
Second – just because you tried one “homegrown” application does not mean that all open source options are bad! Open source is just now coming into its own – it’s growing in support – which means it’s growing in user base – which means you have a much large community to help support and upgrade your application. And with some/most open source applications – it costs you nothing but time to give it a try before bashing it.
I will be able to stop giving money away to a company for support every year and use that money to add the bells and whistles that I want to my system. The only problem with the additions I make, Hmmm…. I have to share them with others. Wow, what is one of the major components of a librarian — we share. I think open source will be a great way to go.
She too is met with a skeptical (and rather rude) commenter (on her blog post – not her comment).
It just makes me angry when people dismiss open source because it’s free or because it’s not supported by a big company. As far as I’m concerned big companies are great – but they’re full of faceless people who don’t know me or my library. If I can develop (and support) something for my library or any other library and then am given the opportunity to share that code with other libraries to make their lives easier – I’m all for it!
I agree with Darla – sharing is a major part of being a librarian – and open source is all about sharing – see the connection??