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KohaCon10: History of Koha

Oct - 25 - 2010
Nicole C. Engard

Paul Poulain from BibLibre was first after lunch to give us the history of Koha.

He started with a recap of what we heard from Rosalie on the first day – Koha was developed to meet the needs of of HLT, and only HLT. Koha is full of firsts:

  • it used agile development before there was any real definition of ‘agile development’
  • it was the first fully web based system
  • it was delivered on time!
  • it was not developed as a vendor product

In order to have open source software you can’t just give it an open source license you also have to release it for more than just developers. You need a website that ‘non-techie’ people can read and understand. In September 2000 two new developers submitted patches (developers who were not from Katipo), but it’s interesting to note that those two did not submit patches after that – they jumped into the project to scratch an itch and then jumped out.

Next up was the spread to Non-English speaking countries. This meant that developers needed to find a way to easily translate Koha to other languages (before this it was not easy to translate). In 2002 Koha 1.2 was released along with the introduction of Bugzilla for tracking bugs, a new wiki for shared documentation, the use of HTML::Template to make translations easier and the decision to add MARC support.

Also by the end of 2002 the 17th committer to Koha was recorded – this means a 17th person joined the project and started writing code. This meant that Koha needed to create some sort of structure. The first release team included a Kaitiaki, a release manager, a release maintainer, a QA manager and a documentation manager. This way people know who to contact if they wanted to add to the documentation or submit a patch.

From 2003 to 2005 the software grew very strong. New features were added like MARC (including authorities), Serials, Statistics, Import tools and an Advanced OPAC. By end of 2005 there was yet another release team elected to manage the direction of Koha. In 2006, when development of 3.0 started, libraries were finding that Koha couldn’t handle searching large collections so the team decided to choose Zebra to help with searching. This year was also the first KohaCon in France where over 120 people attended.

From here on forward things just kept moving and growing!! 2010 is here now and we’re moving Koha along with great new features, new developers, new community members, etc etc. We have reached the point where Koha is seen as a tool that is reliable, efficient and functionally complete (as complete as any growing software product can be).

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