It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership

KGS, It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership: It truly takes a village — in many senses of that phrase. The health of an open source project, particularly for software developed for people who are not developers, depends on true diversity in participation — developers, librarians, sage administrators, brash young folks willing to experiment — and an honest acknowledgment that healthy project leadership will be inclusive of all these roles.

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Culture clash

The lesson for librarians is that an MLIS (or your pride in working without bothering to have one) does not make you master of all you survey. The culture of a library does not mesh all that well with the FLOSS world as the two world share mutual regard of each other as utterly alien. In the FLOSS world LibLime did something distasteful but not wrong. As far as the Software Freedom Law Center was concerned, this was not a license violation but rather just a political matter beyond the license. The contracting library should not have asked such terms of a vendor and that instead is the behavior that is problematic in the situation rather than the vendor's.

If this really were that severe of a case, why hasn't anybody done a proper fork and developed a separate stream to the open Koha code? Ubuntu is after all a fork of Debian and while the two interoperate they serve fairly different audiences these days. Without an equivalent to Mark Shuttleworth in the library world to make that happen, though, I doubt anybody would have the resources to throw behind such a project.
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Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS
PGP KeyID: DC5A625B

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