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Unix or Windows for your Automated Catalog?


This was recently sent to the Web4Lib E-Mail list service:

Dear Colleagues,

Our library is in the process of selecting a new automated system. We are a medium-sized library with 30 service points, one of which is a large central library. Our current platform is off the table as an issue, as is any expertise I bring to the discussion after twenty odd years of automating libraries. Since I've been told that I -- as a mere librarian -- do not have the requisite perspective to make such a decision, I was wondering if you all would be willing to help me out?

What are the pluses, and minuses, of each platform? Thanks for your assistance.

I thought this to be an interesting question that warranted some discussion here.

Windows has the disadvantage of requiring so many service packs, and of course needing the reboot after. As for Unix, I found that vendors don't upkeep the Operating System for you, so unless there is someone on staff who is not afraid to get their hands dirty, you might wind up with a system that can be easily compromised. What do other LISNews users say?


I'd say you're almost right on your Windows/Unix comparison, though most Unix variation do come with (not free) support, and many versions of Linux are the same way. Support is out there for most things in the Open Source world, if you're willing to pay.Personally I'm a Linux guy, so I'd suggest going that way, but I tend to be biased.

I can tell you that III does a shoddy job of admining their welded shut boxes.

You are quite correct, I think. Although in the original post I should have been more specific: quoting "library system cendors" instead of just plain "vendors".I've also had the displeasure once of "discussing" with a vendor about at what point a product was broken: Not the implimentation, or the vendor library software; but because of the perticular setup being quite unique, it revealed a bug at the tcp/ip level of the operating system: Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. This "discussion" went on for two weeks until I got fed up and went with the correct solution offered to me from a completely different source, which did fix the problem.