Comrades in Arms

Yesterday we had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with 7 of our colleagues from the Eastern Shore Regional Libraries.  As comrades in the Open Source it was great to hear what they have done (Zimbra, Evergreen) and share our stories as well (DeskNow, Koha, Groovix).  We also had a conference call with Michael Pardee, creator of Open-Sense Solutions, so they could speak with him about our PAC desktop and staff desktop.  It was really great to see what we had in common besides our interest in open source.  Libraries no matter what the size or demographic of their customers still experience some basic commonality.

My boss, Amy De Groff, suggested a wonderful idea – that our two groups meet quarterly.  Let’s interact, let’s collaborate, let’s exchange ideas and help each other.  Very much what open source is based on.  Kismet that 2 ladies from ESRL as well as my boss and our web programmer will be presenting at Computers in Libraries 2009 (back to back presentations).  We look forward to forging this new partnership with our fellow open sourcers on the Eastern Shore (whether or not we can come over during crab season or not).

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Give Peace a Chance

A phrase was used the other day at a meeting that just didn’t sit right with me.  “Not to start the open source wars again….

This bothered me because I don’t see any reason or need for there to be a war, battle, skirmish, contention whatever.  Why can’t we all just get along and accept that different open source products work for different people?  So you prefer Ubuntu or Suse or Koha or Evergreen or Joomla or Drupal…I’m just happy that you are thinking about, exploring, using an open source product.  Do I care if your library prefers one of these over another?  No, and nor should you.

One of the beauties of open source is the community.  But it doesn’t help if the different factions of this community are more concerned with their product being number 1 or the best that they can’t learn from each others product of choice.  What does Product X do better than Product Y – take that idea and incorporate it into Product Y to make it better for you then share it with the rest of the community.  What works for me may not work for you and your library – that needs to be acknowledged and accepted.  Difference of opinion is beautiful when done correctly.  When you share with me your ideas (not cram down my throat or proselytize) and let me decide what works for me then true collaboration can take place.

Call me a bleeding heart liberal, call me a flower child but all I’m saying is give peace (and open source a try).