By David Brooks:
Why would your local library, a symbol of print-on-paper respectability, embrace open-source software, a symbol of the digital world’s most anti-establishment streak?
Money, mostly. Open-source software, which can be used and tweaked by anybody and which carries no corporate charges, is reasonably close to being free.
But that’s the only reason, say some area librarians who are about to switch circulation, acquisitions, Web development, and other functions to one of two major open-source systems for libraries, called Evergreen and Koha.
“With proprietary (software), if you want an enhancement, a new feature, you’ll have to wait until demand builds for it. With Evergreen and Koha, you have access to a developer network worldwide that can work on it,” said Charlie Matthews, director of the Rodgers Library in Hudson. It is about to switch to Evergreen, originally developed for the Georgia state library system.