When asked to complete this sentence “Open Source is….” the answers were as follows:
|Please complete the following sentence. Open Source Is…||
|Free of cost||
|Too hard to learn||
|Written by kids in their garage||
|Too new and unproven||
|The way all programs started||
|All I’ll use||
|Not worth my time||
|… I don’t know||
|Is peer reviewed||
|Used in several fields including business, science and academia||
The following 299 people decided to clarify their answers further (the only edits made were some minor spelling errors):
- Unsupported & Free of cost~ our tech. department would disagree with both b/c their time in using it and making adjustments to it would not be free.
- Open Source conceptually is many different, often contradictory, things in my mind because of the variation in quality between projects.
- Level/quality of documentation & support depends entirely on the individual software. I’ve learned not to make broad generalizations about the quality & safety of “open source” and to judge each piece of software on its individual merits.
- Not all open source is poorly documented. However, the ones that I’m interested in happen to be that way.
- I don’t know enough about open source software except that I would love to learn more, and determine if it would be applicable where I work.
- This really depends on what open source project you are talking about.
- Open source is the correct way to write software.
- There are lots of advantages to using open source, including customizability, freedom to use software as we see fit, etc. There can be downsides of course – documentation is not always great, it can cost more from a staff perspective, and the process of developing and working with a community can be challenging.
- These generalizations hold true of open source as they hold true of all software.
- Maybe it’s not all I’ll use, but I certainly prefer the flexibility and the community ready to provide feedback and support. But I’ll be the first to admit that nothing sucks more than when a project is just abandoned.
- I would characterize open source as my selections above show. However, I know that MPOW feels differently.
- Open Source works great, however it can be risky in the sense that there can be a huge learning curve and support-issues — though this is more dependent on someone being new to it rather than there not being adequate documentation. The issue may be that a newbie can’t really understand all the documentation.
- My recent problems with open source have come because the software I needed had been abandoned, yet was still available on sourceforge.
- There are ones that are supported and those that are not. Some are widely used, others not so much…it’s a mix and you have to evaluate what’s available and proven and might be around. Meredith Farkas just did a post on this…
- I’m not an all or nothing-type person. It depends on the situation and solutions.
- All of these phrases pigeonhole open source software. The reality is that there is a wide range of maturity in open source software, from apache’s webserver on one end of the spectrum to 0-day freshmeat on the other.
- i’ve had good luck with software with huge installed bases and an active community, like WordPress, but i’m reluctant to try niche products.
- Can be… …Insecure …Too hard to learn …Poorly documented …Widely supported …Too new and unproven Depends on what open source application you’re considering.
- It can be many of the above, there’s lots out there.
- Open source is not always free of cost because human resources are often required to develop and customize tools, but I would say that is a smarter investment than paying for software.
- Open source is too broad to realistic choose from those labels above. In fact, most of them could be applied equally to many prominent examples of both open and non-open source software. The best open source software is characterised by strong community support, peer review, robust design, innovation, flexible implementation, and response to users needs. The worst is not. I believe that there are far more open source projects that fit this “best of breed” description than there are commercial applications (which are more often mediocre or “barely good enough”).
- Although Open Source seems free of cost for business, I believe it is actually low cost as there are costs associated in installing and maintaining.
- Open source is particularly effective in research that requires repeatability and an open model of inquiry, as in scientific research.
- I am an advocate for open source software. One of my qualms about it, however, is often the poor or inconsistent documentation.
- Widely adopted open source software often provides libraries with excellent tools for improving libraries’ digital services. We use open source technologies extensively.
- The best thing about open source is that our library isn’t tied to a single vendor for support nor limited with what we can do with the system. If there’s a feature that we can add using our in-house expertise, we do it and contribute it back to the community. Other members in the community have benefited from our contributions just as we have benefited from theirs. Anything beyond our abilities is passed on to our chosen vendor, just as with commercial software.
- The only reason I chose “poorly documented” is because I have found that the help documentation in OS systems is sub-standard.
- I have seen group adopt open source products, only to discover support is haphazard and they don’t have the resources to customize it.
- for me, the freedom to hacking is the first reason
- Can be Complicated to install and use.
- It’s risky for us because we don’t have a large IT staff. We’d need something with support, which is where the cost comes in.
- I’m new to it and very happy with my experiences so far
- I use Linux, Firefox, and Open Office all the time. They work great, and offer highly customize-able features. They represent collaborative efforts toward information technologies–like libraries.
- Admittedly, open source is not always completely free of any type of cost. However, there are many wonderful open source programs that ARE free in any sense.
- I use several OSS
- While much maligned, I like the fact that occasionally open source software has developers who are kids in their garage. But that’s part of my sympathetic/idol worship of the Silicon Valley folks and the fact that I was a kid (not in the garage) and able to contribute to open source projects. Kids have a lot of time and are excited to learn things. Sadly a lot of kids in garage end up forming closed source companies. Steve Jobs for example…
- I firmly believe open source software should be evaluated like any other software. It might be free to acquire but it is not free to maintain/administer. Some are brilliantly documented and supported, others aren’t. When something goes wrong you don’t have a contract you can wave threateningly at a vendor, but I’m finding that if you have the expertise at your disposal you can prototype services rapidly with little investment. It’s not a panacea and it’s not dismissable. It’s another tool at my disposal,
- I’ve chosen responses that apply to a generic open source software package. If you had asked about a specific package, my answers might have been different.
- opensource is a free os to use and any other
- I selected those choices when thinking about library open source. I think I would add things like ‘Proven’, ‘Community’, ‘Widely supported’ when thinking about open source in general, as it is incredibly important and heavily used in many areas of information technology. Library open source projects do not yet have as broadly based communities or as many years of enhancement under their belt to be as reliable.
- It is a natural fit with libraries having low budgets
- Am using Linux.
- QSS makes available technology that would otherwise be unobtainable for many organisations and makes a positive contribution to economic progress.
- Both all of the above and none of the above . If you prefixed your question with ‘Some’, you could tick most of them
- Open Source is a very good software solution if you are willing to investigate what works.
- Free of cost is limited to licence, there are of course other costs (hardware etc)
- There are reservations about open source software even in our institution. We have the chance to prove in a sponsored project now, OSS is ready for running large scale library applications (no question…). The critical risks we identified while planning that project, were not on the OSS side (there are some risks with that too, of course), but on the side of our legacy commercial systems: Are they open enough/Can we open them to support our OS application? Because we still need those dinosaur backends… We were putting a lot of effort into hacking enhancements and fixing bugs into those legacy systems we don’t get (in time) from our vendors in recent time (interfaces like OAI, Shibboleth, bugs somewhere down on the project plan etc.). But we get very poor solutions for that effort (because of lack of documentation, closed APIs, “political coding”, licensing issues etc.) and even don’t really “own” the results we produce. Putting that effort into open source projects would be much more paying (and fun) in my eyes. And it could contribute to better solutions for the whole business instead of risky hacks for us alone.
- You have to look at every program each self.
- Open source is a highly viable option, but it could do with better documentation!
- Always keep in mind: Free as in free speech, only sometimes free as in free beer.
- Risky — mainly because it is misunderstood, and more likely to get you in trouble with administration than proprietary software…
- It’s about freedom to quickly try it out and fix problems in the code or with the functionality (or have them fixed).
- I embrace F(L)OSS, but not all projects are well maintained, developed or documented, so if you are on a budget it is important to look hard before choosing OSS as a solution to our client libraries.
- I enjoy the freedom open source software provides me particularly in my work. but i do find it takes a little more up front work to get it going.
- I don’t think we can give one or the other quality: there are projects which are so well developed that you can use them straight forwards without almost any specific knowledge… but for others you need to be an IT person to get it work.
- risky: chances are higher that open source projects die as compared to commercial ones poorly documented: again, chances are higher – but there are also many cases of poorly documented commercial sofrware
- This is the first time I have heard of it.
- I’m hedging my bets in the checks above – it is true that a lot of open source (Mozilla, Linux, Solaris, Greenstone, KOHA, etc) software is well-documented and supported, there are cases where less-popular packages are not as well supported or documented, which can mean that choosing a less-popular software package can be a bit risky. It’s also true that some of the programmers are kids who are working (essentially) in their garages – however I recognize that this is not always the case, nor is it the norm. I’m very much in favor of open-source software packages because they do offer much more in terms of freedom and customizability, and I love the pedagogy of community which goes into their development.
- Open Source is free of licensing costs, but still requires a cost overhead – be that internal staff resource or external support. Generally cheaper than proprietary though. Real benefit is in terms of the open-ness & customisability of the applications – enables far more agile development to meet rapidly changing needs than we’ve seen so far from the traditional vendor sector
- It’s a great tool like others that you have to learn to use it, but offers flexibility if you are willing to invest time to explore its potential.
- Those in the know, know its advantages etc, but those who are not technical, are scared of it through ignorance of wnat open source means. Uptake will not significantly increase until this is addressed
- Important to say is fact, that there is no one open source software like another.
- I would have also checked widely supported, but that depends on the product. Some are widely used and have an active support community and others don’t.
- Insecure: it is insecure on our island (Curaçao); we want to have fysical support options, but there are hardly any options at the moment. Too new and unproven: especially regarding library systems. In combination with not many libraries in our area that use for instance Koha, it is difficult to cross the barrier and transfer to open source.
- Open source isn’t free; it’s just paid for in labor instead of money.
- I wouldn’t say risky, but might say somewhat risky. Yes it is customizable, but without staff on board who can do it, will still cost money, maybe more than we pay now.
- Some projects are well-documented, others are poorly documented. Same with support.
- As a developer, open source is certainly my preference
- I use OSS all the time but I’m realistic about it’s drawbacks, too. 🙂
- I believe there is some “open source” software that requires fees for for-profit use. I was also leaning towards selecting “too hard to learn,” but I know that is not necessarily true and certainly isn’t applicable to all open source software.
- Depends on the tool. We use some and not others. DSpace required java expertise we didn’t have, plus local server space we didn’t have, and didn’t offer journal publication backend, so we chose Bepress. But we use blog and wiki software.
- Much is well supported IE: apache, Open Office, openSUSE. But at the same time it can be daunting to find specific answers. I have spent hours googling on problems.
- I use open source for many projects and it is generally customizable because you can get right to the code. Usually there is a large community of users to ask questions and get support from.
- Overall, I really love the options & support communities that open source offers but I think that libraries are often behind the times in supporting open source
- Not all projects are poorly documented, but in general terms, most are.
- I’m not a programmer, but I work with two of them. They really like open source, but depending on what it is, they prefer that we purchase a proprietary program. For example, we decided to buy a subscription to LibGuides rather than go with an open source version due to the large amount of time our programmers would have to spend with it–they are needed for other projects more.
- We are currently using VuFind which seems to have some potential, but documentation is extremely lacking/poor and certain concepts such as the use of uniform titles is lacking. . . .
- While it is “free,” nothing is “free of cost.” There are always indirect costs of ownership. I used “peer reviewed” because if it isn’t used, it dies on the vine. The more it is used and supported by the user community, the better it gets.
- Open source vs. Commercial products is a balance. Open source is free but often requires more technical know how and aptitude. Commercial products have a cost up front, but often you do not need a lot of expertise. It’s more out of the box stuff. Open source software with a robust community probably has the same risk as any commercial product.
- We use Koha
- although free to acquire in house expertise is often required which can often be overlooked as a cost factor; may be hard to learn but not necessarily too hard; can be risky but so can commercial software;
- Some is unsupported and undocumented, but some is widely supported and beautifully documented – depends on the software and the developers. I wish they’d let us use it here where I work, but it’s the government, and I think they’re afraid of it.
- It’s hard to choose options like “widely supported” or “proven” for open source in general — there are lots of open source projects that are all but abandoned, while others (Firefox, WordPress, Drupal, Koha) are thriving.
- There are many different modalities that Open Software uses to manifest itself, some of them conflicting, so its not an easy win, but also not an option people can disregard when chosing software.
- Free of cost but unsupported well not un, but you have to buy, organize it or something, which costs money
- Having been on Horizon for many years and then having the rug pulled out from under us after Vista Equity took over SirsiDynix, I’m too leary of proprietary software. I’d rather cast my lot with open source.
- Heard of open source but haven’t used that I knew about. I don’t think it is a bad thing.
- In a solo library in a corporation you need to deal with non-library IT departments wedded to what they know. They don’t want to know OpenSource. They have agreements with MS.
- Nothing is risk-free; our job is to manage the risk. Open-source, as we use it, allows us to customize services to students and avoid some of the overheads in proprietary systems that require “user education.”
- I only use an Open Source word suite at home and have a linux laptop.
- Offers some freedoms. Not just widely supported but gaining support.
- free of cost at the outset but there are hidden costs.
- It’s a mixed bag, some good, some bad, some well documented some not.
- Not all open source is good, and conversely, not all proprietary software is bad. “Evangelism” implies casting a blind eye at weaknesses, and a bias against that which is not being evangelized. OS should be considered and implemented as part of the overall solution for IT problems, but not chosen simply because of a philosophy.
- One of the biggest problems with open source software is the lack of support. In one sense, this comes with the territory of non-proprietary software. However, as the OS community continues to expand, I’m hopeful that service will improve. At the very least, it’s nice that the open-source alternative exists.
- I think lots of front-line folks would like to use open source solutions, but IT and admin depts are concerned of the lack of support that contracts offer (which a few firms using OS solutions have, but not many).
- Yes, it is risky – but everything in life is risky. Just learn as much as you can – and document your decision when you decide to take the plunge.
- It basically depends on the software. Some are great and some are iffy.
- Selection of Unsupported and Too New and Unproven are acceptable in a test bed or proof of concept environment. Not all open source software falls into the same categories
- The freedom to customize is the best.
- My perspective in answering these questions is that of a web programmer/developer.
- I love that open sources software is flexible and community-driven, as well as often free or very affordable, but I do feel it helps to have someone on staff with some programming knowledge to be able to tweak and support it, at least at a basic level.
- I am running open source products for most of my computing needs.
- I like using it in small doses but trying to switch from MS Office to Open Office is too time consuming (staff buy-in and training mostly) right now.
- I’m not tech oriented – I fear moving to open source and then having it “go away” and being left stranded – also puts 100% responsibility on the user
- We are a small public library. I am “it” when it comes to vetting new software/ILS for our library. I’m not a techie, by any means, and I simply don’t have time to do the research!
- It’s risky because it’s dependent on having an IT staff that is willing to learn and be active in the Open Source community.
- I check both unsupported and supported. I think that most Open Source projects have great community support, but they do not offer the same type of support as most commercial products do. No one is obligated to give support.
- It is free but then there are upgrades that cost money. I feel isolated with regard to training.
- the truth is, I don’t really know definitively what open source is, so eveything I think it is may be wrong.
- Choosing virtually any of the items above would be far too absolute at best and fundamentally misleading at worst. It all depends on what particular open-source product is being considered. One product may be “widely supported” while another may have no support at all. Many do not focus on security while others have that as their primary function. This is a poorly worded question.
- I checked insecure, and I did not check free of cost, because there is a cost of having someone on staff to maintain the code, if necessary, and to know that add-ons are not buggy. It may be peer reviewed, so long as anonymous cheer leading and heckling are not mistaken for peer review. I need to know the reputation of the peer reviewing it.
- Free of cost. Typically OSS is free from initial purchase cost, but like all software does frequently require an investment of time (=money) and sometimes (paid) support.
- I believe one needs a talented inhouse programmer who understands code in order to make open source successful.
- A bit unreliable occasionally and a bit tricky to figure out new programs, but still a cost-effective way to go and offers many options
- Yeah–actually I was tempted not to check anything, as I think it’s wrong to say that ALL open source software (OSS) is one way and ALL proprietary software is another way. However, I think in some circles there’s still a lot of general negativity/suspicion of OSS–and certainly companies that compete with OSS do spread FUD about it. I think it’s fair to say that OSS–again, in general–is (or can be) better than a lot of people think. Anyway, I’m neither an OSS zealot nor a detractor–I think the open source model does produce good software; proprietary models can produce good software, as well. “Risky” is the only thing I feel I should really qualify–I think both OSS and proprietary software are risky, just in different ways.
- Open source is risky because it surely can fail, be poorly documented, be poorly supported… (that is to say, it is just like commercial software ;). But when open source projects live to maturity they often take a stable place in the “best of class” category for their application type, going head to head with commercial competitors and even beating them for performance and features. Mature open source projects tend to have better documentation and support than their commercial competitors too.
- I believe it would be extremely freeing to use an open source system; however, I also think it would require a hefty comittment from all the librarians and particularly the tech and systems folks.
- Some programs have little support while others have lots of support, so it is hit or miss there.
- There’s so many diverse open source apps out there, some are proven, which I use all the time, larger apps (e.g. library systems) have an element of risk for a large academic site, but they are worth considering with that risk given the potential speed of development.
- Could be any of the above, of course, but OSS I’d use would be the ones I checked. Proven–well, maybe.
- An additional OTHER: Very useful in some situations, but not inherently always superior to closed-source projects. (And the same goes for closed-source.) 2. Where’s the middle ground (or at least non-charged language) in these options? I’m neither an open source zealot nor a closed source luddite, but that seems to be the only opinions reflected in almost all of the above options!
- source code is free but there is a cost for local development. Customizing it creates proprietary software.
- I am aware open source software can cost money, though I rarely use any programs which do
- Unsupported unless you are willing to pay someone to support it. Then there is little difference from a proprietary system.
- Some are poorly documented. Not all. That’s been improving over time.
- While it is risky, the benefits, cost and freedom from the confines of traditional ILS’s is sometimes worth the risk.
- You can customize Open source, as long as you have programmer time to use. You can make a software your own. Open Source is also about community as it’s its main force
- The software is free, but costs include time and manpower and at times support that can be purchased.
- ‘Written by kids in their garage’ is not meant pejoratively. It speaks to the wide community that can be drawed upon to contribute to the software.
- Richard Stallman loves to dance with GNU.
- Some OSS can be accused of being “Poorly documented” but it is as good as you want it to be OR as with proprietary software as good as you will pay for it to be i.e. funding documentation (or development etc.).
- There are too many myths surrounding open source some good and some bad. Of course not all of it is absolutely free but it does give you more power to customize and mix and match with other open source programs which is almost NEVER the case with privately owned software.
- Open source has really fallen on its face, a few years ago I thought it was going to take root but it didn’t. The problem is that you don’t have a go to person for code problems and you also don’t have consistent upgrades and program problem solving.
- Risk isn’t always a bad thing!
- I choose ‘poorly documented’ to refer to ‘scantily/informally documented’ rather than badly documented.
- People tend to take extreme views on both sides of the argument. Both of those views are wrong. Open source has its advantages but it also has significant disadvantages, just like commerical software.
- Open source varies widely in quality. One must take that into account when selecting any software package, particularly in mission-critical operations. I want software that is reliable–that is my first priority.
- I’ve used three open source CMS systems and have found that Plone has the best documentation. Drupal documentation is written by developers for developers. The learning curve may be greater in Drupal because of the lack of good documentation.
- Open Source holds promise, but unless a library has a solid IT department or can find someone to support their system, they can’t expect to find a cheap solution that will run trouble-free that they can use to replace their ILS. And believe me – I’d love to find a substitute for my ILS!!!
- A lot of potentially very useful “long tail” projects, and some larger ones, are under-documented to the point of not being worth the time to reverse-engineer.
- it’s all of these! some OSS is very poorly written and unsupported whereas other OSS is robust, reliable, secure. No matter what, it’s not free or customizable – you need servers and people who know what they’re doing to make it work, whether you outsource or do in house
- From my experience with open source I have found that the ease of use is comparable to or better than products that have fees attached. It is our best interest to seek out resources that do not cost anything and can still work for our community needs. Open source promotes sharing and partnerships with other organizations and groups.
- Open source seems fine on the surface, with the ability to customize and share to one’s heart’s desire; however, the truth is in a library setting, you need a dedicated individual who can continuously improve and maintain the software. Without such a person, development and maintenance of Open Source anything can be extremely expensive and is often cost prohibitive.
- I support and use OSS apps as in my 3.5 years in the library world I have noticed how much vendors take advantage of libraries with fees and limitation of applications. OSS provides the flexibility and freedom libs require to offer services in a cost effective approach.
- The prevalent view that open source is not widely supported is groundless. There are often thousands of people available to help with problems, and fixes that are unwise are quickly rooted out by others in the community.
- I’m an open source supporter, but it can be a risk. As a worker in a medium library that is part of a very large system, I have never been able to convince my tech department and admin to go open source as a system wide endeavor. However, I do use it personally when possible.
- At present we do not have the IT team to support Open Source nor do we wish to hire or can afford an IT team to manage Open Source
- The _concept_ of open source is proven; individual titles may or may not be. Some open source titles are “peer reviewed” (somewhat loosely defined), and others aren’t, so I didn’t check that one.
- Open Source is such a broad topic since every organization uses some Open Source (TCP/IP, DNS, FTP).
- I would also like to add “often poorly documented” to the choices – it isn’t always, but more often than not
- I often use open source software both in the library and in my home computing. However, I’ve found that some open source software is really difficult for a person without solid programming knowledge to install and use. Much of it is just as easy to use as the commercial brand, but I have had products where I opted for the commercial software because it was more streamlined.
- …I don’t know. Open Source software varies quite a bit in how easily applied and modified it is. My general assumption is that it will probably require more computer knowledge to maintain.
- Documentation & support is provided by the community of users. The software itself is free, but use of it requires an investment of someone’s time.
- I am grateful for free open source software because of the alternative they provide to expensive proprietary software.
- don’t know the meaning
- It all depends on which open source program you use. We can not speak about open source as homogeneous.
- Because it is the way all programs started and are used in several fields.
- I’m afraid that most people (especially those supporting large networks) see Open Source as something that will require a lot of extra work that they simply do not want to invest. Maybe it’s laziness or a fundamental lack-of-interest in learning new languages and software. They just don’t want to be bothered with having to set-up an entirely new network.
- Contrary to popular opinion, open source is not free of cost. The cost comes in the time needed to learn, support, and customize it yourself for your library’s needs. That said, open source products can still be a great alternative.
- We use OPALS as our integrated library system.
- OSS is *mostly* free of cost, but not all OSS is free of cost – therefore I did not check that checkbox.
- Don’t understand why more people/companies don’t use open office products.
- We have no budget. We use a lot of open source software but it is often limited, buggy, poorly supported, and poorly documented. Somehow we manage to keep going and get it working in the end. If we had the budget I would replace quite a bit of it immeadiatly. Some of it is really quite good though too.
- Its affordable.
- It’s hard to generalize about Open Source software. Some, like Linux, is well supported and documented but there is plenty out there untested, unsupported and more risky & requiring of technical knowledge to use.
- My answers speak for themselves.
- I only use FOSS on my personal computer, although my organization is strictly a M$ shop. I’m currently trying to get Open Office on branch computers, since most currently do not have a word processor at all.
- ok ..not quite all i use but darn close. I run Ubuntu on my laptop. The library uses Koha for ILS… but we do have an old DOS accounting program I use to keep the books….
- I am open to open source, but with a tiny sized staff, we need software that is easy to use and/or well-supported.
- I find a lot of open source requires installing a lot of different pieces and writing code in numerous files. It would be soooooo much easier if they had built a sophisticated installation program that would handle all of this and customization. Open Office and Firefox are good examples. Vufind and Koha are terrible to figure out.
- Some open source software is excellent, other is really dodgy.
- It’s free in the respect that the code is online and free to use. It’s cost is wrapped up in employing a programmer to take the code and massage it to work for you. There are some really good Open Office things out there that need no customization. I’m talking more about open source integrated library systems
- I’m speaking with Drupal in mind–it’s all I’ve had experience with
- Some OSS is insecure, some is not. Some OSS is free of cost, some is not. Some OSS is too hard to learn, some is not….
- I hesitated in NOT selecting “insecure” I’m still not 100% sure about its security.
- The existence of a dedicated community of users often makes up for lack of formal documentation; opportunity for innovation and customization is more important than a set of formal user manuals
- I prefer the term “free software”
- I believe that OpenSource software has been around long enough to be trustworthy and worth looking into.
- Excellent for web access technologies such as digital video, media players etc. – but not sure about long-term data storage and trusted repository functions
- It is free as in kittens – not as in beer. Which is why I didn’t choose “free of cost”. I also would have chosen: “Is not the right solution for everything”.
- I don’t think I’d say *all* programs started from open source but I know many have and some have gotten better after they became open source. Open source programs usually have active communities working on them to support other users, improve the programs, and allow for customization. With a little bit of research you can find what you need and figure out how to best use it. There’s probably a bigger time commitment than there would be with a purchase program, but it’s made up for not only with the monetary savings but with the knowledge gained. And using open source programs in a library can create great teaching opportunities with users.
- Open Source is very reliable in many times. It goes along with using standards. And it is fun! For example – Linux Apache, Firefox.
- I like to use it and think that it would be wonderful to use it more in academia but the truth also is that often it is not as proved as not Open Source software.
- While I realise there are cost implications when using open source software, such as staff time and customisation, it offers the freedom to experiment.
- The best thing is that it let you build on top of robust bricks new services for the common good.
- These are really sweeping statements! There’s a wide range of communities and technologies that are open source. Open source done well is the best option in my opinion, the model offers lots of benefits when done right. It can be done badly too, of course. Proprietary technologies also offer a range of quality too.
- OSS is definitly NOT free of cost but allow a better use of money (i.e. skills development for human resources)
- i think it is useful in some contexts However it is not a solution for all our endeavours.
- The freedom to use licensed software or open source. You are no longer tied to licensed software.
- Needs alot commitement (from users and decision makers)
- I’m a member of the Steering Committee of MassCat (a consortium of small libraries) which uses Koha. Tech support is via LibLime. When we chose Koha, we were under the impression is was more developed than it turned out to be. Most of the libraries are happy with it an are able to work around its shortcomings, but features are not yet as sophisticated as III’s Millenium, which I use as a patron.
- some of it actually might be written by kids in garages but that’s okay.
- I am interested in finding out more about Open Sources. We are considering Evergreen, but that is all I really “know” about. I need to read and discover!
- Seems too hard to learn, but I’m willing
- Open Source is the way to go
- I assume there must be something risky about it if IT is wary of it.
- Open source documentation is typically poor, but I consider this a fault of much closed-source / pay software as well. Open source is risky because of poor institutional support (or genuine resistance), especially in a large organization used to doing things via an outsourcing / pay software model. Open source is awesome because you can make it do what you want–if you have the time. Open source runs the Internet and, if properly managed, is typically far more stable than paid software.
- Respect to “poorly documented” not always but frequently
- In a very small public library we don’t have the staff to do it.
- The choices above are generalizations; for example, certainly not *all* open source software is “proven” or “peer reviewed”. But with 16 years of experience in IT, I truly believe that as a rule of thumb, unnecessary use of proprietary software is ignorant and irresponsible: a waste of money and other resources, loss of control over one’s own data, lack of control over the software one relies on, and potential legal liability.
- After the NEFLIN course in Open Source I realized some of the amazing, customizable programs that are out there for free. However our library administration is to scared to move away from SIRSI.
- Depending on the specific piece of open soft software, just about any term can apply.
- I really do not use it.
- Open source is really good for libraries
- varies from application to application.
- Above inforamtion gleaned by reading; didn’t really know much about OSS before working in Malawi. Windows makes users lazy!
- Open source support varies. Some is very well documented and supported, and some isn’t. Implementing open source software successfully usually involves some serious commitment and time on the part of Librarians and Library IT employees. It’s often worth doing, but we have to weigh the cost of time against the benefits of open source.
- Also is customizable.
- I picked a couple of antonym sets because some open source applications are risky and unsupported, while others are proven and very well supported.
- The above info has been gleaned from reading since working in Malawi; to be honest I didn’t know that much about OSS 18 months ago, except that it existed.
- Being open with software means there is a huge community of other users, all talking about their experiences, who can help you figure out how to make it do what you want
- Open Source allows for getting the ‘backbone’ free, but requires a great deal of time and expertise to customize. There is, however, a large community of users whose expressed purpose is to help each other with customization and enhancement.
- Support and documentation vary widely. Big name projects have decent documentation and a large enough user base for good support. Smaller and/or niche projects have poor support and documentation. For example, Mandriva linux has a very good support options (not counting general Linux support sites). On the other hand, specific linux apps frequently (mostly?) have poor documentation and support.
- Some open source apps are very well supported and documented and some very poorly, so it’s not possible to pick one or the other as a response. I guess I could have chosen both?
- Our university supplies standard Microsoft Office, but others are successfully using open source software.
- I use open source software daily but I do feel there is some risk because it isn’t always supported and may disappear.
- I have not had a chance to use any opensource programs, but know people who swear by their open source programs.
- I wish that the libraries I use would implement Open Source applications, either in place of, or in addition to the typicaly MS products!
- I’m not entirely sure that it always has to be free, but most open source seems to lean that way.
- good commons
- Would have picked free of cost, but nothing is free of cost. We’d need support to use it.
- While used more and more, it also seems like some applications are more labor intenstive for some uses.
- I love Open Source software. 🙂 It is all I’ll use (unless I’m forced to use something else and then I usually resent being forced). We also use Kubuntu on our patron use machines as well as a variety of other Open Source packages such as OpenOffice, etc.
- Open Source follows the same philosophy of libraries in general. They are all about community support and diffusion of knowledge and agency.
- I like to be 2nd or 3rd to the table…getting involved once an open source product is in wide use and has a community built up.
- I’m not really sure what it is exactly.
- Would like to learn more about software for library applications.
- For technical services functions, the open source software does not yet match our needs and the valuable capabilities of our current ILS (Innovative). Whether or not open source library systems are a fad remains to be seen. They do seem to have a “buzz” that attracts administrators who are not really cognizant of all the hidden costs.
- Huge risk if only one person knows how to manager the open source–rather than a standard program known by many.
- Only viable if you have supportive IT Department & people able to write code
- Campus IT here is very picky about what they will allow on computers (they won’t allow the newest version of Firefox, and thats like the most non-Microsoft thing they’ll allow)
- My library was looking into purchasing a new ILS system. We were looking at Eqinox and Koha. Koha never got back to us and Equinox kept telling us that the Acq. and Serials modules were coming out with the 2.0 academic version of their ILS. That was over a year ago and they still do not exist. We investigated feedback from others who reported that OpenSource is great, but it is heavily based on community code sharing and that the developers are not in any hurry to creat modules or expand what was already created. That was not a plus for us.
- Open Source Software is as good as proprietary software but the possibility of getting influence in the development is much better with OSS and easier in open source communities – but engagement is required
- As a one-person librarian, my budget is limited but so is my time. Could only use open source that is basically plug-and-go and haven’t found anything like that yet.
- Need an it person to implement most systems, no plug and play interface, don’t have time to learn secret code
- Support varies according to the software in question. I do question the long-term effect products like Open Office will have on the mainstream products they emulate, and whether that will cause both products to be less innovative.
- Free of cost is of course a simplification however the lower cost of use for public libraries is a significant selling point.
- We would really like to use more open source but just don’t have the technical support to be able to do that.
- When I say “unsupported” I mean that it requires support, and investment if it’s to be customized, and that it requires a more significant investment in IT time and support, whether that investment is made internally or externally through an outside support company.
- Some kinds of open-source software that I’ve used (e.g. Exhibit 2.0) are peer reviewed, while others are not. Because of that, I cannot in good faith select “Proven” and “Is peer reviewed,” even though I have encountered OS applications that fit both those descriptions.
- I’d opt for “awesome,” but I loathe that word.
- Open source frees you from the shackles of corporate-produced software and empowers you to be part of the development of it. Thus, powerful.
- Open source is awesome generally speaking and I use many open source programs, but it’s also a complicated choice for libraries – many will not have the resources (people with appropriate expertise and/or money to hire someone with that expertise) to make the switch.
- It is supported by a community, but you may have to work harder to find an answer than just dial a number. It may or may not be OK, depending on the product.
- I think open source is a positive step in the right direction.
- I know that open source shifts the cost from licensing/purchasing to labor – it costs plenty to modify!
- Skeptically optimistic about it and like learning more.
- Well, really, it depends on what open source you are talking about. Something like sakai is powerful, but hard and requires a lot of skill and time, but something like (I forget the name right now, but Oregon’s federated search, is pretty easy to implement).
- free of cost: maybe…koha isn’t…and it can cost time can be risky if you are under educate about it and an implementation fails
- I love the option of using open source, but sometimes it is difficult, especially with no local tech support that has knowledge of say php or mysql
- and lovable and free
- I know there are huge possibilities for Open Source.
- what is this, a quiz? I thought it was a survey.
- I’m younger than a lot of my fellow librarians, many of whom view open source as untried and untested and not yet ready for prime time. I’m not sure why, though. It’s not like Sirsi (our current system) is doing any better than an open source system would do.
- Free of cost if you don’t count staff time! More-or-less on most of the rest.
- For poor academic libraries, open source software can be a godsent since you dont have to pay… on the other hand though, to customize them takes a lot of man-hours
- The Grand Rapids Public Library in Michigan migrated to Evergreen software in September 2008. The software seems equally capable as the old millennium system, but is sometimes erratic.
- Widely supported – in limited ways. Knowledge of the movement seems learned by browsing the web which I don’t have time to do, nor do I enjoy such activity.
- Open source allows my library to provide a more sophisticated level of services that we would otherwise not be able to afford.
- For personal use, I like open source; it’s free, and just as easy to use as most commercial products. But at the public library, we need to have what is generally used, which is usually Microsoft. If we had more people (or ANYONE) coming in and asking for open source programs, maybe we’d get them.
- I think almost all of the answers apply some of the time, but when I think of open soure in “general” I think of what I selected.
- Not all open source software is poorly documented, but a lot of it is. UI design is often an afterthought. There are different classes of open source. Some *is* a guy in a garage; others are large community undertakings. Mozilla, Apache are good examples. But not the only model.
- Open Source is superior to for pay models.
- I don’t use much open source software and am merely stating the facts that I am certain of.
- As long as you research it and find out which have strong user communities with a commitment to development, you can get great software this way.
- I have found the Acquistions documentation leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I have no technical support here and was told I did not need a test server so Koha has left me with some bad experiences.
- Depending on the software, its longevity, its acceptance and use, etc., open source software can be widely supported, documented, proven, awesome, etc. It can also be unproven, undocumented, unsupported, not worth my time. Also, its never free. There may not be a charge to purchase/license, but an organization must dedicate some staff time to implementing, supporting, customizing, etc. open source software.
- I’ve definitely been interested in Open Source software – both as an idea for libraries and for my current small public library. I like a lot of what I read and heard, and still support the idea of Open Source software, but ultimately opted for a more traditional catalog for the library.
- It could be too hard to learn if it is poorly documented.
- some of the open source that has been around for a long time is well worth using — some of the newer open source applications can be ‘bleeding’ edge with little community support and very minimal documentation
- Yes, I clarify a few chices
- you have to be willing to be a real geek;depend on community support;have enough time to be creative in seeking solutions to problems; and test, test, test, test before deploying
- More local support – Requires more technologically savvy staff who are able to make programming changes, etc.
- Free as in freedom.
- Not all open source meets the selected items. Some open source probably *is* written by kids in their garage.
- Depending on the software package it may also be proven.
- Intentions to catalog several titles useful for several disciplines. Time to do this has not been allotted as yet. Thanks for the reminder. I had several approved by our Dental Hygiene Department.
- I’d say *usually* or *can be* free of cost. RHEL or SLED are counterexamples. Also, training, especially for support staff, can be costly. Currently, some of the applications my library uses on the staff end are not compiled for open-source operating systems.
- I used OpenOffice.org and found it to work with MS Office 2003. I have only used it for personal use. I have told patrons about it who didn’t have the money for Microsoft Office. I never tried opening 2007 documents.
- Usually free of cost but not necessarily.
- Some of the above may be true about some open source software, but that doesn’t mean the descriptions apply to all. Some open source is very good; some is primitive. Some is well-documented; some not at all. etc.
- IT here has to be convinced of the software’s usefulness and then persuaded to install it (staff outside IT are generally not allowed administrator privileges, including download/installation of software). General attitude seems to be freeware/open source software is to be avoided, perhaps because the software whose use is taught in courses here is not free or open source, for the most part. The perceived attitude, anyway, is that our students will not find expertise using open-source software helpful in finding/keeping a job, so it’s not taught or supported here.
- There are bad and good examples of all of the above but chose generalized opinions overall
- It is easy to find open source software, but not always easy to find tutorials or help guides. Also, some users may be concerned about viruses because the product is free.
- I personally like to try one myself, but all that is checked has applied to anyone who has resisted on my desire to explore it.
- Choices on what software to use are not really made by the library, but the IT department.
- Lots of apps are written by kids in their garages… nothing wrong with that!! 🙂 The software is free (ususally), but can be expensive in staff time.
- I use Firefox exclusively. And while I won’t trust something just because it is open source, I’ll certainly check it out.
- The larger, more popular open source projects tend to have the best documentation. Most projects do not have documentation in languages other than English. Documentation is the area of greatest need in the open source community.
- Open source in unsupported professionally but supported widely by the community.
- I didn’t check free of cost because depending on the product, the staff time involved in customizing it to your needs may end up being substantial.
- It is true. Open Source was written by kids in a garage….SMART kids 🙂
- It helps to have techie knowledge to run may OSS programs or to get help from someone who does. “Unsupported” or “widely supported” are overstated and untrue as a generalization but both are true of some individually.
- Libraries seem to be happy giving their finite resources to vendors that do not provide products which are flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment. Open source can allows for greater flexibility and can allow libraries to take back ownership of their systems. However, adminstrators seem very content sticking with the old model.
- The one glaring problem I see with OSS is the lack of documentation — techies are notorious for not writing full, clear documentation, and it makes it tough for most “normal” folks, who are just ok with technology, to think of OSS as viable.
- It is free; can be modified as per requirement
- Well, it completely depends on the product. WordPress & Drupal (2 off of the top of my head) have fairly good documentation (but could be better) and a fairly robust user community… but not everything is like those.