[Koha] Fwd: [OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Evergreen foundation (again)

Chris Nighswonger cnighswonger at foundations.edu
Thu Sep 24 14:14:25 NZST 2009

2009/9/23 Joann Ransom <jransom at library.org.nz>:
> Hi all,
> I like what Atz is saying here and agree. HLT and Katipo are also watching
> this debate very carefully with regards to Kete which is slowly building as
> a community. (kete.net.nz)

I would encourage Katipo to only consider turning Kete trademarks and
such over to HLT and not selling them to another vendor. This will go
a long way to helping the Kete community avoid the larger part of the
issue the Koha community is facing atm.

> I too am worried about trying to formalize this Koha governance to much.

I agree with this very healthy fear of over governance. IMHO the
larger part of the momentum behind the development of Koha is *not*
simply money. A large percentage of it is the love (if you will) of
doing this sort of thing. Over governance will kill that in very short

> The OS developers are like thoroughbreds and need a
> really light rein!

Good analogy! Thoroughbreds are dead set on doing what they do best:
running fast and staying ahead of the herd. Earn their respect and
learn to right them properly and they will get you where you want to
go... fast... do otherwise and you may get a good kick.

>I also think that it will be hard to have any teeth and
> in how will it actually govern when anyone can  decide to fork-off anytime
> they like.

Right. A license change can prevent the hiding of code. But the right
to fork is inherent in the entire theme of FOSS. (And the spirit of
all FOSS demands that your fork be made public...)

>Goodwill and collaboration and peer pressure are the tools which
> will work.

These three things only function when participants have trust and
character. Every participant is trusting that every other participant
to fulfill their obligations: some written and (probably the greater
of the two) many unwritten and understood. And good character will not
permit a participant to violate the trust placed in them by other

>However, that isn't to say that someone relatively laid back and
> neutral (HLT) shouldn't  step up and take steps to secure the domain name,
> trademarks etc for the greater Koha community to use and own. Keeping them
> safe from misuse if you like.

This is the need we must address immediately. And HLT (IMHO) has the
balance needed to maintain the proper tension between the interests of
every type of community participant be they developer or librarian,
commercial or non-commercial.

>I like the model which has worked surprisingly
> well over the last decade, other than this last big hiccup, and don't really
> want to throw the baby away with the bathwater. The model may need tweaking
> rather than abandoning.

I agree. Too dramatic of a change could be as equally destructive to
the community as no change.

I think that collaboration between Koha and Evergreen is possible and
desirable. But the issue at hand is an issue for the Koha community
alone to deal with. Other sorts of collaborative organizations will
only be possible if we have resolved the fundamental matter of our own

Kind Regards,

Christopher Nighswonger
Faculty Member
Network & Systems Director
Foundations Bible College & Seminary

> Joe Atzberger wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 5:39 AM, MJ Ray <mjr at phonecoop.coop
>> <mailto:mjr at phonecoop.coop>> wrote:
>>    Joann Ransom <jransom at library.org.nz
>>    <mailto:jransom at library.org.nz>> wrote:
>>    > I think forming a combined 'open source in libraries' foundation is
>>    > definitely worth considering. I don't know much about Code4Lib as an
>>    > organisation, but is that a body tat may have arole to play
>>    here? I need
>>    > more information!
>>    I thought code4lib was a conference, email list and website, not a
>>    non-profit corporation, so turning that into a FOSS-for-libraries
>>    association (please not a foundation) would be about the same amount
>>    of work.
>>    Sharing overheads would be good, but I wonder if the different history
>>    of Evergreen may mean the communities are too different, that we would
>>    be looking for different things.  For example, conferences and
>>    extending development seem high on their list of priorities, but not
>>    near the top of our doodle straw-poll.  That may just be because we've
>>    had independent conferences and new developers often already.
>>    Probably worth exploring though.  Anyone willing to try leading that
>>    effort?  If so, please add it to
>>    http://wiki.koha.org/doku.php?id=kohaheldbyfoundation
>>    in the "New FOSS Libraries association or foundation" column.
>> Code4Lib members have typically resisted formalization of the community
>> structure overall, while still supporting more defined working subunits
>> (Conference planning, T-shirt committee, the Journal, etc.).  We are likely
>> to find allies in that group, but not a home for a Koha Foundation.
>> I think there should be some Koha association (call it "Koha Foundation",
>> "Koha Core", "Koha Crew", "Kohaxors Intl." -- the name is unimportant to me)
>> to serve as the more democratic and active version of what was initially
>> conceived as the role of Kaitiaki.  This seems to me the natural fit, and
>> not overreaching.
>> If there is a joining of forces between Koha and Evergreen, I think it
>> should be (at least at first) as a working group, at a low level.  "What can
>> we do to help each other?  What code components can we share?"  It is far
>> too soon to talk about merging projects or codebases... let alone
>> hypothetical foundational bodies.
>> It does not seem reasonable to expect the high level foundation/governance
>> questions to be ironed out simultaneously between both communities when
>> neither has them clarified internally.  Indeed, like MJ, I suspect that
>> neither community would much appreciate a formal governance body, in
>> particular since it is hard to see where it would get (1) resources or (2)
>> developers.  Even if a unified body promoted both ILS's, I would still want
>> individual groups that focused on each project, so basically, I think each
>> community should pursue it's own group.
>> In fact, I can see broader FOSS4LIB type group forming and being active
>> (over more than these 2 projects) more quickly and more effectively than a
>> Koha/Evergreen group (over *just* those 2 projects).
>> --Joe Atzberger
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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