The Importance of the Koha Community

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Last updated September 27, 2014.

A major criticism of OSS is that there are no guarantees that a particular project will survive into the future. The key to a successful OSS project is an active community of users and developers. Koha has an extremely active worldwide base of both users and developers, and a rapid development cycle. In our experiences, overall, we have found OSS to be more reliable, and we frequently receive faster support than with proprietary software. Usually with a successful OSS project, there is a large community from which to draw expertise and you can often communicate directly with the developers themselves.

If you wish to support Koha internally, you ideally need access to someone, either staff members or consultants, who understand Linux and are comfortable using a command line. Fortunately, these skills can be learned. Our IT Director has an undergraduate degree in Art History and a MLIS. All of her Linux skills have been learned on the job. We also have access to a programmer to help support and modify our OSS programs. Kyle has a Master’s Degree in Information Technology, which he earned locally at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Another option is to hire a commercial service to help install, manage and support your OSS ILS. CCFLS has in the past purchased support from a commercial Koha service. We hired them because we thought we might need help as we migrated, but we found we could handle the vast majority of the tasks ourselves. We did rely on them for a couple of issues and to help us figure out how to fix them. However, we ended up correcting many issues ourselves as we learned more about Koha. Since at that time the vendor was still actively working on the version of Koha we were using, we looked on it as an additional means of supporting development.