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Free/Open Source Software and Libraries Eric Goldhagen com What is Free/Open Source Software? Why Should Librarians Care About Software.

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Presentation on theme: "Free/Open Source Software and Libraries Eric Goldhagen com What is Free/Open Source Software? Why Should Librarians Care About Software."— Presentation transcript:

1 Free/Open Source Software and Libraries Eric Goldhagen com What is Free/Open Source Software? Why Should Librarians Care About Software Licenses? What is the difference between Free Speech and Free Beer?

2 GNU and LINUX Richard Stallman GNU (GNU Not Unix) Started writing free software utilities for unix in 1984 Stallman personally wrote an impressive amount of software Founded GNU and Free Software Foundation By 1991 GNU created all the elements of a free OS except a kernel Linus Torvalis Linux Wrote linux kernel in 1991 Linux was released under GPL, the software license written by Richard Stallman

3 Important Terms: Software is written as text (source code) Software is most often distributed as an application (binary) that runs in a specific operating system and type of hardware (architecture) Source code is modified (compiled) by another program (compiler) to create a binary Free software and open source are in most cases equivalent and may be found abbreviated as FOSS, F/OSS or FLOSS

4 What Do You Mean Free? Free as in Speech (always) Free as in Beer (sometimes) More extensive definition at Free to read source code and evaluate it for security and other reasons Free to modify source code for your own use Free to distribute your modifications Free to anyone for any use

5 Freedom Backed by License The freedoms associated with F/OSS are protected by software licenses There are many different licenses for F/OSS GPL (GNU General Public License) Strong copyleft license, all code modifications must be released BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) Permissive and non-copyleft, allows for easier bundling of f/oss with commercial tools. LGPL (GNU Lesser GPL) Compromise between GPL and BSD-like licenses. Not a strong copyleft license, because it permits linking with non-free modules. See for full list of free/open source licenses

6 Why Should Libraries Care About Software Licenses? Discussions of software license, fair use and copyright overlap Creative Commons License for content is an outgrowth of F/OSS End User License Agreements (EULA's) limit rights Free/open source licenses protect freedom and rights You never own commercial software Public access can be restricted by EULA's Software licenses are a drain on limited library budgets Knowledge as information vs. knowledge as property

7 Benefits of Using F/OSS Collaboration with other groups Tools designed with you in mind Localization of Economy Sharing of resources with other groups Seeing a connection between services provided at libraries and the tools used to facilitate those services Open Standards No vendor lock-in

8 Before you jump... Understand that there is a difference between buying a product from a vendor and hiring a group to modify/customize F/OSS Think about process not product Treat your F/OSS team like partners not vendors Make a wishlist, not an RFP Take time to evaluate tools before implementing active community frequent patches response to non-developers

9 What FLOSS to Use?

10 Tools: CMS's Content Management Systems Allows for easy access to add content/pages and edit existing content Can allow for tracking changes to content over time Allow different users/groups to have different information within one site Many CMS's also allow for community interaction/comments/blogs Examples of popular F/OSS CMS's Drupal; Joomla; Slashcode; Bricolage; Plone Working example:

11 Tools: BugTracking Allows for input of problems with a site or project Sorting by priority and severity of problems Ability to assign and track progress Common tools Bugzilla Mantis

12 Tools: Project and Task Management Similar in concept to bugtracking but designed for project management and non-technical use Ability to track all tasks for a project Users get tasks and deadlines assigned and log hours and progress Reminders for deadlines and overdue tasks Common Tools WebCollab NetOffice dotProject

13 Tools: Constituent and Donor Management (CRM) Allows for tracking organizational contact with members and donors Available tools CiviCRM Ebase SugarCRM

14 Tools: Wiki for collaborative authoring Wikis differ from other types of websites because they allow for freeform editing of all content Best suited for collaborative authoring of documents like software manuals or organizational policies What wikis do people use MediaWiki Twiki PhpWiki Moin moin

15 Tools: Blogs Blogs allow for an easy way of involving a community in a site Can be a single author or group Blogs tend to be personal or opinion rather than informational Blog your experiences and lessons learned so others can gain from what you discovered. (also search your error messages or problems to find such content)

16 Tools: Tagging and shared content sites Allows for freeform assigning of tags or keywords to any content Sharable via web for others to see what you found and tagged Used in conjunction with sites that are user created content Tagging sites Delicious Tagzania Flickr

17 Summary Software licenses/EULA's restrict fair-use Commercial software is never owned, but leased Commercial software is guided by the desires of the marketing department; F/OSS is guided by the needs of the users and the whims of the programmers F/OSS creates a dynamic where collectivity and competition are not mutually exclusive concepts F/OSS creates a culture where contribution and participation are valued over ownership.

18 Filling in the Blanks Free Software Foundation GNU Open Source Initiative NOSI (Nonprofit Open Source Initiative) Linux distributions Debian Redhat Fedora Ubuntu Gnoppix Where to find f/oss Sourceforge Freshmeat On line Resources for More Information on the Topics Covered

19 Credits Presentation created with Open Office 1.1, updated with Open Office 2.0, most recent update with NeoOffice2 Created using a salvaged computer running Debian LINUX; modified on a mac running Ubuntu LINUX Presentation theme distributed free with Open Office 1.1 On line sources used for this presentation are all listed on the Filling in the blanks page This presentation covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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