“Of things to come”, the TL;DR version2014-01-22
My colleague and former coworker Mike Rylander wrote a blog post about Equinox Software’s new services. The writing was a little bit formal, so I’m rewriting it in the spirit of a friendly amendment. What I think he meant was:
Equinox Software solves problems for libraries using Open Source software. We use Open Source because it’s powerful, and because it lets us help a lot of libraries. Open Source is not just a way of making software—Open Source is also a way of making communities of people who can help each other. That’s how people make Android phones, Google Chrome, and Ubuntu Linux. Open Source also means working together to create projects that benefit many people, and libraries love working together to create projects like that! So it’s a great fit.
Making Open Source software is exciting, but after the excitement fades, we have to work together to keep it in good shape. Sometimes volunteers will help out. When there aren’t enough volunteers, it’s important to know that there are people who find and fix bugs, and add new features. It’s important to be able to rely on the fact that someone out there will continue to improve Open Source software. Service providers—companies that do Open Source for a living—are a good way of being sure that community software will stay healthy.
Volunteers are crucial to Open Source. Most volunteers use the software and discover something they want to improve. Volunteers rarely have enough free time to see the big picture. Usually, volunteers study the part of the software they want to improve, then work on that part. When software gets complicated—and library software is complicated—some of the people working on it need to have enough time to see the big picture. All the parts have to work together smoothly. You don’t want anyone to have to reinvent the wheel. (Unless it’s a really awesome new wheel, in which case, go for it!) It’s better and cheaper to work with a good plan. So we need people who have enough time in their day to think about the big picture. Service providers can pay programmers who learn the software in depth, who can suggest plans for the community to consider.
We at Equinox Software have been thinking about the big picture. We know that Open Source software communities need to solve some long-term challenges. We’re going to be announcing some new services at ALA Midwinter that we hope will help the Evergreen and Koha communities to thrive for a long time. Stop by booth 541.
TL;DR: Long-range plans are a big deal for Open Source, and service providers like us can help.
Mike, is that more or less what you meant?