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Information Today: An Update on Open Source ILS

Oct 09, 2002, 11:30 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marshall Breeding)

"One of the trends that I follow is the adoption of open source integrated library systems (ILS). In this column, I'll review the progress of three ongoing open source ILS projects and talk about what they mean to library automation.

"Many readers likely know that open source software can be used freely without having to pay license fees to its developers. Most exists under a standard license agreement that defines the terms of use. The most common is the General Popular License (GPL), which specifies that the software can be used, modified, and distributed for free. Under a GPL, the software can be changed and enhanced, but the new version must also be released under the same terms.

"With open source software, the underlying source code must be made available along with the binary version that actually runs on a computer. This contrasts with the standard, commercial model of software distribution in which the source code remains the developer's closely guarded private property. Releasing source code reveals all the details of an application's inner workings. In the open source arena, this facilitates collaborative development. In the commercial arena, releasing source code can be a fundamental contradiction to basic business principles..."

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