Information Today: An Update on Open Source ILS

“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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