The Open Source Experts
full-service open source library services provider

FAQ

My library doesn’t have development or technical resources, how can I possibly run open source?

Running open source software doesn’t mean you must have local technical resources. Equinox can provide installation, hosting, technical support, and all services your library needs. Open source can be turnkey, but there is power to do much more, but only if your library wants to.

I heard open source can save us a bundle of money?!

It is possible, but not necessarily. We have customers who saved over 70% off their proprietary maintenance costs. We have other customers that re-invested the savings back into software development to make the software even better.

Changing ILSs is a big deal for your staff and the first concern should be to ensure that their needs are met by your new software. If the software is a good fit for you, then it can absolutely save you money.

Does Equinox own Evergreen? Koha? FulfILLment?

No. However, ownership can mean different things, and with open source, there are some fine, yet important, distinctions.

Open source, at its core, is a development methodology. The authors agree to release the code with minimal restrictions on its use. This creates a cooperative/community environment, in which knowledge and know-how are freely shared.

In many open source projects, copyright is retained by the original author(s). So, especially in large open source projects, the software is “owned” by many individuals who have all agreed to release their work under a particular software license that allows everyone to see the code, to edit it, or to run it freely.

In the case of Evergreen, the Evergreen trademark has been assigned to the Software Freedom Conservancy and is controlled by the Evergreen Oversight Board, made up of members from the Evergreen community. The SFC is a non-profit agency that provides administrative and financial services for open source projects.

While many Equinox employees have contributed code to Evergreen, Koha, and FulfILLment, Equinox itself is not the “owner” of any of the software. We would say, really, the software is owned by their respective communities.

Then how are improvements made? How is the software managed? Who is driving this bus???

The Pigeon! Just kidding. What code is (or is not) accepted into the software is ultimately controlled by the core committers. Open source software projects are meritocracies, and the most senior developers vote and control the software.

A small portion of the development work is done as volunteer work, but the vast majority of development is provided by paid work, through companies like Equinox (or through local libraries or co-ops that employ developers directly). So, in the end, it’s really the broader community that controls the software.

 
At Equinox, unlike other administrative roles I’ve had, I get to work directly with libraries to help them solve their problems.

Grace
Vice President