After conference finishes I have to stay in Christchurch for an extra day. I, along with a number of others, am going to have training in administering a Kete through the auspices of the APN. This is quite exciting for us at Tararua as we have been looking forward to developing a Kete.
Some of you may wonder why we just didn’t do it ourselves, after all the Kete software is free, as part of the open software movement. Well, whilst the software is free, you still need support, and as, in the library, we don’t currently have the skills to support the implementation of the package and general maintenance; we would need to rely on our council IT section. I have talked to our IT department previously about this and also looking at Koha, and as these software packages don’t fit into the IT management plan then our in-house IT would not support further investigation.
In fact at the moment there is a bit of a bust-up occurring in the Koha community, as a company that took the basic package and then sold it through their services as a “support” licence. These services are for implement and further develop. This company, LibLime, is now refusing to release back into the community their developments. Apparently this is within the letter of licence agreement, if not the spirit. Somebody is trying to have their cake and eat it too.
So APN steps into the frame, helping us host and providing training and support for free. This is great, but when I go I will be asking questions and looking into the details very carefully, as I have concerns which originate from my conversations with the IT department.
What happens if funding for the APN is cancelled? For the free broadband pc service the issue is not so great, as we will be able to take administration in-house, and then will need to charge. For the Kete it is not simple. If, as I understand it, the Kete is hosted on a server in Christchurch, what will happen to our Kete? Especially if our IT department are unwilling to takeover the server and help provide support. Also who actually owns the domain name for the Kete? Would we have to buy it from the APN? And if they do retain ownership could we rely on them passing ownership to us?
I am becoming very aware that free does not necessarily mean free, and am very mindful of that old saying, there is no such thing as a free lunch! I wonder who is going to pay for mine?