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Re: [Koha-devel] Koha Foundation

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Koha-devel] Koha Foundation
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 09:52:14 +0100

This email replies to Paul POULAIN, Pierrick LE GALL and Irma Birchall.

Paul POULAIN <address@hidden>
> My main problem with this idea is to be a part of "technical" foundation.
> I -strongly- think that the foundation must be for librarians, not for=20
> techies.
> So, I can be happy with the idea to be a part of a "librarian=20
> foundation", but not of a "technical" foundation.
> And I think no library know what is "Apache foundation" !
> The problem being that I don't know any librarian foundation that is=20
> related to computer questions. Thus the idea to create something new !

Does anyone know a suitable host librarian foundation?

I think a "Koha foundation" will be known by as few libraries as
the "Apache foundation". The name of "Software in the Public
Interest" is at least explanatory, but I think many will be
disappointed if this foundation idea is a branding tool. There
are easier ways to achieve similar effects, such as a consortium
or even just a stronger role for the project.

Even so, if the foundation is made by technical developers,
it will still not be a librarian foundation. If it is made by
librarians, I fear it will disenfranchise developers.

Pierrick LE GALL <address@hidden>
> If we want to give chances to a user community, I'm not so sure we need
> a "foundation". We need more user oriented tools:
> - a bulletin board forum instead of a mailing-list. I ask you to be
> honnest : mailing-list are fine for developers, not for users.

That is the reverse of my experience and others, such as:
   We discourage the use of tools that can only be accessed via web browsers.
   Such tools demand broadband access for efficient use, which is an
   unnecessary barrier to participation for many people. E-Democracy.org has
   found that because email "comes to you" and doesn't require a participant
   to log onto a website, participation is generally better than in similar
   web based forums. In addition, the structure of an email forum tends to
   increase the likelihood that participants will be exposed to a variety of
   issues and not just those that are aligned with their current viewpoints
   making for a much more diverse and meaningful discussion.
   -- Local Issues Forum Guidebook, www.e-democracy.org

and you don't get a much broader audience of non-developers
than "everybody"!

> - a user oriented fancier wiki, with "tips and tricks", "use cases",
> details on how works a functionnality.
> - an extension manager writable for users (optionnaly moderated) were
> they would share their templates and translations

Both of those could be done, if someone has time. Anyone?

"Irma Birchall" <address@hidden>
> Could I ask for some clarification?

Yes. ;-)

> Isn't Koha already licensed under the FSF? 

It is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

> If it were to be decided to start a "Koha Foundation" or join an alternate
> Foundation, how would this affect the license with FSF?

Not at all. The copyright is licensed by the licensors, not FSF.

> Is the copyright of Koha held by FSF?


> Can Koha apply for grants under FSF? Receive donations? 

This could mean two things. Trying to answer both:
1. I'm not aware of any relevant grants offered by the FSF.
2. Being under the GPL doesn't prevent grants or donations.

> How well does FSF oversee the 4000 licenses currently listed in its
> directory? Rules of entry and exit?

I see 87 licences listed by FSF. There is a team of legal
advisers supported by lawyers who review the licences.

> What are the benefits to the Koha
> developers or the Koha users community, to be licensed under the FSF?

GPL helps collaboration between developers, encourages sharing
and attracts developers who would not otherwise consider koha.
As the GPL becomes more widely-understood, it should also
attract users who should be sharing skills rather than begging
software licensors for permission to keep using a system.

> And I also wonder how legitimate/important other librarians or library
> managers view the FSF and Koha's association with the FSF? 
> I will make some enquiries amongst my library contacts in Australia.

I await your information with interest.

Hope that helps,
MJ Ray - personal email, see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Work: http://www.ttllp.co.uk/  irc.oftc.net/slef  Jabber/SIP ask

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