Brendan Gallagher led a discussion about the underlying code in Koha and the work that needs to be done to improve Koha at KohaCon13. Chris Cormack led off the discussion about the difficulty in securing funding for the internal workings of Koha. The major goal is to present these changes that are needed and start a discussion regarding how we fund these projects. Paul Poulain talked about the dynamic nature of software projects. There are constantly new tools being introduced that are available to developers. There are many projects in Koha that we may possibly be able to do in a different way, e.g. DBIX class to make Koha database neutral. The goal is securing funding for these developments that offer no new ‘bells and whistles’. The upside to both developers and users
is that by fixing the ‘plumbing’ we can implement new features and bug fixes faster and better.
Brendan talked about other sources of funding that may be available through grants or fundraising. The first step may be to tap an organization that would be interested in heading this. This role may be beyond the scope of a Koha user’s organization. Software in the Public Interest is another organization that may be an option. However, SPI can only give money to another 501(c)3 which complicates the disbursement of funds. The Software Freedom Conservancy, (which the Evergreen Project belongs) has expertise in dealing with funding issues. So taking advantage of both of these organizations may a useful and even necessary because of various international regulations. The possibility of using the Horowhenua Library Trust to facilitate the funding and organization of Koha long term projects was discussed. Research may need to be done if there are any international impediments to using the trust.
John Brice from Crawford County talked about the growth of the Koha community and his desire to see a master plan outlining these potential changes. What is the goal for Koha in the next 5 years. How will these ‘behind the scenes’ fixes benefit the future of Koha? How do these ‘fixes’ fit into the master plan? Other libraries agreed with the desire to see a vision plan and expressed that even without “bells and whistles” they would be willing to sponsor ‘behind the scenes’ developments.
The discussion will continue and if you are staying for Hackfest the conversation will continue there and also in other public forums such as the mailing list. Stay tuned and please join the discussion!!