Last week I attended the Koha US User’s group meeting in Monterey CA and was amazed at this year’s focus on community involvement and participation.
Christopher Brannon kicked off the meeting with a keynote discussing the future of Koha. He focused on the necessity of having the users involved in shaping the software and guiding development. Covering the challenges and opportunities involved in participation, this talk set the basis for a lot of what happened the rest of the week.
Throughout various presentations (Fred King’s talk on modifying Koha for local use, Chris Rhode’s discussion of the future of Libki and the need for a robust community, Joy Nelson’s talk on the development of Bibframe and vocabularies, Biblioteca’s presentation on their products where they learned from the group more about how to work with the Koha community) the themes of being involved, reporting to the community, and sharing what you have learned kept coming up. Christopher Davis led a discussion on Open Source software and a lot of ground was covered in comparing the benefits of open source software to proprietary software, the different development models involved, and some of the challenges faced when adopting open source software.
The last day of the conference began with a review of the Koha QA process and a short tutorial on bug testing that I led. I was blown away when I asked how many people wanted to be involved in testing bugs and contributing to the community. Every hand in the room went up. We spent the rest of the morning handing out and setting up pre-installed virtual machines containing a Koha development environment. By the end of the day multiple patches had been signed off, and Eric Phetteplace submitted a bug fix (Bug 17068) which was signed-off, passed qa, and pushed, showing just how quickly things can get done when we all participate.
I look forward to seeing what the users can do with their dev environments, and seeing their future contributions to the community and can’t wait to see where they are at next year’s meeting.