IRC log for #koha, 2005-10-20

All times shown according to UTC.

Time S Nick Message
14:29 peter_123 hello all!
14:29 peter_123 I'm looking for the passwords for the Koha live CD. could anyone help me please?
14:41 peter_123 ?
17:24 hdl indradg around ?
19:44 thd rosa: what is you current view of "Never buy a programme that someone promises to write for you"?
19:57 thd rosa: that was a precept that had once held.  What precept do you hold now about that question?
21:57 rosa are you still there THD?
21:57 rosa sorry I'd covered over this screen
22:29 thd rosa: I am here again, if your screen is uncovered now.
23:19 rosa hi
23:19 thd hello
23:20 rosa I'd still be wary, I think. Maybe "Never buy a programme that someone you don't know very well promises to write for you
23:20 rosa "
23:22 thd rosa: so would you be judging their programming skill or their honesty in making promises that they can keep by you knowledge of someone whom you know very well?
23:23 rosa both, but the latter more important
23:25 thd rosa: I guess that is significant caution if you happened not to know any programmers.
23:25 thd or at least not know them well.
23:28 rosa It's probably not the programmers who are critical, unless they're self employed. It's the programmer's boss/es.
23:28 rosa whoever signs the contract. You've got to be pretty sure they're going to deliver
23:29 thd rosa: Yes, a contract is only as good as the good will of the signatories.
23:33 thd rosa: Your caution is quite prudent.  A similar sensible prudence seems to motivate library decisions to not risk anything on Koha development when the libraries do not know any of the current users or developers.
23:36 thd rosa: chris and rach suggested that people should have more confidence in the software development process as they would with house building.
23:39 rosa We only took the decision because I have  baord of appointed Trustees, rather than an elected Council subcommittee. The trustees were more willing to take a punt. Plus we had a long business relationship with Katipo in terms of their supporting our networks for years, and making a succession of good, workable, innovative (nonMicrosoft) suggestions for enhancements.
23:40 rosa Plus there is a personal rel;ationship which implied a little extra reason to have faith
23:40 rosa did you realise Rachel is my son's partner
23:40 thd rosa: I suggested that house building is different from software because the work of the builder on other houses is easier to evaluate than prospective software development where there is less sense of similarity from one software project to another.
23:41 rosa very true
23:41 rach we had built other houses - to use an anaology :-)
23:42 thd rosa: do you mean your son's personal partner or business partner?
23:42 rosa both
23:43 rosa rach: and I suppose you could get another software expert to go and inspect, as you would a building inspector
23:44 thd rosa: the best of everything.  I do not know much about Rachel except that she seems very cogent, has dogs, and children.
23:44 rach just one child currently in development :-)
23:44 rosa not quite. That bump she is sporting is my first grandchild
23:45 rosa Dogs she does indeed have
23:47 thd rosa: Why do appointed trustees have more freedom than elected officials?
23:47 rach thd - we'd built other software and released it as open source
23:47 rach and we'd done quite a lot of other library work
23:48 rosa thd: They don't suffer under the same public scrutiny of evry decision
23:48 rach and the way things tend to work here, if we hadn't delivered a library system we wouldn't get paid
23:48 rach and there was a backup plan
23:49 rosa They are business people more willing to take a commerically attractive gamble
23:49 rach so we covered off as many risks as possible from the libraries point of view
23:49 rosa Councils have to be safe
23:49 rach yep - or desperate :-)
23:49 rosa :-))
23:49 thd rach: what was the backup plan?
23:50 rach that we did the novell upgrade needed to get through y2k, and then they would still have their budget for getting a commercial system
23:51 rach so we'd checked that particularly if we weren't going to get live on time that the library wouldn't just cease to function
23:52 rach hah now we have seen how far over time/budget commercial installs can go we should feel quite chuffed
23:52 thd rach: so that if you failed to meet your deliver schedule for Koha the library could opt out?
23:52 rach yep - there was a delay option - so patch up the current system to run a bit longer
23:53 rach and a bail out option - give up, do something else
23:54 rach we as the contractors therefor being especially motivated not to let that happen
23:55 thd rach: nothing like a good bit of motivation for things to happen.
23:57 thd rosa: At the same time that you were opening the Koha system to solve your year 2000 problem, many other libraries were doing just the opposite.
23:59 thd rosa: Many fine systems developed in house at universities died for year 2000.  Several innovative Library of Congress systems suffered that fate collectively for year 2000.
00:02 thd rach: What do you do to gain the trust where you do not know the prospective customer?  (fortunately, that is not the problem that I am faced with now.)
00:07 rach I try mostly for lots of personal contact
00:07 rach we've also entered awards etc with Koha which adds credibility
00:08 rach but really probably what we've mostly done is just be around for a reasonable length of time
00:08 thd rach: entered and won :)
00:08 rach yep :-)
00:09 rach Katipo will be 10 years old next year, the Koha project got underway 6 years ago this month I think
00:09 rach if people e-mail me, I e-mail them straight back - if it looks like we need to have more discussion etc I often phone them
00:10 rach to reassure them that we're "real people"
00:11 rach I think going to library conference was quite good for that as well
00:12 thd rach: The test questions that I have been asked from someone who I believe knows me well enough to trust me have been more on the order of if I ask at the local library will anyone have heard of Koha.
00:12 rach all our work though is basically project work - not necessarily on the same scale as Koha - but it's always delivering something basically from nothing
00:13 rach well I susepct that if you asked at a local library here you'd probably get a "yes"
00:13 rach we are loud :-)
00:14 thd rach: nothing comes of nothing which is something that I have to explain better to the prospective Koha bookshop.
00:14 rach we haven't necessarily been spectacularly succesful at getting more libraries to use koha - you want to ask Paul Poulain who has built a business just on Koha
00:14 thd rach: Koha is built on top of other fine things that had been well proven.
00:15 rach we still do a wide range of other work and have been quite slowely building up the koha side of things
00:15 thd rach: Does most of Paul's business come from Koha?
00:15 rach so some of our koha installs have been for clients we've been doing other work for - usually straight web work
00:15 rach yep I believe so, and he has 2 or 3 guys working for him on Koha
00:16 thd rach: I was still under the impression that they mostly did other things and only worked on Koha as needed while perhaps more often than others.
00:16 rach so our advantage is that we're a medium (for NZ) sized buisness - 12 people, who've been going for a longish time - 10 years, so clearly we at least understand the basics of how you get projects out the door :-)
00:18 rach and what we "sell" is us as much as Koha, so libraries who want to buy a shrink wrapped box of software and never see us again aren't our market
00:19 thd rach: My project record is a MARC based database in two weeks at the same time as you were developing Koha but I avoid trying to break that speed record.
00:19 thd rach: I took far too many shortcuts and did not need a circulation system.
00:20 rach as you do
00:24 thd rach: 12 people sound enormous compared to the companies that I know working with open source software in relatively small markets.
00:25 rach yep we're no fly by nighters :-)
00:25 rach not all full time, but it does mean we have a good breadth of skills
00:27 thd rach: One company I know that has a few million dollar a year proprietary MARC cataloguing software business seems to be just two people.
00:31 thd rach: kados has found many of RFPs from which LibLime is disqualified for not being around as a business long enough to be eligible for entry.
00:33 rach yep I can believe that
00:34 rach we didn't even try much with Koha for 3 years on the grounds that people wanted to know it had been around a few years
00:34 thd rach: Have you found it more difficult to establish trust outside Oceania?
00:35 rach no not really I think
00:36 thd rach: Well that is reassuring.
00:36 rach as in, people outside of NZ have contacted us, so presumably they've satisfied themselves before they bother to contact us
00:36 rach we had one group in australia who said that we were heeps easier to deal with, more prompt, easier to get on the phone etc than their systems contractor in their home city
00:39 rach we have had a few lucky breaks - we had someone in colorado contact us and chris was not that far away at the time on holiday, so he went to visit them
00:39 thd rach: Your Australian competitor must be too complacent with all the libraries that use their system.
00:40 rach libraries here don't seem to get that "loved" feeling much from their vendors, particularly from the big ones as they are all based elsewhere
00:41 rach actually often for overseas clients you're dealing with them at funny times of the day - which is often a lot easier, and they get more attention because you don't have a whole lot of other stuff going on
00:42 rach if they are in europe, they send stuff to us, go home to bed, get up in the morning and it's fixed :-)
00:42 rach you don't get much better than that
00:45 thd rach: Do you find inquires from libraries using less expensive proprietary licences as web services than what you can afford to support with Koha?  paul and kados had referred to this problem with very small libraries where they could not afford to give the necessary time for a competitive price.
00:47 thd rach: kados mentioned legacy Sagebrush Athena systems for circa US $900 a year all services license as an example.
00:49 rach sorry I'm not sure I understand - are you asking if we get people asking about what it costs to install Koha, and the already don't pay much for an annual license?
00:49 rach the = they
00:49 rach so our fees are too high to be worth responding?
00:49 thd rach: exactly, for very small libraries, have you found this issue?
00:50 rach certainly, less so now we have put some pricing guides on our website
00:50 rach that's why we did it
00:51 rach[…]koha/pricing.html
00:51 rach cuts down on the tyre kickers
00:52 thd rach: What I am trying to ask is how prevalent these inexpensive systems for very small libraries are and how do they compare to Koha features?
00:52 rach we still do spot contracting - so just an hourly rate to sort out koha problems
00:53 rach Oh I don't know how many there are, there are a few that we've come accross, including the usual run of Access DIY systems etc
00:53 rach so the usual suspects I think are inmagic and one that might be just here - accessit which is particularly aimed at schools
00:54 rach but people with those systems don't usually do an RFP - so they ring or e-mail, and I give them a ballpark figure on the phone
00:54 rach for the seriously price conscious it pays to get expectations out of the way early
00:55 rach if they don't have the money for the data conversion, it
00:55 rach it's just not worth it - we do do a hosted option, where we host thier koha install, and they are very quick to set up and $25/month
00:57 rach main prob we found with the small/cash strapped was that they wanted to use their own PC's - ie windows box for it and that is a total pain to support
00:57 rach hence the appliance and the hosted options
00:58 thd rach: that is where I have had a problem with the bookshop
00:59 thd rach: I found cheap salvage computers when the price of a new machine might make the total almost free price make the cheapest bookshop management system look tempting.
01:00 rach I think that it's always going to be hard to compete just on price
01:01 rach service, adaptablity, control and contribution to the "public good" have tended to be the things we like to make sure are also emphasised
01:01 thd rach: That helped drive me out of the bookshop business myself when I had to compete from a high rent city with the rest of the world online
01:01 rach wouldn't the cheepest bookshop system need a computer as well?
01:02 thd rach: They run on MS Windows quite well.
01:02 thd rach: So they can use the existing system for lower total cost of ownership.
01:03 rach if you're wanting to play in that space I fear you'd need to get at one with Windows
01:03 rach so for orgs who can only afford one computer
01:03 thd rach: Flexibility and control is what is missing.
01:04 rach really - I guess that depends on the skills at your disposal - for us it's fine but we have programmers
01:04 rach who can pretty much bend it to our clients whims
01:05 thd rach: I leave that to kados.  I am trying to satisfy one person I know and would hope she would choose Koha over the cheapest bookshop system.
01:06 rach it may not be a great fit - a video rental shop I've often thought would be a good option
01:06 thd rach: Fortunately, this is not a demanding situation where there is no interest in an online commerce system.
01:07 rach later
01:07 thd rach: good night

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