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2007-2008 Open Source Open House

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

2007-2008 Open Source Open House



Date: Thursday 11/15

Time: 11am - 12pm

Place: SLIS Computer Lab

Presenters: Steve Paling, Dave Zwicky, Andy Giesler, Laura Wynholds, David Drexler

Attendees: About 15


Meeting Notes


Overview of Open Source (Steve Paling)

"Open Source" is software that's created by a community of developers. The source code is publicly available and is created, enhanced, and maintained by volunteers. It's typically, though not necessarily, free. "Closed Source" software is software that is owned and developed by a particular organization, and where the underlying source code is proprietary, i.e., not publicly available. Following is Steve Paling's "Completely Unbiased" description of the continuum from pure Open Source to proprietary Closed Source:


  1. FOSS (Free Open Source Software): community-developed and available at no charge, e.g., Firefox Browser
  2. OSS (Open Source Software): community-developed for-fee, e.g., Redhat Linux
  3. CPCS (Cross-Platform Closed Source): proprietary, but able to run under multiple operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.), e.g., Flash or PDF/Acrobat
  4. ECSS (Evil Closed Source Software): proprietary and locked into a specific operating system, e.g., Microsoft Office 2007


Enterprise Open Source Software (Dave Zwicky)

Many Open Source applications are "enterprise-strength", i.e., broad and deep enough in their capabilities to be used by mid- to large-sized organizations, such as corporations, universities, or libraries. Following are the examples Dave demonstrated:


  1. Evergreen: Integrated Library System
  2. Georgia Library Pines: a real ILS based on Evergreen
  3. Koha Integrated Library System
  4. Horowhenua Library Trust: a real ILS based on Koha
  5. PKP - Public Knowledge Project: an Open Journal System
  6. journals.library.wisc.edu: a local application of PFP


Linux Distributions (Laura Wynholds and Andy Giesler)

Linux is an Open Source operating system, similar in concept to Windows or Mac OS. It is generally available free of charge, though companies exist that will provide Linux support and other services for a charge. There are many different flavors of Linux with features that differ to varying degrees. A flavor of Linux is referred to as a "distro", short for "Linux Distribution". Some distros are very rich and full-featured, delivering a full-blown consumer-grade experience; others are much simpler but also much less demanding of hardware, able to run comfortably on hardware that's a decade or more old. Andy and Laura showed a few distros:


  1. Ubuntu (a very popular, heavyweight, consumer-grade system)
  2. Puppy Linux (an extremely lightweight distro that runs well on extremely old/slow hardware)
  3. OpenSUSE (a heavy-weight distro owned and supported by Novell, a commercial technology company)


Laura also showed the Synaptic Package Manager. Traditionally, Linux required the user to have significant technical expertise when installing software packages and loading all necessary patches. Synpatic greatly simplifies this process, automaticing the download, patching, and installation of software. It lets you easily search and install for software in various categories, most of which is available for free.


Portable Applications (David Drexler)

Portable Applications can be installed on, and run directly from, a USB flash drive. Two major benefits of this approach are that (1) you can take your applications and settings with you wherever you go and use them on any other computer, and (2) you leave no trace of your work on the computer that you use. David demonstrated a wide selection of Portable Apps, including:


  1. Audacity: sound editor
  2. ClamWin: antivirus software
  3. GIMP: graphics editor
  4. Nvu: web page editor
  5. OpenOffice: complete office suite (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.)
  6. Sudoku: game
  7. Sunbird: calendar
  8. VLC: media player



Linux Demonstration CDs. We provided free Live CDs of the Ubuntu and Puppy Linux distros. A Live CD lets you try out Linux without installing anything on your computer; simply insert the CD and reboot. Note that when running from CD you will certainly experience delays, and possibly reduced performance, so don't judge Linux' speed based on your Live CD experience.


Open Source Samples CDs. We also provided a CD that had an assortment of Open Source applications, both standard applications and portable applications.


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