US Defense or Sirsi-Dynix – which is more credible?

Most librarians probably already know this, but maybe the programmers don’t yet.

A SirsiDynix Corp lobby paper against Open Source technologies escaped onto the internet. SirsiDynix is a competitor of our co-op with products that compete with Koha. They’re also interesting because Sirsi bought another competitor (Dynix), essentially stopped its product line (something near impossible with Free and Open Source Software like Koha) to replace it with its own and has ended up a messy lawsuit with Queens Borough Public Library as a consequence of that – all as I understand it.

Late last month, someone leaked SirsiDynix’s criticism of Free and Open Source Software which is missing references for key evidence and described on WikiLeaks as containing “possible libel per se against certain competitors”. The comments and links at thesecretmirror and code4lib wiki seem interesting dissections.

I feel that this document is taking advantage of an opportunity presented by the biggest promoters of FOSS library management systems not speaking about freedom. As you can see from some comments on thesecretmirror, it’s all about freedom. reflections » Missing the point: It’s time to talk about software freedom develops that point a bit more and gives a few links back to other statements of freedom which I’d not seen before.

Anyway, one of the points in the leaked document was that the US Department of Defense (DoD) restricts use of FOSS. Unluckily for SirsiDynix, on 16 October, a memo was published by the DoD CIO saying Defense: Open source software is more secure than commercial code. There’s some analysis by David Wheeler discussed on LWN.

Anyway, who would you believe about FOSS? An under-fire legacy private software competitor, or the Department of Defense? I don’t like either that much, but there’s not really a contest. DoD are willing to bet lives on it.

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