Koha Kindness

The Koha community is a great community to be part of. Not only do we create a great piece of software but we try to make the world a better place in other ways also. Here are just a few examples of how we do this.

I have run a server (since 2010) that hosts bugs.koha-community.org, download.koha-community.org, paste and a few other services. I haven’t minded funding it, I think of it as penance for making the bad decision I made in 2007, but recently I wanted to upgrade it. So I thought I would give patreon a whirl, to get some funding to increase the ram and and a couple more cores.
Within days I had more than enough pledges, and the recurring cost is more than covered. I promised each person who pledged a haiku, so here they are, can you guess who is who? (be warned I write crappy haiku)

In the northeast of
Kansas, libraries love software
freedom and koha

In Greece a lovely
woman translates software to
help grow its usage

Norway can be cold
but there lives a man with a
warm heart and kind soul

Because he cares, he
donates both time and money
to help the project

She moved to nz
but that wasn’t enough so
she donates things too

She walks the walk and
talks the talk documenting
everything in sphinx

The next example is that earlier this year TΓ³mas, the current release manager, had his house broken into and things, including his computers, taken. Within days Kyle had set up a gofundme campaign and in I think 3 days we hit the $2000 target.

There is another gofundme campaign running at the moment as well. Nicole (our documentation manager) has had a tough time of it lately and is currently seeking funds to help pay the medical expenses for one of her gorgeous dogs. Please help her out if you are able.

The last example I wanted to mention is the Koha Kiva team. We have loaned out $3275 in 131 loans to small businesses all around the world. Pretty neat huh?

Koha on debian or ubuntu – please don’t use CPAN

Recently I have seen people giving advice how to use CPAN to install the perl modules that Koha depends on. Now for non .deb based systems (Redhat, Centos, etc) this advice is ok. But if you are use a Debian based distro, like Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc please use the packages.

If it is not in your distro proper, you can get the packages from debian.koha-community.org. As new dependencies are added, we package them and submit them to Debian, so they end up in the next release, but you can always get them from debian.koha-community.org until then.

A really easy way to get them is of course to just install the koha-common package from there. You can read good instructions at http://wiki.koha-community.org/wiki/Debian or there is the koha-perldeps package which only pulls in the dependencies.

Why not use CPAN? Because then it is up to you to make sure you keep all your installed modules up to date, and with the latest security patches. Or you could let the package maintainers worry about that instead.

If you do bump into a module that isn’t packaged, let us know and we will fix that right away.


Tips from a really lazy dad – #4 : Helping kids with homework via chat

So sometimes my parents pick up the kids from school, and Kahurangi loves chatting, so we sometimes chat online while I am at work. One of the things the school is working on is answering addition problems fast. (Fast is the key, it’s almost more important than right). Chat is a great way to practice that. Below is a sample of it, I cut a lot of the math bits out because that isn’t super interesting. However I decided to leave in the surrounding conversation because it cracks me up.

Are you being good for nan?
is atarau being good?
is atarau being good too?
you cant use the tablet unless you are being good
I’m sure I’m being good
heh ok
do nan and koro want me to get something for dinner?
If you like koko will pay you back
what do they want? fish and chips?
3 Sausages and one fish and wedges and chips
ok, thanks
You’re welcome
have you done some maths?
whats 3 + 9
whats 12 – 4
Oops sorry that was a mistake 9
you were right the first time
it is 8
What does lol mean
I’m serious
Does it mean lauf out loud
Atarau and nan are playing marble run
Are you responding
thats what it means
Hello jello bello
Are you coming home
yep, leaving in about 10 minutes
then gotta stop to get the fish and chips
Work until 5 o clock
the traffic is too bad
ill finish at 4.30
and then be home by about 5.30 with the food
ok i gotta get back to work, aunty might send you a chat invite
Hi ho
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly that wriggled and jiggled inside her
I need to charge this thing

Tips from a really lazy dad – #3 Not giving a crap people are judging you for giving your kid a pie for breakfast

This morning we were running late for swimming, and to make it worse we forgot one of the swimming bags. So after turning round and going back home to get togs we had very little time to get breakfast. Then I realised I needed petrol, screw it, I thought, pies for everyone.
So that’s not the tip everyone knows pies are good, the tip is not caring about all the looks you get when your 5 year old is munching on a pie by the side of the pool while his brother swims. The old me would have been seething and barely holding back the desire to yell “What! You don’t know me man”. Now I’m happy to just let it wash over me. So that’s my tip, judgers be judging, ignore them and enjoy your pie.

Tips from a really lazy dad – #2 Minetest bribery

This one is a little bit trickier to pull off, first you will need a friendly German colleague who gives you her Raspberry Pi. (I guess you could just buy one yourself too). Then you need kids who are mad keen on crafting games specifically Minecraft, or in my case Minetest. Minetest is an Open Source clone of Minecraft which means I can run it in on the Raspberry Pi pretty easily, and I can make any changes I like.

What I have done is set up Minetest running as a server on the Pi and running a world in which I have created a ‘Rewards hut’


In there is a locked chest which only I (well they could but they’d get in trouble if they did and they know that) can open


And a sign that tells them what to do to get the current reward.


You wont be able to read whats on the sign (unless you click through) but it says “Put your washing in the laundry for 10 steel ingots”.Β Β  This actually works pretty well, you have to make the reward worth it, ie it would take them a bunch of time to get steel by mining.Β  I guess it fits into a different definition of lazy, it does involve me making a bunch of things that can be used as rewards and going and changing the sign every so often. But it’s kinda fun too.

Tips from a really lazy dad – #1 The breakfast bar

A couple of years ago we went as a family to Rotorua, the highlight of the trip for the kids was not the geothermal parks, nor Paradise Springs, or indeed any other tourist spot we visited. It was the breakfast buffet in the hotel.

So what do you do when you are lazy, and leave making the kids lunches until the morning and so are trying to get them dressed, and make the lunches, and get them to eat. You create a budget breakfast buffet for them. Basically I just put bowls, spoons and all the cereals on the table, got two bottles and put milk into each so that when they spill (when not if) it won’t be a full 2 litres. And away you go.

Of course it wasn’t quite as successful as I would have liked, most of my plans born of laziness aren’t.

Here’s how it looked when I set it up.

2015-02-08 16.16.54

And here’s how it looked after a breakfast

2015-03-18 19.44.56

Yes that is a baseball bat on the table … and some of those damned animal cards from countdown, and someone snuck oreos in as a breakfast food.Β  They didn’t spill 2 litres of milk though, so I’ll take that as a win.

Stay tuned for more tips, that probably won’t work, from a lazy dad.