I did a little infographic showing a brief summary of 2016 for the Koha project, hope it is useful/fun for someone.
As most of you will know I have been working on Koha since 1999. Most of you will also know that without others at the beginning like Rachel, Simon, Olwen, Rosalie and Jo Koha would simply not exist. What people people might not be aware of though is that the one person who has been with me throughout the whole 18 years, that Koha has been worked on, is my wife Laurel.
She wasn’t my wife when I started in fact we had only recently met. But the stories of my Koha journey are intertwined with my relationship with Laurel. Without her constant support I would have given up a long time ago. A few years ago I wrote an unsung heroes of Koha post about Laurel.
Without her support I would never have been to travel the places I have, do the work on Koha I do in the weekends and evenings and so much more.
All of this is a long lead in to say that now Laurel needs your help (only if you are in a position where you can of course). Laurel is an art educator and an artist. Neither of which, unless you are incredibly fortunate, are careers that provide much in the way of financial rewards.
Laurel has battled a lot of health problems throughout her life and her art is one way she deals with it. She is currently working on 2 shows to exhibit
And is currently fundraising to cover a small part of the costs. We’d love to be able to cover the costs ourselves but unfortunately we can’t. So if you want to help Laurel out (and be part of making some fantastic art) which indirectly helps me out, which indirectly helps Koha out, please do. And if you don’t we’re still friends 🙂
Somehow (most likely due to my inability to say no) I ended up attending 3 conferences (and speaking at 2 of them) in 3 weeks. Two of them in Australia and the third in India. Apart from being really really tiring they were all great.
First up was Linux Conference Australia, held in Geelong (an hour out of Melbourne). It was a full week conference, with the first 2 days being miniconfs then the next three conference proper. I attended Open Source and Bioinformatics, and the Community Leadership Summit X at LA miniconfs. They were both excellent, Bioinformatics was something I knew nothing about beforehand so I learned a lot. The Community Leadership summit was really good, due mostly to the attendees. The programme was great as it always is. I spoke on Thursday, I think it went ok, there was a good write up at LWN. The social track was a highlight (drinks in a brewery are always fun) as well and I met and talked to a lot of lovely people.
Next up, I caught the train to Melbourne, and enjoyed some of the lunar new year festivities over the weekend.
On Monday, we gave an Intro to Koha talk in Melbourne, which was really well attended.
Followed by a bunch of meetings then a Koha user group meetup and dinner after. The Koha user group meets in the Melbourne Athenaeum, a fantastic place.
The next three days were the VALA conference, a definite change of pace to LCA, but interesting nonetheless. I didn’t get any photos during the conference, but of course I got some photos of some of the fantastic food on offer in Southbank.
On Friday Kris and I visited the National gallery, which had a great exhibition of Warhol and Ai Weiwei, then flew back to NZ. I had the weekend with my family, and on Monday morning flew out to India to the National Koha Conclave.
Once again the Catalyst Open Source Academy was a great success. Thanks of course to the students, but also the tutors, mentors and organisers. I won’t talk too much about the first week here, I am sure that will be covered by others, but I wanted to talk about all the work the Koha team got done.
I had a great group of students, who worked really hard and got a lot done. The group work started great as the first day was Chloe’s birthday and she brought in a delicious cheesecake.
Myself, Aleisha and others from the Koha community had prepared around 40 issues for the students to work on. But by the end of the day they had already dealt 14 of them and were speeding up. This was just in the afternoon, as getting a working development environment took most of the moring. Which meant I spent the evening finding more work to do, not a bad problem to have.
- Setting up the development environment
- 12 new patches for bugs
- 2 existing patchsets signed off
For day 2 I had what I thought were trickier issues that should take most of the day to solve, but nope they still got through way more than I expected.
- Made new favicons for the Koha wiki
- Some html/css changes to scoreboard.koha-community.org
- Changed the theme on the Koha dashboard back to normal, not xmas
- 16 new patches for bugs
- 4 existing patchsets signed off
After another evening of scrambling to make sure I had plenty of stuff for them to do, we got into day 3. I had actually managed to get some quite tricky ones, which meant that although it looks they did less, they actually worked just as hard, but to solve much trickier problems
- Fixing up any of their patches that had failed QA previously
- 9 new patches
- 1 existing patchset signed off
Onto the final day, this was just a half day, as the afternoon was taken up with the students presenting what they had done, and a capture the flag security competition.
For something different, I got them to use Gource to create a movie visualisation of the work they had done that week. Here are two of them
They also signed off a few more patches, and even added a few new patches also.
In summary they were a super productive group of 4 young people, and I hope they continue with their interest in IT, the NZ IT community would be lucky to have them. Here are some quick stats from git.
- 39 patchsets created
- A total of 271 lines added, 95 removed (delta 176)
All of them have at least one patch in Koha now, and I expect that of those 39 patches, almost all of them will make it in.
I just want to finish with a big thanks to Aleisha and Francesca who helped out a lot, and to Kathryn, Liz and Lucio who held down the fort upstairs.
Oh and here’s some pics of “Chris pointing at things” It seems I do this a lot at the academy.
All pictures in this post are Copyright Catalyst Open Source 2016 – Licensed CC-BY-SA (2.0)
I’ve decided to put a list, that I will keep updated to make it easier to find the unsung heroes posts, so here goes
- Olwen Williams
- The Directors of Athens County Public Libraries
- Benedykt P. Barszcz and Pawel Skuza
- Ambrose Li
- Pascale Nalon
- Mike Mylonas
- Nicolas Rosasco
- Roger Buck
- Anthony Mao
- The Staff at Horowhenua Library Trust
- Laurel Barr
- Ed Summers
- Andrew Arensburger
- Rob Weir
- The #koha irc channel
- Pierrick Le Gall
- Pat Eyler
- Glen Stewart
- The translators
- Georgia Katsarou
- The people behind es.koha-community.org
- The go it aloners
- Frère Sébastien Marie
- Owen Leonard
- Butte-Silver Bow Public library
- Darla Grediagin
- Libraries with inhouse developers
- Rachel Hamilton-Williams
- Jim Minges
- Heather Hernandez
- Marc Véron
As is the trend for all Kohacon, this was the best Kohacon yet. Not only was the venue great, but so were the people and the presentations.
It flew by so fast (that’s how you know it was interesting) and we covered so many topics. From Automation uptake in Nigeria, to sysadmin tips, to RFID, to digital resources and so much more.
One of the major takeaways for me was the passion and the willingness to discuss and share ideas. There certainly are challenges here, with unreliable power, not great internet, and of course as it is libraries, funding. But what there isn’t here is any sense of fatality, people are working hard to make things better, and to serve their users to the best of their ability.
Apart from the conference proper, for the cultural day we went to ‘The Sacred Grove in Osogbo, Osun” which is a world heritage site, and for good reason.
We probably didn’t get as much done at the hackfest as we could have, but the internet made that a little hard. We did though explore some monitoring tools that can help deal with the symptoms of the unreliable power. I hope that it was some use to the participants.
In conclusion, I would like to say it was an honour for me to be here, I hope that I provided some useful information for others, I certainly learnt from them. A big e se to Projectlink Konsult, and to my work Catalyst for making it possible for me to come. And e se to all the other participants who made the conference what it was.
You should have been here.
Day 3 was another packed day, we started with the presentation of a paper that studied the uptake of Automation systems in Nigeria. For a lot of the libraries using Koha here, Koha is their first automation system, and the majority of libraries here are still using manual processes.
Following that we had a presentation by Safari Books, on the springer journals and ebooks, including how they can easily be added to Koha
RFID and Koha was next, covering how using the 2 together is very easy, or very hard, but it depends entirely on who your RFID vendor is. Because basically it’s entirely up to them to comply with the standards that Koha already complies with. The presenter made some remark about rugby also …
There was a brief discussion on a Koha Africa user group, which resulted in an unanimous decision that yes that should totally be set up, and the next step is finding a person to take on the coordination role.
For the afternoon we travelled to Bowen University, about an hour away in Iwo. Bowen was the first library in Nigeria to install Koha in 2007. We were welcomed by both the University Librarian and the University Vice Chancellor. Which was a great honour. I always love to see people using Koha, and how they are using it, so this was a real highlight for me.