So apparently LibLime (a support vendor for Koha, a major open-source ILS) has done a bait and switch — people who signed up for Koha support are in fact getting a vendor-specific, only-sorta-open version of the software.
I’ve been having unkind words about LibLime percolating in my head for a week which I’ve been not posting here, because I try not to be an unkind-words sort of person. But I no longer feel restraint about that.
So here’s my experience with LibLime:
They deleted my, and all my classmates’, final projects (Koha demos which they were hosting). The day before they were due.
A miscommunication was involved, and it can’t be said to be entirely Koha’s fault. The demos had been, properly, on a deletion list. But they also deleted them without notifying their client in advance. Or…noticing that there had been a tremendous amount of activity on these sites. Or, indeed, noticing that they had had support transactions on those sites within the last few weeks.
(This was ironic as part of my group’s conclusions about Koha is that you shouldn’t run it unless you personally are very comfortable with a Linux command line, or have a close and trusting relationship with an IT department or hosting company. So much for that plan…)
In addition, the demo sites they gave us were missing some very important functionality, and they couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I figured out how to fix it. Let’s keep in mind here that I’d never worked with Koha before this term, and the documentation…well, isn’t ideal, let’s say. I couldn’t implement (or verify) my solution because I didn’t have access to a command line, but I could use the knowledge to figure out a hack I could implement from the front end which got it working well enough for our purposes.
So for those playing along at home: yes, that means the person totally inexperienced with the software and without access to the command line diagnosed and fixed the problem before the person who gets paid to do that.
LibLime…oh, LibLime. I want there to be inspiring, kick-ass open-source support companies for the library world. I want open source to be able to offer both market and conceptual challenges to traditional software. I want the library world to have the agility that open source offers to try new tools and new paradigms. None of that is going to happen without quality support. That support, alas, is not you.