Anti-open source document from SirsiDynix leaked

Awesome librarian Jessamyn West at is blogging about an anti-open source document from SirsiDynix corp. available from WikiLeaks. About the document:

“This document was released only to a select number of existing customers of the company SirsiDynix, a proprietary library automation software vendor. It has not been released more broadly specifically because of the misinformation about open source software and possible libel per se against certain competitors contained therein”.

From the document I have find a lot of interesting statements:

“…it should be noted that it is rare for completely open source projects to be successful. Rather than focusing on best-in-class software choice decision-making, these projects often end up being archipelagos of systems driven by a philosophical principle that is anti-proprietary”.

Apache, Linux, Firefox, Drupal, WordPress… Need we say moore?

“..the number of Linux desktops is meager compared to Microsoft Windows desktops. By choosing a Linux desktop, a user closes the door on some software because it may never be created for or ported to Linux. Add to this the major changes in allied systems that require an adaptation for the ILS and the issue grows exponentially”.

Times are a-changing…

“While some open source ILS companies are offering hosted solutions, these solutions are not at the scale or professionalism of a proprietary SaaS solution, nor do they provide the service level agreements or service expectations that SirsiDynix commits to”.

Was that adressed to LibLime and others? Or even Acquia for Drupal or Canonical for Ubuntu?

“Generally, the available open source ILS platforms have less than half of the features and functions of any SirsiDynix ILS”.

It took at least 2 years for ExLibris to implement an usually common option in their Aleph system that I know a programmer could have fixed in less than a day.

“Proprietary software has more features. Period. Proprietary software is much more user-friendly”.

WordPress is veeeery user-friendly. SharePoint is not user-friendly. RT is not user-friendly. Mac OS is user-friendly. It’s not about proprietary or open source when coming to user-friendliness.

“SirsiDynix consultants have written custom API programs since the company introduced the Application Programming Interface (API) nearly 20 years ago”.

I read at swedish library blog Betabib this observation from the conference Computers in libraries 2009:

“He [Stephen Abram] addressed the issue of SirsiDynix longtime experience of API:s. But when talking to some of their customers they looked at me questioning”.

Even more from the document:

“Some of the most security-conscious entities, like the United States Department of Defense, restrict the use of open source software for fear that it could pose a terrorist opportunity”.

Why did the White House choose open source Drupal? Aren’t they afraid of terrorists?

“Finally, one of the biggest claims of open source proponents is that it is more reliable. They argue that since any programmer can find and fix bugs, the software will be repaired and improved more quickly. There is, however, no guarantee that the bug you want fixed will engage a member of the community to fix it”.

Maybe the IT folks at the White House think they can fix bugs better and even faster within in the community than behind the walls of a proprietary software corporation?

From the end of this document.):

“We’ve [SirsiDynix] led the development of some of the most advanced features and capabilities of ILS platforms. So we know a thing or two about what it takes for library systems to be successful. While we encourage the development of open formats, we must discourage libraries from jumping headlong into an open source platform to operate their ILS system on. At the current production cycle, jumping into open source would be dangerous, at best”.

Every ILS solution is more or less dangerous to speak SirsiDynix language. It’s just that it I like when I can see what is dangerous and share this dangerousness within an open community. Thanks WikiLeaks!