The Myth of Free: The Hidden Costs of Open Source Software
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Open source software (OSS) has become increasingly visible in recent years as a viable option for library automation. Many libraries rely on an integrated library system (ILS) to perform automation and library functions. As this is expensive software, many libraries are interested in open source ILS options, which provide the source code to anyone who requests it free of charge. This report assesses the costs of choosing an open source integrated library system over a proprietary integrated library system. It examines the human, time and monetary costs of choosing to work with an OSS ILS, in the face of claims that OSS is “free”. OSS ILS’s provide their users and contributors with the freedom to make the software into anything and everything a library desires. But open source ILS options certainly aren’t completely costless.