Wow. Eileen R. Kontrovitz, a board member of CODI (Customers of Dynix, Inc.) wrote, as part of her summary of the recent CODI conference:
Many very nice things happened at the conference but the buzz, the thing everyone who was not there wants to hear about is the unannounced, invitation only meeting with Martin Taylor from Vista Equity Partners about open source. Mr. Taylor began the meeting in a very cordial way and with a charm about him that belied the basic message he proceeded to give. That message was, we know more than you do and if you don't like it you can go to some other "happy place". He actually said that on more than one occasion.
I guess Vista feels quite threatened by open source library systems, even though they currently account for only 1% of the US public library market today, if they're willing to have their top brass lay on the fear, uncertainty, and doubt campaign to their top customers behind closed doors. It also seems that Mr. Taylor's tactics have backfired, at least in this case; after praising the common SirsiDynix employees, Eileen goes on to say that Vista's attitude has almost ensured that her library (Ouachita Parish Public Library) will not move to Symphony. This, even though Eileen says:
...I happen to agree with his assessment of open source for a library ILS at this point in time and the many problems with the very nature of the beast without some kind of regulating body...
Perhaps this should be the subject of another blog post, but I believe there are actually a number ways Evergreen is regulated. First is that an open source project is not an "anything goes" project: the committers for the project act as a level of quality control for Evergreen. If code doesn't further the Evergreen mission by contributing towards stability, robustness, flexibility, security, or user-friendliness, then it's simply not going to go into the project proper. Second is that at least one company (Equinox) is staking its success on Evergreen, and others are starting to build up business around Evergreen. They're not going to sit back and rest easy; they know that they have to enhance Evergreen beyond its current core strengths if they want to build inroads into markets like academic libraries. Third is that Evergreen's open source license also acts as a regulator - the code that comprises Evergreen can never be pulled from the market, so the future of Evergreen is always in the hands of the community.