Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

PTFS to acquire Liblime

Just heard the news that PTFS is to acquire Liblime. This is quite big news, not just for libraries already using Open Source, but also for the whole LMS sector. Liblime have over 500 libraries in the US, and PTFS’ European office is gradually building up an Open Source LMS customer base in Europe. The established LMS companies have been accused of complacency in the past, but this ought to stir them!

On whether it is good news for the OS LMS sector I’m staying on the fence for the time being. On one hand if it increases the use of OS LMS that can only be a good thing from the point of view of bringing fresh insight and ways of doing things into an LMS market which has become a little stale in some areas. However on the other hand it means that the merged company has a lot of influence over Koha, perhaps more than some people are comfortable with. There was a disagreement last year in the Koha camp about the ownership of the extra work Liblime has put in to create Enterprise Koha, and there was also a little friction with PTFS at one time as well. Hopefully these issues will be managed and Koha will continue to be developed according to user priorities. There are a few more companies emerging to support Koha at the moment such as Bywater Solutions so perhaps the risk is diminishing already.

The other thing that could be interesting is that PTFS are also licensed to support Evergreen. Supporting either Koha and Evergreen need not be exclusive, indeed a bit of cross-fertilisation could be productive. However marketing one over the other might not be such a good thing – the user should be aided to select the system which best meets her/his needs. Hopefully the new company will take this attitude, and in this case I look forward to developments!


January 14, 2010 - Posted by | Libraries | , , ,


  1. I agree you about being on the fence. It’s just too early to tell what is going to happen. I disagree with your statement that there “was a disagreement last year in the Koha camp about the ownership of the extra work Liblime has put in to create Enterprise Koha.” The disagreement stems not from the “extra work” that Liblime put into their “Enterprise Koha,” but to the fact that they refused to release the code (for an ostensibly open source project) to the world at large.

    With regard to Evergreen, LibLime at least in the past offered Evergreen support, and ByWater Solutions does today. It doesn’t seem to be an unusual offering. What doesn’t seem to have happened yet is that cross-fertilization.

    Comment by Owen | January 17, 2010

  2. Owen,
    Apologies – as an interested outsider I’m not always clear on the detail

    Comment by Ian | January 17, 2010

  3. Another bit of detail correction: BibLibre, Tamil, and probably others have all been building up a FOSS LMS customer base in Europe long before PTFS Europe opened. I think I even remember original authors Katipo doing some work in Austria or Switzerland or somewhere like that!

    Comment by MJ Ray | January 19, 2010

  4. I don’t think I said that there were no other companies supporting OS LMS in Europe? There was no intention to ignore TTLLP, and I’m sorry if the blog read that way. My point was that PTFS/Liblime has strength internationally, not just in the US. The way that OS LMS are supported is changing, perhaps necessarily to reflect their growing adoption, and I’m interested in what will happen and how this will affect libraries.

    Comment by Ian | January 19, 2010

  5. Sorry, I read “PTFS’ European office is gradually building up an Open Source LMS customer base in Europe” as suggesting there was no FOSS LMS customer base here before, whereas I’ve been supporting Koha for 7 years now. I think most non-US FOSS LMS support companies have strength internationally – not doing so seems like a US quirk.

    Can I interest you in coming off the fence? What do you think is most likely to happen? What would you prefer to happen? Can we help to make it so? Will we see a new partnership between libraries and LMS developers, or will it fall back to old-fashioned vendor-as-baron models?

    Comment by MJ Ray | January 19, 2010

  6. That’s a lot of questions, and difficult to keep non-specific as befits a public forum! Email reply to follow. Would anyone else like to comment?

    Comment by Ian | January 19, 2010

  7. […] Haydock, Ian. “PTFS to acquire Liblime.” Meeting on the ledge, January 14, 2010. […]

    Pingback by Koha Newsletter: Volume 1/Issue 2: February 2010 » Koha Open Source ILS | February 15, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: