Prospero is a mostly-gone-but-not-forgotten ILL/DD toolkit that ran into, um, *ahem* problems with its 2.0 release. If you sift through the history of posts here about Prospero, you'll find more details about how it evolved, but not a copy of the software. Attached to this post is a copy of the 1.40 release, for the completist library hacker in your ilfe.

prospero140.zip2.31 MB

Were you involved with Prospero, Dan? I see from the listserv archives (which I pretty much clicked on and then realized I didn't feel like reading more than the first page of subject lines) that at one point it one an award or two. So apparently people thought it had promise. Yet it no longer exists. Which, actually, isn't necessarily a failure, everything that is born must eventually die.

But I think as the library community gets more and more involved in community-developed/shared applications, it's useful to learn from our experience, positive or negative. And one aspect that could use more attention is the end of life of such a project, whether positive or negative, or more likely a mixture of both.

If you had any post-mortem comments to offer about the end of Prospero's useful life, I think it would be really valuable. Maybe a Code4Lib Journal article? Although your "ahem" in there maybe implies it's too politically sensitive to really talk about. Which, sadly, is probably why we don't pay much attention documenting, discussing, and learning from project's that die. Too bad.

I was involved early on. There are people who will probably see this who could fill in details, but what I understand of it is that there was a lawsuit that coincided with the 2.0 release, which was then "pulled" offline despite having been released under GPL, under some heavy administrative pressure. At the time I considered hosting the 2.0 release myself, but the people on the short end of the stick were colleagues and I held back from stirring up trouble out of respect for their predicament. There have been so many mergers and splits and folds since then that I don't even know if the company involved still exists.

I'd bet there are still libraries using the 1.x series, and maybe even a few using 2.0, but so many of the functions were added/subsumed into the products y'all know now that I'd be surprised if it's more than just a smattering.

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