Site news

On temporary hiatus


Sorry for not posting this sooner, but because of a load of not-oss4lib tasks to accomplish before the end of the summer, this site will likely stay quiet at least until September 2007. Hope to be back soon.

In the meantime please continue to post news and other stories to the oss4lib-discuss list.



I've updated to use a more recent version of drupal. It's not the latest and greatest, but it's an improvement, and several issues people wrote in about now seem to be fixed.

Some things aren't as nice as before, but others are better. Oh, and: new theme. :)

Let me know if you run into any problems. And if you want to post stories, send me email - there's an extra thingy I'll have to do for you.

OOo Label Templates 1.0

Free Opendocument (ODF) label templates are available for downloading from Set-up time is quick and designing and printing labels from these templates is easy. The templates include CD, mailing, vhs tape, sizes for book plates and more. The templates will work on Open Source text editors like Writer and Kword. US letter and European/Asian a4 sizes available.

Please visit: Label Templates to view the complete collection.

Story Submissions


Everybody is allowed to create accounts and post stories at To keep things somewhat consistent, please follow the following guidelines.

  • All posted stories should be about free/open source software/systems or libraries or both. It is definitely okay to post stories that ask for help within these topics. But, we won't do your homework for you.
  • Before you want to post a story, contact me. You won't be able to create a story until I twiddle a bit in your profile. Think of it as an email-based captcha. :)
  • If you post a story about a software release, please:
    1. Make the story title explicit: if you're releasing version 3.14 of FooLibrary, call the story "FooLibrary-3.4".
    2. Include working links to your project page, and a separate download page. Please double check your links, only you know where your stuff is and if links are broken, we can't see it. :)
    3. Attach a copy of your software release if reasonable; compressed tarballs/zipfiles preferred. It is not reasonable to post 100+Mb files. By posting your software to, you increase the likelihood that the rest of us have a reasonable chance of finding it if your own site goes away. This happens all the time, and for several interesting projects, files cached at are the only known copies of released software.
    4. Keyword tags are a very useful way to find your project, and browse everything at oss4lib, so please assign one or more keywords to your project from the provided list. If you're not sure if a keyword fits, browse other stories posted with that tag to be sure. If you think you need a new keyword added, contact the administrators. Fwiw, though, seven years and 450+ posts have fit into the vocabulary we have now, so, there's probably at least one existing tag you can use now, and it's easy for us to add another if your new tag idea makes sense (we can add it even after you post your story, so go ahead and post it).
  • Site editors/administrators reserve the right to edit content for consistency, and the right to remove posted stories or comments for any reason. It's likely we'd only actually remove content if it is considered by the editors to be grossly offensive, discriminatory, lewd, or just out of scope. We don't ever want to remove content, but we will if we have to.
  • Site editors/administrators reserve the right to ban users who repeatedly post content that does not follow these guidelines or who otherwise abuse the system. is back!

NOT SAN ANTONIO, TX - In a gala closing reception held nowhere near the ALA Midwinter Conference, the longest-running-if-barely-so library tech blog came back. Bananas were eaten; drupal modules were installed. Reached at an Ikea store in Georgia, Ross Singer said "I use OSS4Lib, the /only/ source for OSS in Libraries." It's true, he said that - you could hear the slashes in his southern drawl. mdxi, of upstate #code4lib, added "oss4lib is the leading no-longer-purple web news source for developments in the intersection of libre software development and the evolution the library."

Updates include:

  • Uses a real backend that wasn't written in 1998
  • All old content has been tagged by topic
  • Anybody can sign up and submit stories
  • Anybody can create a project page for their open source/library project
  • We're aggregating "oss4lib" tag feeds from and unalog; use the tag "oss4lib" on relevant links when you post to those sites, and your links will show up on the right over there -->
  • All stories come with easy links to save or look up story bookmarks at unalog,, digg, reddit, and technorati
  • You can sign up to get email notifying you of new stories again

Things left to do:

  • A better theme (looking for volunteer contributions!)
  • Some old links are probably broken; old list archive in particular needs a new home
  • Figure out a good way to recreate the old project list and file cache
  • Profit!

Come have a look around.

Comments/suggestions for the new backend


Please kick the tires a bit, and leave any comments here. Only registered users can comment or post, so create an account and sign if you want.

Thanks! -dchud

About oss4lib


Our mission is to build better and free systems for use in libraries. Toward this end, we maintain a listing of free software and systems designed for libraries (the physical, books-on-shelves kind), and we track news about project updates or related issues of interest.

oss4lib started at the Yale Medical Library in early February 1999 thinking there were probably other folks like us out there who might be working on free library software or looking for same. Our reasons for wanting to see Open Source take off in the library software arena are straightforward, fairly typical, and mostly outlined in the Open Source Systems for Libraries: Getting Started piece. You would think librarians would have figured this shared software thing out years ago. :)

Dan Chudnov (dchud) started oss4lib and maintains it, along with the many readers who often post news. Everyone is welcome to sign up for an account and post news, so long as it's about free software or libraries or the intersection of both.

oss4lib is a volunteer effort. If you like oss4lib, consider buying snazzy oss4lib tshirts and mugs; we'll get $3/shirt or $2/mug, which doesn't sound like much but actually really helps.

Free Dimitry Sklyarov!


The U.S. vs. Sklyarov case threatens us all, down to the very core of what we do as librarians. Do your best to read up on it, be wise about it, and spread the word -- Dimitry needs our help, and the DMCA must be fixed! See for a good starting point. Profits from the new "fight the DMCA" tshirts will be donated to the EFF.

Two Years of oss4lib


Happy Birthday to us! We're two!

Certainly has been an interesting two years. What have we accomplished? There are nearly 50 items on the projects page We've had over 200 announcements from 36 different folks, including the mysterious "anon" (anybody know who this guy is?). There are over 250 subscribers on the list, with new folks joining all the time. More than anything else, we've noticed that in recent months there has been a huge increase in the number of conference events about open source in our community, so we know the idea has climbed the ladder without losing its roots. And, best of all, perhaps, is that many of us have actually met at these events, and cultivated friendships and a network of relationships bringing a new measure of enjoyment and effectiveness to our work.

We here at oss4lib really enjoy serving this tightknit community, and we're planning on some new features for the site soon. It's a real pleasure getting to do what we do.

What's been your favorite open source/library event, or the project you're proudest about? Where should we be moving? Are there things we're not getting right? Send us your thoughts...

wiki sticky?


In the ever-searching quest to hype oss4lib and make it useful we've made some bad moves in the past, I'll admit. Catalog Card Day at Yankee Stadium made for a few laughs, though, and while we're still negotiating a settlement of that class action suit from Cincinnati residents after the Great Thanksgiving Day Microfiche Reader Drop we're betting that the new oss4lib wiki will really put us over the top this time.

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