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OPF Blog: Community and code

·339 words
Development Digital Preservation
Andy Jackson
Andy Jackson
Fighting entropy since 1993

As well as blogging about digital preservation here, I’ve also got a blog on the Open Planets Foundation website where I’ll post about OPF issues. I’ve just posted my first blog entry there: Community and code. Reproduced below the fold.

Planets was a great success, and I'm proud to have been a part of it. We've done a lot of great work, written a lot of documents, created some pretty decent software, and made as much of it as widely available as we possibly can. We'll be publishing the documentation through this site, and the code is up on SourceForge. We're currently setting up the development and issue-tracking environment, and then we can get down to the real business and work out what we want to build with all we've learned...

But I'd throw away every single line of code and every single document, rather than lose the Planets community that helped create them. I think we had a nearly perfect blend of technical experts, developers, practitioners, academics and architects, all focussed on building real solutions to the preservation problems that we face today. I believe this tight focus on developing practical systems and tools is a critical part of our success.

That community, and that focus, is what the OPF is really about. This website aims to be the hub that helps that community stay in touch, and to grow, no matter which project gets funding, no matter who is a member of what. To pool our knowledge and keep it alive, and to work together to build the tools we need.

To sustain this, we need funding that doesn't disappear every few years, and the membership system provides that. But although the members get preferential access and treatment, and will steer the overall direction of the work, there is a place for everyone who wishes to contribute anything. Documentation, code, bug reports, advice, experience and ideas. Membership is not a requirement in order to be heard.

In many ways, the software is just an excuse to keep talking.