Writing Free Software
a country of Maruti Dealers

Indranil Das Gupta
Licensed under: Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution-ShareAlike


"My name is Das Gupta and I'm not a Librarian"


  • 1987 - Started using computers
  • 1994 - Started using GNU/Linux
  • 1998 - Founded Calcutta Linux Users Group (ilug-cal.org)
  • 1999 - Setup ISPs, servers for BSNL 172222 / 172226 "account-free" dial-up
  • 2002 - Founder Member of Ankur Bangla Group (Linux Localization BN_IN)
  • 2004 - First Koha ILS installation at West Bengal University of Technology


  • 2005 - Consulted with Red Hat Inc.
  • 2005 - Co-founded L2C2 Technologies - an open source consultancy
  • 2005 - Koha LiveCD Manager
  • 2006 - Project Co-Lead OpenOffice.org Bengali Native Language Project
  • 2010 - Technology Lead for West Bengal Public Library Network
  • 2015 - Code contributor and member of the Koha Release Team


Image source : Bluesbuster.net

It was suggested that I speak about

"India's Contribution to Koha Development"


Indian Population

125.2 crore (1.252 billion) - 2013

Indians in the Koha Development Team

Md. Aftabuddin Amit Gupta Indranil Das Gupta Koustubha Kale Meenakshi R. Savitra Sirohi

A quick recap of FOSS myths

  • Free Software is NOT commercial software
  • Free software is cheap; NO need ever to pay anyone
  • Anyone can simply download and start to use it

Free software is ...

Software whose code is openly available and whose license allows us to use it, change it and distribute it to anyone with these same rights remaining intact.

Koha has largely been funded development

  • The original development by Katipo
  • MARC21 support, UNIMARC support, z39.50 support
  • Enriched OPAC development, EBSCO plugin
  • Barcode / Spine Labels / RFID development
  • Gate Register (first crowdfunded feature from India)

Koha has largely been funded development


How big is Koha ILS

$ sudo apt-get install koha-common

How big is Koha ILS

Lines of code : 1,75,11,930 (1.75 crore)
No. of commits : 28,470 Github
Notional cost : 10s of millions of $$$

How big is Koha ILS

Major releases in a year : 2
Minor bugfix, security, maintenance releases : 10

So who makes this possible?

  • Release manager
  • Release maintainers
  • Package manager
  • Translation manager
  • QA manager
  • QA team
  • Documentation manager
  • Testers
  • Developers
  • Bug reporters


Source : http://blog.bigballofwax.co.nz/2016/12/30/koha-2016-by-the-numbers/


How many of these from India?

So no development happening from India?

No! There is development


The Bug Bears

  1. Lack of testers, bug reporters (cultural issues)
  2. Indian patches locked away as closed source
  3. Patches that do not follow best practises
  4. If we do, we release when the code is "complete"
  5. **After market** development
  6. Extending Koha using PHP and direct DB access

Who is responsible?

Source : Walt Kelly's (1913-1973) Earth Day poster on April 22, 1970.

Who is responsible?

  • Librarians, Library administrators, bureaucrats
    • Koha is free, so service should also be free... right?
    • Who is the L1? We want sasta, sundar, tikaao!
    • Share what we paid for with others? No way!

Who is responsible?

  • Indian Koha vendors and developers
    • Rent seeking attitude
    • Low per project revenue
    • Lack of active participation in global community

Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

Ummm.... no!

Coding is just one part of Koha's development.

Contributing to Koha

  • Find a bug and report it
  • Volunteer as a tester
  • Fix a bug and submit the patch
  • Help in brainstorming
  • Answer new users' queries
  • Translate Koha into your own language
  • Organise a local event around Koha
  • Fund-a-feature!

The way forward

  • User education
  • Closer collaboration among Indian Koha vendors
  • Region-wise frequent interaction fora like KohaNA
  • Koha user-consortia development

become "Maruti Suzuki"

Thank you!

Contact info

Indranil Das Gupta

Email : indradg@l2c2.co.in
@indradg (Twitter)
Phone: +91-98300-20971