Who knew the Vatican library uses open source?
We read this article with interest today:
It looks at the way the Vatican library uses open source and open standards for long-term preservation of electronic documents. Head of IT at the Vatican Library, Luciano Ammenti, identified another key benefit: avoiding vendor lock-in. Both of these points are interesting and we’ll take a closer look, but the line from the article that really leapt out was this:
The Vatican library does not have a policy prescribing open source and open standards, says Ammenti. “The reality is that in our data centre we use a lot of open source software, sharing our experiences with other scientific communities. It is a privilege to use their open source solutions.”
The best solutions are open source
In other words, the set up at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (to give it its proper name) hasn’t been prescribed or imposed by a higher authority, rather it simply provides the best solution and day-to-day it helps the Library achieve its aims. The Vatican library uses open source just because nothing else performs as well, not out of adherence to higher principles. That’s a very powerful endorsement of open source, and further reading of the article reveals that the IT department at the Vatican library uses open source for wider operations.
Well-maintained open source software
Discussing digital file format in particular, Mr Ammenti referred to the features of the actively-maintained system the library uses and contrasted it with the only proprietary alternative, which was last updated in 1998. The freedom to identify and migrate to well-maintained open source systems such as that one is a key element of the appeal of open source and the heightened productivity it can unlock. Making operational decisions in the knowledge that open standards underpin the choices you make is a breath of fresh air for IT professionals used to working within the limits of proprietary systems.
If you have any queries about adopting open source alternatives to any of the proprietarysolutions you use, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.