Warning: this tutorial was developed in 2008, and is for versions of Koha and Ubuntu that are now considered quite old. If you want to install the current version of Koha on Ubuntu, please visit Koha on Ubuntu at the Koha Community wiki.
This is part 6 of 6 in a tutorial series on installing Koha 3.0 on Ubuntu 8.10.
So far we’ve installed and configured Linux, laid the groundwork for Koha, installed and configured Koha, and played around with it a little.
If you’re considering the next step—using Koha for actual library holdings and actual patrons—this final article is for you.
If you plan to put Koha into production for real-world Library use there are many other things you need to consider. The final article in the series, Going Live, discusses this further.
If you’re considering hosting your own live, production Koha implementation, it’s important that you understand what you’re getting into.
Before you take Koha into production with live data it’s critical that you seek sound advice from one or more competent web/Linux system administrators.
I am definitely not a competent system administrator, so this section is simply a collection of my (informed, I hope) opinions. Please take it as such.
Koha is free. Competent application– and system administration and support is not.
I’m not qualified to administer a production web server, but through years of developing and deploying web-based applications for sensitive information I’ve worked with a number of people who are. Here’s what I know.
To proceed with a production Koha implementation you’ll either need your own IT staff with the required expertise, or you’ll need to contract with someone who has it. That might be general IT consulting firm or an organization that specializes in Koha implementations. The Koha Library Software Community provides a page listing organizations that install and/or support Koha.
In any case you must have:
There are more things of course, but your competent application– and system-administrators can work with you on the details.
One way to address some of these issues is to locate Koha with an independent web host (one supporting shell access and virtual private servers). There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from.
This is far from a panacea. While this will relieve you of many security and system administration issues, you’re also putting both your trust and your patron information in the hands of a third party company. Not all web hosts deserve this trust. Of the ones that do, not all will remain that way.
This Blazing Moon article gives some advice on researching and choosing a web host.
This thread from a Koha newsgroup is a good example of some moderately hairy diagnostic work in response to an issue with the optional Zebra search engine. I include it here to illustrate a point: embark on a Koha implementation only if someone in your organization or someone you contract with is willing and able to tackle troubleshooting of this sort when needed.
Koha is a wonderful and Free Open Source software package developed by a community of people who are trying to make the world a better place and who believe high-quality software should be freely available.
Though I’ve outlined a somewhat imposing list of logistical considerations above, there are many successful production Koha implementations in the world, there will be many more, and there are plenty of good people out there who can help you to have one if it’s the direction you choose.
If all has gone well you’ve just installed a test bed where you can better understand how Koha would work for your organization. I believe you’ll not only find the software to be of high quality, but the online community to be helpful and supportive.
Best of luck with your investigation and the choices you have ahead.