Here we are, ten years after the world started using Evergreen, twelve years after the first line of code was written. Gandhi may not have coined the phrase, but whoever did was right: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Evergreen won, in many senses, a long time ago. If nothing else, these recent reflections on the last ten years have reminded us that winning takes many forms. Growing from a single-site effort into a self-sustaining project with a positive, inviting community is certainly one type of win. Outlasting the doubt, the growing pains, the FUD, which Evergreen has, is another. Then, when you get past all that, most of your detractors become your imitators. It’s interesting how that happens. And, we can call that a win as well.
There has been, in just the last couple years, much talk in the ILS industry of openness. Essentially every ILS available in the last two decades has been built on the shoulders of Open Source projects to a greater or lesser degree: the Apache web server; the Perl and PHP languages; the Postgres and MySQL databases. The truth is that while most always have been, it’s only recently become fashionable to admit the fact. Then, of course, there are the claims of “open APIs” that aren’t. Perhaps most interesting, though not at all surprising, is the recent claim by a proprietary vendor that it was taking “the unprecedented step” of trying to “make open source a viable alternative for libraries.” Some seem to have missed the last ten or fifteen years of technology in libraries.
And so here we are, ten years later. Evergreen is in use by some 1,500 libraries, serving millions of patrons. Other ILS’s, new and old, want to do what Evergreen has managed to do. We say more power to them. We hope they succeed. The Evergreen community, and our colleagues here at Equinox, have helped pave the way for libraries to define their own future. That was the promise of Evergreen twelve years ago, and that was the goal of the first, small team on Labor Day weekend ten years ago. We’ve won, and delivered on that promise.
Now it’s time to see what the next ten years will bring. We’re ready, are you?
— Mike Rylander and Grace Dunbar
This is the twelfth and final post in our series leading up to Evergreen’s Tenth birthday. Thank you to all those who have been following along!