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In our continuing commitment to exploring and utilizing community developed, open source software, one of the digitization stations located in Digital Production Services has been converted from Microsoft Windows XP into a Linux station running Ubuntu 10.04. Instead of using proprietary software to scan and edit the items we digitize, such as Adobe Photoshop, we are now running completely on open source software such as Xscan and GIMP photo editor.

So far, the experience has been very good. The aging digitization machine was running very slowly in Windows, our digitization students often dealing with error messages or programs that refuse to run more than actually digitizing and editing materials. Now the system is running quite speedily, yet still provides both the basic and advanced services we expected from the Windows software just as fast if not faster. I’m hopeful that this increased speed and stability will increase the efficiency of our digitization program once our student employees return, as well as provide a “second life” to the machine itself.

We hope that this will provide a good guide moving forward in regards to “Linuxing” other computers around the library, such as student work stations, to not only reduce licensing costs, but to support the open source community as it continues to grow and enhance our computing experiences. If anyone would like to stop by and poke around the system, please let me know!