Horizon 7.4.2 – available “worldwide”

The press release for Horizon 7.4.2 has just gone online.
Both Talin Bingham (Chief Technology Officer) and Gary Rautenstrauch (Chief Executive Officer) use the word “worldwide” in the press release:

This new version adds functionality requested by our customers worldwide and offers great benefits to libraries and patrons alike…

Providing the features librarians need and delivering the best user experience worldwide are SirsiDynix’s highest priorities.

However, the reality is that Horizon 7.4.2 is a North American only release. Much as I would love to be able to roll out some of those new features here at Huddersfield, and much as I would love to have all those really nasty security holes in HIP fixed, the bottom line is that I can’t — SirsiDynix’s definition of “worldwide” is a curiously US-centric one.
Horizon customers in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, etc, are not “qualifying customers”, despite paying their yearly maintenance.
SirsiDynix International made a decision a year or two ago that they would no longer provide regional variations of Horizon, and I can fully understand why. As a non-American customer, I might not be happy about it, but I can understand why. What I can’t understand (and frankly, it’s starting to really piss me off) is why the company continues to pretend in public that they are.
If anyone senior from the SirsiDynix US office would like to contact me today, then please do — I’m sure you’ll find my direct telephone number in your UK customer contacts database. Maybe there’s a perfectly good reason why most of your Horizon customers in Europe are no longer classified as being part of your “worldwide” customer base and I’d really love to hear it.

14 thoughts on “Horizon 7.4.2 – available “worldwide””

  1. Curious at what the ‘regional variations’ are? The only ‘worldwide’ LMS (ILS) I’ve any real experience with is Voyager, and it was the same product what ever country you are in. So wondering what the customised for different countries? (guess it may be things like interlibrary loans, where we have a fairly unusual setup in the UK, Borrower info differences – such as SSNs in the US, currency etc??)

  2. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comprehensive list of the differences for each country, although I think reserves/holds and short loans are handled differently in the UK version.
    In the past, it used to take the UK office a couple of weeks to apply the customisations to any new release, and then a handful of Horizon customers would beta test the UK version.
    The German and French versions of Horizon are (I believe) more heavily customised. In Germany, I think they never progressed beyond Horizon 5.x
    For as long as I can remember, Dynix (and then SirsiDynix) promised to include all of the internationalisations (not sure if that’s a real word!) into the core US base code. Sadly, this was a promise they failed to keep with Horizon 7.x. Frustratingly, all of the UK customisations were included in the Horizon 8 core code.
    It’s a similar story with Unicorn/Symphony — there’s a UK variant. As I understand it, the UK customisations are done via the API (so they don’t have to make changes to the core code for the UK).

  3. I think this pretty much sums up the frustration of the UK Horizon client base. As someone pointed out to me; it’s probably easier for SirsiDynix to maintain one platform and quite happily watch the current crop of UK Horizon users jump ship.
    The regional variartions in the code were explained to me last year by a former employee of the company. From what I gather these are less than straightforward ‘lumps’ of code which can’t be patched into existing UK installations; hence why we’re heading for LMS purgatory.
    The recent “20 reasons to migrate to Symphony” post on the Mailing List, says it all really.
    If Symphony is the answer, could someone please repeat the question?

  4. I think the fact that SirsiDynix are leaving UK Horizon customers with a product that doesn’t run properly on Vista or even XP SP3 says a lot. They must be aware that we can’t raise the money to migrate quickly. If they aren’t prepared to support us in the meantime that suggests to me that they aren’t bothered about retaining our custom in the longer term.

  5. I have obviously been watching too many US presidential debates, but SD’s semantics on those press releases are very carefully crafted. They say that the functionality was demanded worldwide, and that they’re offering users worldwide better service, but they never say they’re offering it to LIBRARIES worldwide. Oh, SirsiDynix, you are tricksy.

  6. We have been talking about this here and I agree with Ian that it looks like they really aren’t interested in the UK, or European, Horizon customer base. For instance we have had no calls or contact to find out if we have a migration path planned. Is it a case of letting us wither away and that the loss of income will be offset by the reduction in support costs? I don’t supoose you had an answer yet, Dave?

  7. I’ve not, Tim.
    Given that Chesham (to the best of my knowledge) has yet to formally inform their customer base about the recent change in management at SDI, I would have been amazed (and pleasantly surprised) if I had heard anything.
    On a slightly different subject, is anyone planning to go to the PTFS event in London on 13th November?

  8. Dave,
    This release is available outside North America to those customers who have not had major alterations made to source code. We have customers in regions all around the world that are using the standard base code and for them this is not an issue.
    For those who are running local variations we have requested that individuals contact their local account manager or Help Desk to discuss their particular concerns. In the case of customers requiring specific fixes, we have been able to backport many into their current release. Others have indicated an interest to move to Symphony.
    We would encourage any customer who has specific concerns to contact their local office.
    Regarding the security issues, we are working to see how we can best resolve these issues for you and I will communicate these options to you by November 15, 2008.

  9. Many thanks for the response, Ed.
    Unfortunately, the UK office has already made it clear that their primary focus is Symphony and that they are unable/unwilling to provide any sizeable development resources for non-Unicorn/Symphony customers.
    I think it’s also fair to say that the Horizon customers, via the various European User Groups, have raised their concerns on many occasions and there has been little or no progress (in fact, an earlier initial decision to provide localised versions of 7.4.2 for Europe appears to have been reversed by senior SD management prior to the conference in Southampton).
    I would welcome the opportunity to raise my concerns again, but sadly the company seems unwilling to send any of its staff to the meetings of our local regional user group. Contact with our Account Manager (who appears to be far too overstretched with accounts) is minimal. From memory, our contract with the company stipulates that our Account Manager must have quarterly meetings with us, but that hasn’t happened since Vista EP took over the company.
    In the meantime, I would gladly settle for a version of Horizon that is compatible with Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista, and a version of HIP that I don’t have to hide behind Apache mod_security to keep it from behind hacked. At the conference in May, we were led to believe that this would happen, but (to the best of my knowledge) there has been no further communication from the company. If progress on these issues is being made, why are customers being kept in the dark? Small wonder that many of the emails that I’ve received in the last couple of days from fellow customers have included the word “abandoned”.
    Despite the wish of the company for their Dynix/Horizon customers to move to Symphony at the earliest opportunity, for many of us, this simply isn’t feasible in the short term.
    I fully appreciate the ratio of customers on customised/localised versions is small (at least compared to the large US customer base), but the revenue stream from the annual maintenance of those customers will still be sizeable figure. A clear indication that some of that revenue will be used to provide bugfixes to customers who are unable to use the core US release and who are unable to move to Symphony straight away would be, I believe, most warmly received.

  10. Well, let’s face it, Dave, “worldwide” just doesn’t mean the United Kingdom any more in SirsiDynix’s term (nor Canada, nor Australia, nor Chile, nor New Zealand, nor Aruba, etc.) The new executives no nothing of the history of the strengths of the company (and the customers) on a global scale. All those caveats that they are “listening” to their customers simply go ignored in the modern age. Horizon customers just aren’t part of that world anymore. Nor are Dynix Classic customers. We are not the world. We don’t exist.
    Say, anyone know how Vista’s stock is doing these days?
    Sadly, the demise of support in *all* areas outside the continental United States should be taken with increasing alarm by all US-centric customers. Those with a longer memory than most of the new Vista and SirsiDynix executives know that the strength of the customer base was even more formidable, informatitve, and even more enjoyable, with a healthy and cooperative international and globalized customer base.
    Long live Dynix. Long live Horizon. Cheers, Dave! — q

  11. We seem to having the same problem, Using Horizon 7.4 on Vista that is… we can’t seem to get any info on how to properly install the client on a vista pc. We have used the following methods but still have issues with “LbShrMem.Initialize: can not create(or access) shared memory” fatal horizon errors.
    • Install SQLEXPR32.EXE
    • Install SQLServer2005_SSMSEE.MSI
    • Launch from Programs Menu “Sql Server Configuration Manager” found …Start MenuProgramsMicrosoft SQL Server 2005Configuration Tools
    • In “Sql Server Configuration Manager” Under Sql Native Client Configuration, Choose Client Aliases :Rick Click ..New Alias
    Alias Name > Horizon
    Port No > 5000
    Protocol > TCP/IP
    Server> ***.***.***.*** Apply and OK
    • Install Java ( j2re142.exe) Say No to restart
    • Install Horizon733.exe with Administrator Options,Say No to restart
    • Once Installed , Install HMR74.exe, don’t launch Horizon
    • Copy ntwdblib.dll to windowssystem32 folder (downloaded from web)
    • Restart PC
    That’s what we do … but we still have occasional Fatal errors. We have tried setting it the compatibility mode to XP sp2 , changed perms to full control for all users , etc.
    Have you folks found out anymore info from Sirsi that might help?

  12. Same Problem: Horizon 7.4 under Windows 7, but it WAS working just fine. Today: nothing. LbShrMem.Initialize: can not create (or access) shared memory. Is there a permanent fix (or temporary) for this? It’s running in XP Compatibility Mode (SP3) and given the users on the list all security rights, and “run as administrator” is checked. –john

  13. John — the official line is that only the latest release of Horizon (7.5a) will work on Windows 7. Unfortunately for us, 7.34 is still the latest version available to the UK academic Horizon customers 🙁

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