know thyself (or: why FOSS rocks)

May 17, 2009

I’ve always been hungry for cool FOSS stuff. One of my hobbies is to keep up2date with daily freshmeat.net releases, plus other 20-30 rss feeds tied to FOSS and tech in general.
Today I was hungry for some interesting reading in some areas covered by some FOSS project. So I spent a few hours reading or re-reading or updating about: etch (no, not debian 😉 ), openvpn, cloudvpn, openqrm, openais, pacemaker, haproxy, scc, and others. Some of them I already use, others probably will soon be part of my ever-growing FOSS arsenal. Needless to say, lots of cool stuff learned, but what amazes me the most (and again, and always), is how precious those kind of information are. Simply put, when you read about pacemaker, openvpn, or whatever (FOSS), you don’t learn (just) how to configure/install/run the thing… you happen to learn how a cluster, or vpn, or whatever IS, or SHOULD BE. By contrast, when reading manuals/docs for commercial software, I generally end up (maybe) knowing only how to install/conf/run the thing… and what’s worse, this leads you in thinking ‘how can I adapt my infrastructure to use this thing’. 😦
One thing a wyse teacher told me about 15 years ago (during my one and only AIX course) was: unix doesn’t make the choices for you, it offers you the tools so that you can choose what’s best for you. Damn true, and totally true for FOSS in general. And I believe this is by far one of the things that make FOSS sooooo cool.

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