30th April 2004


Earlier this week David Mohring posted an article reviewing progress at a couple of his open source customers’ locations.

Since starting using Linux for firewall and network support in 1997/98, both organizations are now exclusively using Samba in place of NT for file, print and domain services. Both are happy using Cyrus IMAP fronted by Mozilla for both email and browsing. Both are now using a combinations of Oracle and Postgresl. In one case the database is fronted by a third party perl-cgi based LAMP, the other fronted by an in house custom system evolved from one hosted on an ancient HP system. The source code for the latter has remarkably survived Y2K, porting to Linux, converting from K&R C to C++ and the addition of a kitchen sink load of features. The same latter organization has also successfully trialled deploying StarOffice/Linux on the desktop for people who do not deal with incoming and outgoing Microsoft Office document formats on a regular basis. All of the above are now hosted on Redhat from 7.3 to 9, Professional to Personal. Day to day system management is easily performed via the vendor independent WebMin.

Now after almost seven years of blood and swearing getting these Linux hosted solutions plumbed together and working sweet, I could write a whole series of articles on how IT was achieved, the work around hacks and configuration settings. The problem is that, given the advances and new opportunities available on Linux and/or as open source, there is not a damm thing that I would not choose to do a little differently.

Having established his credentials as a real pioneer in open source implementation, David goes on to say - later - that:

With the increased involvement of business in the development and use of Linux and other free licensed software and open sourced solutions, the environment is undergoing a change. Horace Greeley (1811-1872), from whom we get the phrase “Go west young man”, stated thirty years later in 1871 “This Daniel Boone business is about played out.”. Just like the USA in 1871, it is not that Linux lacks vast areas to exploit. A cultural change has taken place which makes the lone DIY self assembled approach less relevant to an increasing majority of the people living in the United States of Linux. Custom DIY projects still have their place, but the effort required remains unattractive to a growing mainstream audience.

David’s article is much richer and more detailed than the lengthy excerpts I’ve provided here. He pasted the whole thing in as a comment to one of Doc Searls’ posts at the IT Garage site, as well as posting it on his own blog. Seems clear to me that David is a guy that should pull up out of the comments area and write a few posts of his own at the IT Garage. His point is well taken that in any frontier there is room for only a few Daniel Boones, but those of us who come later will really benefit from their experience! I have yet to work in that LAMP environment, but people like David are opening the way for people like me I think.

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