Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is OSS and GNU killings its own chance due to “extreme” users?

I'm not one to really discuss political views and ideals, also am not good at it. But I would like to share something I experienced at work that made me think about my ideals in regards to Linux against Microsoft.

I have used Microsoft my whole life. I've also started in the IT industry about 2-3 years ago, so I don't consider my self a very experienced person. Around November 2006 I came across a live CD of Ubuntu and decided to give it a try. That's was when I felt in love with the operating system, and I have been using it since them. I've also fallen into the category of Linux users that like to brag that M$ sucks and Linux is the best.

I'm at the moment working for a company that makes proprietary software, but for Windows environment only. I have to tell that I was amazed at how professional they are at this place and how much importance they put into making things right. It really makes it a better of a place to work for. There's no where to grow in the company if I want to invest in Linux, but at least I can continue with my self paced studies for when I consider myself ready.

The main problems happened a while ago. A customer that runs his backbone servers in Linux was having some problems with our software. Our software needs full access to the folders to be able to work, and he was not aware of that. My boss (extremely smart person and a MAC user) knowing that I was a Linux fanboy asked me for help with some testing, and we discovered that all they had to do was change “directory mask” and “create mask” to 777 on his smb.conf, and that should resolve the problem. Again, we do not support Linux for our software, this was just an unofficial help (I'm sure that there could be better ways like using 770, but again I'm not a Linux sys admin).

The person in charge of the IT department (outsourced) made a huge deal about this. Stated that our software was the problem and that we should fix the basic I/O settings of our software. Stated that if not, they would have to look for solutions that would better fit their requirements.

This “IT” person also made fun of my testing stating that they were not using a simple home toy distro like Ubuntu, but a high portable Linux distro.

Our software is the best in the market. The people who use that software on their company also agree, but they'll end up suffering because of an Open Source fanatic that does not want to see the good part of both worlds. He will change the company needs because they don't meet his open source requirements. Shouldn't this be the other way around?

After that I had to hear funny comments, that were somewhat true. Is open source really free after all? On this case, I think it's actually increasing costs than actually help decreasing it. All due to fanaticism.

More info: Post on Ubuntu Forum


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