Jeremy Smith's blog

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Untied Hands

This presentation, Radical Simplification, by Sam Ruby, is excellent.

And, though it is entirely unrelated, it made me begin thinking about some of the different systems we use at Case. On some systems, we have access to the source code. On others, we don't. We try not to follow "religious" doctrines and try to choose the best tool for the job be it open source or not.

Recently, though, we have been having problems with our Anti-Spam/Anti-Virus boxes. We wanted them to perform in certain ways but could not configure them to do so. And, we don't have access to the source code that runs them; so our options are very limited. That sucks.

If something is wrong with the blog server, I have access to all of the source code; and I can fix it. If I want to customize the blog system in certain ways (which I have done extensively), I can. Same thing with Sympa, we have the utmost customization abilities. And, being able to customize systems to more closely work with our environment is important. It's what separates a half-ass system (not going to point to any particulars) from a good system — integration and customization.

Heck, the reason we can use our Directory Server for authentication and authorization with Pubcookie and static, dynamic, or hybrid groups is because we had access to the source of mod_auth_ldap and could change it... a lot.

It just makes more sense most of the time to have access to the source. It unties your hands.