Friday, March 15, 2013

Open Movement and didn't Know it.

Well, as part of my self imposed homework for #etmooc, I just finished reading and digesting The Cathedral and the Bazaar Eric Steven Raymond, this is an ebook and copyrighted at: ~ esr/writings,

It is a very descriptive history of fetchmail and linux. " The effective open-source development" is exactly what is was described as and what is was. Oddly enough, I was on the other side of this movement and had no idea I was being so blessed"

I'll explain, in nutshell, Raymond discusses how Linux code, Gnu, fetchmail which was just simple mail protocal ah and telnet, ftp were free and those of us who used it made it better and we did it for ourselves, our employers and the community

To quote this perfectly Raymond writes:
Another strength of the Unix tradition, one that Linux pushes to a happy extreme, is that a lot of users are hackers too. Because source code is available, they can be e:ective hackers. This can be tremendously useful for shortening debugging time. Given a bit of encouragement, your users will diagnose problems, suggest fixes, and help improve the code far more quickly than you could unaided.

Funny, I was one of those in the Unix, Linux geek. Back in the 1990's I learned Sun Solais Unix while starting my first job in help desk, a few jobs later and I was installing various types of Linux, redhat being the favorite and was soon being paid incredible rates for my ability to "find and solve the problem" with system builds I had done myself. Oddly at the time, I didn't think of it as an odd request when my boss or customer said, Ok, I need Linux installed with fetchmail, sendmail, with library files for sqlplus and and an apache web server with https protocals.

Can you believe it, I left engineering around 2001 as I lost my love of the unknown in never ending log files. I grepped with the best of them and I was a good at what I did, throw new things over the wall and Sherry will get it to work with Linux, open source code all the way. I had absolutely no idea that I was part of a huge movement that would turn into well such beauty. To be honest the one huge thing I remember is being horrified at the beginning Ok, you want me to install an OS called Linux, and it has no license, then you want me to get an oracle type database (mysql) with an apache webserver and over secure protocals. It was so so time consuming.. I would work like a dog over logs, new library files, the best release of many to get servers to behave as they were needed and what was fun and challenging became an 18 hour day with little time for my budding family.

It's funny, it is so similar to the road I undertook with social and digital media. I became intensely focused on how to deliver great content to my students and become a 21st century teacher.

So now I am part of the open movement, but in a very differnt way. I am the user, the tinkerer the trainer and most of all a sharer and contributor (I hope).


  1. Hi Sherry:

    I had no idea you did all this in your past...I have this awe of people who can do this sort of thing. It's like a language I have never learned and fear I will never be able to. It seems this entirely other world from being on "this" side of the digital sphere.

    It seems to me that those who work on open source stuff, like software, coding, etc., are often big proponents of the open movement in general, because they've seen its benefits first hand. Those of us on the outside of that world are a little slower in catching on (me, for instance). For a long time I focused only on "open access," as in free access--especially to journal articles, since that's what I work with most days and try to teach with. But through #etmooc and conversations with people in it I've come to see how narrow that was. I mean, I did use a CC-BY license on my blog, but I didn't really see the deeper value of opening up things so that others can not only see them and use them as they are, but repurpose them, do new things with them, change them, etc.

    I do think there's a big difference between being on this side as a user and someone who relies on software created by others to do any remixing, etc., and being on the "other side" as someone who can really get behind the software or do what is needed oneself w/o relying on it. The death of Google Reader has really brought this out for me--many people are self-hosting their own RSS readers, and I have no clue how to do that. And it bugs me that I have to rely on a program created by someone else who will support it so long as it's profitable but then stop it when it's not.

    So now I want to move more to the other side! But of course, this will probably be a years-long project!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I was so tempted not to post this one as I feared I would be speaking french to some, but I hope I left enough links for it to make sense. Yes, I still doubt my posts! I still have to post part II of my reflection and I'm in edit mode. I wonder if some just write and let it fly?? I don't know why I brought that up. I quess I need to use our twitter accounts.
      Ok, Yes, I was a unix engineer for 11 years. Fell into Linux and always found databases such as mysql fun. It did not mix with family and I really got to the point that the next time my phone rang, I was going to say "call someone who cares". I started substitute teaching in 2004 and never looked back. Went and got my M.ed in 2009 and am working on securing another public teaching position as Higher ed is fun but is not the connections I need. I miss the classroom, the goofiness, the relationships. (I think I'll post this.)

      It' fun to make code work but trust me, stay on this side, we need you! It's more fun too, did I mention that server work with linux/unix at the time was a command prompt, a large black background and tiny white command line code. At 42, my eyes are shot.

      Thanks for your comments. You keep me writing. It's wierd, it only takes one comment and I'm inspired.
      Connected learning at it's best and people do learn more about you as you blog. :)

    2. Ah, I never thought about being on the other side as less fun, and hard on the eyes. Good point!

      I agree completely with being inspired by others' comments. I'm so glad I can help do that with someone else! Now, time for me to get working on another blog post of my own...

  2. Sherry, I love this: "So now I am part of the open movement, but in a very differnt way. I am the user, the tinkerer the trainer and most of all a sharer and contributor (I hope)." I would add 'learner' to your list. It's such a liberating and exhilarating feeling to find so many people to learn with and from. Moving from isolation to being challenged to share openly with the support of the many connections made via #etmooc and Twitter. I've been enjoying your posts, tweets, and comments in the chats (though I often read the archived versions and don't get to directly interact). Thanks!

  3. I agree, I have learned so much. I quess it's an inherit trait that I love to tinker, the openness of free code and web 2.0 have allowed me to tinker in different ways:)

    Thank you so much for following my journey. It will not end, I have enjoyed your sharing as well and cannot tell you how cool I think it is that someone likes my posts.
    I also miss the blackboards sessions too and it stinks. Luckily, we have twitter. I follow the tweet sessions to see who's going to write a summary post. Thanks so much for the comment.