Open Source Superheroes.

I take a look at my computer screen and brush my gaze through the
myriad of icons on the desktop. Each one representing a file i’m
working on, a piece of music I like to listen to, or a picture I made
with my digital camera or downloaded somewhere from the internet. Below
my menu bar is filled with countless programs I have downloaded from
the Internet or that came with the heavily tweaked Ubuntu distribution
I have downloaded onto this little laptop. If I take the time to wonder
just how powerful this little machine is, and think of the capabilities
it and its software has, that I haven’t tapped into.. It all adds up to
an astonishing amount. Video editing, Word Processing, Blogging,
Programming, Network administration, Audio manipulation and even good
old fun and games .. Its all there. A abundant bouquet of possibilities
waiting to be tapped into. And all of that .. is free. I payed zero
euro’s or dollars in software and licensing costs and have been given a
system that does all that I want to do and more. So I peer over my
laptops screen at the slumbering city outside my window and wonder
"Where they are". And with They i mean the open source heroes. The ones
that make this miracle possible. This special brand of superheroes who
are the real legends behind this whole open source movement. Shy,
perhaps a little weird or even a tad nerdy, the wander through the
streets of the real world and go hardly unnoticed by the general
public. Except for the tux sticker on the back of their car, or the
Ubuntu case badge that sticks to the corner of their laptop-lid you
would not think that these are members of an exceptional theme of
superheroes.

No bat caves, Iron man suits, Wolverine like Claws
or spandex suits (at least not that I know of ) are required to join
this special brand of supermen who make open source happen every day.
They are the secret army that moves the free software movement. No
balding overpaid middle aged men, swaggering across  a podium, yelling
some kind of mantra as sweat pools underneath their armpits. These are
the real heroes. Some of them code, some of them fix bugs, some of them
even podcast or publish a magazine. And others help. No flashing
business cards with "developer of this and that", no " Space : been
there done that" stickers on their windshield.. No amazing piece of
software on their repertoire. No .. these heroes just help out the
average joe like you and me.

When I got into Linux they told me
about " The Community " which I, at first mistakeably dubbed
"Nerdville". I was in the misconception that this was just a big bunch
of super intelligent nerds who mostly talked among themselves and
patted each other on the shoulder, ensuring one another they where very
cool. But as I said. I was wrong. " The Community " is not only a
powerful race of supermen who make it all happen, It is also built up
by those who help those who don’t have the hang of it yet. They fight
the FUD every day. Help out those who are stuck. Give solutions to
those who are without hope and patiently direct some of us to at least
try to use the search function of the forums before asking the same
question for the gazillionth time. 

To me .. these are my heroes.
I"m an open source advocate. Trying to push Linux wherever I can.
Saving a lot of money in the process for companies, schools and for the
average user. Not to mention I convert the occasional Windows user to
see the light. I tend to babble that Linux can do just about anything
they want and am right most of the time. But I’m not an advanced Linux
user. Sure I know what open source software can DO .. I just don’t
always know HOW.  This week for example i had suggested to move some of
our old servers to Linux so we could use them as VM-ware host systems.
An ideal solution for using older hardware to virtualize all the beige
boxes we test stuff on at work. Explaining the pro’s of the whole
"Linux instead of something else" scenario I managed to get my boss
pretty enthusiastic for the idea. (although I must say : When it comes
to selling .. I have this bridge for sale …) Wired up about the
prospect he said : Ok .. DO IT ! I looked around for the Linux guru
that must be standing behind me .. cause he didn’t real mean ..ME ?
Turns out that he did. So with limited Linux skills I took to the
challenge. The old server fought me every step of the way .. but i had
powerfull friends in the right places. Its now three days later and
everything is working just fine. The chief is happy and I have learned
a lot about Linux.

But the real kudo’s  go out to the
community. Whenever I stumbled or had a question .. they where there.
Pretty soon I had found out that Google is not the answer to
everything. So I went to the forums. I explained my problems and people
helped me out .. just like that.. For Free ! They pointed me in the
right direction and took the time and effort to help a noob like me
bring Linux to yet another computer.  And if all of that was not enough
.. there was Twitter. I asked and I did receive answers from total
strangers who took the time to help me out. And when all of that failed
and the FUD was ready to send me packing .. The people at IRC pulled me
through. Holding my hand step by step. A few hours of their time went
up in helping me get through it  all.  Helping this noob get it all
done. 

So today I salute my heroes ! These guys at the forums who
help us out when we are stuck. The guys making the howto"s, sharing the
knowledge they have found. I bow my head in tribute to they guys at IRC
( Thank you Popey of #ubuntu-uk ) for being there for me. These guys
are the heroes that saved the day.

When I look at the
closed-source world and the prices for support, the openness to share
and the ability to grow .. I just know that Linux is going to be very
very big. All thanx to the Open Source Superheroes who have helped me
see that, with linux AND with the Linux community,  there is nothing we
cannot achieve.

 

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