I’ve been using Linux/UNIX for about 20 years.  I am also Assistant Director of the Boston Linux and UNIX Group, and have contributed to several open source products.  In general, I find open source software more flexible, more transparent (no security through obscurity), and more focused on what’s needed instead of what marketing says would be cool.  I like that open source software is usually developed modularly, with separate components each doing what they do well, each designed to be combined with other component, each with its inputs and outputs documented for fitting Tab A into Slot B.    Open source’s community support model (with a sufficiently large community) is often far superior to calling tech support.  All that said, I still believe very strongly in “the right tool for the job”.  Sometimes open source is not the answer.

Just like commercial software, it’s important to evaluate not only how well the software suits your need, but the “health” of the product and its creators.  Just because it’s still available doesn’t mean it’s still supported, updated, and in common use.  That may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it does need to be factored in to the decision.

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I just moved my server from Fedora 8 (way discontinued) to Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope.  Many networking problems and other wildly different config files. Much sleep lost.  But now I have the website back up, webmail working, the Wiki is working, mail with IMAP working, and MythTV working.

Yes, indeed, much sleep lost.

Update

Last night was another night of going to bed after 2AM, but I finally got all the critical set up and working.  This is a very multipurpose box.  Off the top of my head, it hosts mail in (SMTP), mail out (IMAP), this blog, my Wiki, mailman, subversion, home automation software, and database.  I still have a lot to do, but nothing that’s going to keep me up late again.

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