Pondering the Present

I wrote a very long post about the people I work with and what I think of them. I just deleted it and am starting over.

Today, I got to spend four hours in the latest “search summit”, where all the business owners and non-technical people get together and talk about what they do. I got to speak up and talk about open source and open source projects that work. It was interesting getting to talk about something I love at work. I like what I do, but I don’t think I love it as much as I used to. I think Open Source is fascinating, and, while I haven’t actually written any code for any, I support and use a bunch of open-source software. I submit bug reports, use them, compile stuff, etc. I’m a good little open source consumer.

Open Source Stuff Worth Using:

  • AOLserver: Yes, it’s open source! The server that runs the hardest hit sites on the web. It’s fast, cool, has a tightly integrated Db interface and is as open as you want it to be.
  • Mozilla: Fight Microsoft. Whatever you do… and I know this sounds weird coming from a guy who’s a whore to bad guy , but just do it. Any browser that works on all the OS’es I use and makes my pages look the same on all of them is something worth using.
  • Ximian GNOME: They’re the company arm of GNOME, but they’re one of the reasons I use Linux. They make the hard stuff a little easier for those of us who don’t want to get up to our elbows in debugging conflicts.
  • PostgreSQL: An open-source database that’s close enough to Oracle to make people think twice. It’s easy to set up, and thanks to the folks at OpenACS, works great with AOLserver.
  • OpenACS: I don’t use the software, but anything that gets people using AOLserver is a good thing. A solid community infrastructure platform. And the people behind it are cool too.

I forget that what I do is unique. There aren’t many people who are the only frontend developer on a site that gets 19+ million hits a day and generates millions of dollars in revenue every year. I forget that I’ve been doing this longer than anyone else in my company. It’s strange that I get so caught up in the day-to-day drudge that I don’t sit back and realize that less than three years ago, I was welded to a headset in Tucson, talking to small businesspeople without a clue and helping them set up websites. I was paid by the hour. Now, I’m the guy people talk to, even when they shouldn’t, about searching and how to build them. It’s scary. It makes me proud.

Now, if only I could start combining my work with this whole open source thing… Gotta work on that.

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.