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Nobody Ever Said Installing Open Source Applications Was Easy

Dave Aiello wrote, "Earlier today, Martin O'Donnell and I had a relatively long talk about installing Interchange, the Open Source E-commerce Platform. I have been struggling with this, on behalf of a client, for several weeks-- interrupted by a vacation, a major U.S. holiday, and two family birthday celebrations."

"In the course of the conversation, I suggested that there comes a time in the initial implementation of any major Open Source application where the implementor asks whether the software is ever really going to work?"

"My past experience tells me that the answer to that question is yes."

"I cannot think of a situation where I stayed the course and was disappointed. The only times I have been frustrated with Linux for an extended period of time were situations when I had not made the implementation my top priority, or when I had rationalized the decision to cut my losses."

Read on for more about perseverance on Open Source application installation....

Dave Aiello continued:

This is a particularly difficult time to be uncertain about anything that is important in our lives. We are within two weeks of the shortest day of the year, and the lack of sunlight is often enough to depress people. We are also living through uncertain times: a severe economic recession, a dearth of IT jobs, and a sense of enhanced risk of terrorist attacks near where we live.

But, we need to remember that this is also a time of year associated with miracles. It seems to me that nearly every religious tradition in America associates this time of year with some sort of miracle: not just Christmas and Hanukkah, but holidays like Diwali and Eid al-Fitr.

The expectation of celebrating one of these holidays ought to momentarily take our minds off the frustration of not knowing exactly how to tweak the configuration of the application that just won't run right, no matter what we try.

It's also important to change gears periodically-- to walk away from the computer. Be with family and friends. Watch TV. Exercise. These activities often provoke new thoughts in my mind. Quite often, these thoughts result in new approaches to problems that I'm trying to solve. Some of my best ideas have come to me while running, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow. One new idea is sometimes enough to solve the deployment problem so that you can move on.

Nobody ever said that installing Open Source applications was easy. But, we need to remember why we began the installation process in the first place. Think of the benefits your users will experience. Think of the new customers that your business will obtain. Think of how much more productive you and your co-workers will be.

We also need to remember the personal by-products of getting the installation done. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with understanding a major Open Source application well enough to install it successfully. That understanding is particularly valuable when you need to determine whether to actually use the application that you finally managed to install.

That experience also allows you to cross that fine but unmistakeable line between newbie and experienced administrator. It can take you to the beginning of the path that leads to contributing code or documentation to the project. And, it opens the door to lower Total Cost of Ownership that we all believe Open Source software can deliver.

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