Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ever use fetchmail?

Eric S Raymond

This is another great book

Circa 1997 I was managing the IT/IS for a small business, and we needed a good solution for email. So my searches led me to Raymond's "fetchmail" program. Which ultimately led me to this book (copyright 1999). Again, like Bob Young's book on Red Hat, this is not a book for techies. Not entirely.

It is all about business and business models, like the one Raymond was testing with fetchmail. A model based on the one Linus Torvalds used for the Linux operating system.

I remember that I had bought a used Sun workstation for use as the mail server and fetchmail was the final ingredient to address the challenges of a mixed PC, Apple Mac environment and a lousy local ISP. In 1997 the PC did not play all that well with others. But I digress...

In Raymond's essay, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", he touches on many of the principals that make business exciting and concepts that make breakthroughs possible. Like item two:
"Good programmers know what to write,
Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse)"

Much like my tip, "Find a working model and steal it!" As I have stated on many occasions, the Open Source Software (OSS) model is not just for software. Business leaders would do well to study it at some length. It is just one way to add Colonel John Boyd's OODA Loop to your tactics and execution toolbox.


P.S. I assume that you have read Bob Young's book...

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey
+1 330.432.3533

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