Some days ago I was talking to a fellow sys admin at my company about the lack of features of a firewall appliance that we use a lot (www.efw.it), personally I like to use it a lot, it’s simple to maintain full featured, but we were talking about the lack of mail proxy details like graphs, personalized white/black list and so on.
But in the end it’s no the product that is lacking functionalities, it’s just not what we need for that specific client, and with a little work on our part we could have all that we needed on the appliance. So why take it on the firewall guys that make a great product?
What I’m trying to say is that is very difficult to suit everyone needs and a Linux/Unix sys admin is in the end a very demanding “client”, we’re used to flexibility and having all in the package. If you want’ to build a router you can have all the functionalities of a thousands of dollars equipment in a inexpensive box with a few packs of software besides the kernel and iptables, and gnu utils. you can even add a web interface by using some opensource software. All that make us too demanding when looking for a specific solution, usually we want it all.
When I did Microsoft NT support (yes there were parts of my life where I did sold my soul and used Microsoft), I relied on software that was meant to do something and just that and didn’t complain, I knew if i needed something else I needed to pay for it, and sometimes pay of the integration on my environment, pay connection licenses and so on.
With linux i’m used to grab some software on the need change it to my needs and my clients needs and we all benefit, I rely on my knowledge and know how, usually give back my work and share it with the community and specially with my company and co-workers, this way my clients don’t rely only on me and get happy, usually they get happy because prices are much better, and in the end the like to be the special kind of client that rely on highly qualified teams that are extremely demanding on the software they use… sometimes even more than they should be.
This is the beauty of flexibility on Linux. We all love it but it’s quietly changing who we are, just don’t be too picky.