The Generosity of Geeks

I have been on the new job for about five weeks and am already racking up quite a few  projects.  One of these projects is a webdav implementation on a Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) box.  The idea is for school districts to be able to upload web pages using port 80 instead of using ftp ( or using those incredibly lame Front Page file extensions). The project was started by a former colleague who has moved on to bigger and better things, so I was pretty much left to figure it out.

One of the cool things about Linux is that it can be compiled or built in all sorts of different ways; this is less cool when you have to pick up where someone left off.  My Linux skills are still pretty marginal and my predecessor Jason was fairly creative,  so you can imagine how much fun I was having; after beating on this thing for a few weeks I swallowed my pride and gave Jason a call.

One of the complaints I hear all the time about tech people is that they are stingy with information, territorial and prefer to keep things to themselves; clearly these are the same people who never heard of the open source movement, but I digress.  Jason was willing to come over and show me how the config files were set up, run me through the scripts he wrote for maintenance tasks and was patient while I wrote a few notes.  In exchange for a couple hours of his time I gave him two containers of fresh horseradish; a pretty good deal since you can be sure he isn’t working in Manhattan for condiments.

I have always felt that one of the great joys of life is watching someone do something they are very good at no matter what that thing may be. The bonus in this cram session was being able to look over the shoulder of  someone who was goddamned good at the command line and hopefully this was just the nudge I needed to get the project done…and work on my skills. Thanks Jay!


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