Overheard at the Water Cooler

icecubedHeard at the water cooler recently in my almost all Windows workplace was something that took me by surprise.  We have a couple of highly trained individuals here in Networking.  We’re a Cisco shop, so if you know how confusing that can be, you know that not everyone can just jump right into one of those networks and know what they’re doing.  These individuals were having a conversation outside of my cube so I didn’t inject myself into the conversation.  But, I did ask myself, is this what Linux and Open Source is up against?  If so, we still have a long way to go.

It seems an external site was attempting VPN access into our corporate network.  The problem the external site was hitting was that they couldn’t initiate a session FROM their network…but someone from our location could initiate a connection TO their network.  They used a Linux box to provide them VPN, Firewall, and proxy services.  Now, any Linux admin worth his or her salt would have immediately known that being able to VPN back into a site but not VPN out of a site means that the firewall doesn’t have the right ports open and/or forwarded.  This should have been an easy fix…but the guys at this external location evidently didn’t posses this knowledge.

Instead of blame falling on the improper configuration, open source was blamed as a whole.  My colleagues stated that those “free tools people use never stack up to paid ones” and that “you get what you pay for…and if you don’t pay for it you don’t get it”.  So according to these guys:

  • Free = poorly designed, less than good software
  • Paid = better designed, wicked awesome software

Which of course, you and I know is a bunch of hooey.  And this is what some of the smartest guys I’ve had a chance to work with state about Linux and open source.  Makes me really wonder if they know their Cisco stuff is often times Linux and open source as well.  I guess maybe I should tell them sometime.  Either way, Linux still has a long way to go to garner the acceptance it should have.