The Tools You Use Define You

Article from ADMIN 17/2013

When this issue focusing on open source cloud tools was complete, it made me think that the tools we choose and the tools we use are very important to us. They're important because tools help us do a job or perform a task – a task or job that might otherwise be impossible to complete. I've often heard it said that you should always use the right tool for the job. That makes sense to me. But what about making sense in the "real" world of budgets and corporate politics? How often are you told that the tool you need isn't in the budget, that you need to find a workaround, or that you need to be creative? It happens so often that you search for, find, and rely on open source or free software to fulfill your need for a proper tool. Unfortunately, the decision to use free tools comes at a price. It's getting better, but frequently it's a no-win situation for you: You can't buy anything, and you can't use anything free.

Those who choose to step outside of corporate standards and seek creative solutions to budgetary shortfalls or technological misguidance are sometimes labeled as rogues, cowboys, or worse: malcontents. We're pushed aside in favor of compliant rule followers. And yet, searching for the perfect tool for a complex task might be the best thing you could do for your company.

I'm not saying you should buck the system just to stir up trouble, but you should have the option of demonstrating the tools you want to use and to show how they'll benefit your organization and its goals.

I doubt that anyone remembers who invented the sword but you remember the men who wielded it well, don't you? There's Alexander the Great, William Wallace, and Charlemagne, to name a few. You don't know who invented the window but you know who created Windows. You might not know who developed the C language but you know who became famous because of his clever use of it: Linus Torvalds. Do you think that any of those men were ever told to just stick to the program or to color within the lines of their chosen fields?

Open source tools, such as those discussed in this issue, not only fill a need, often for little or no money, but they also allow you to be creative in the process. If you need to change some part of an open source program to fit your needs, you can. You don't have to just live with its shortcomings.

Remember that a toolbox can hold many tools-a set of screwdrivers, various wrenches, hammers of every size, and a separate drill bit for every purpose. Have you ever thought that you have too many tools? Probably not. It's all about having options, isn't it? Options such as open source tools.

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