InfoWorld recently recognized the top 36 most important open source software projects that have withstood the test of time. These are the projects that have shaped the way that we use many technologies today. I&aposve mentioned before that I was a Unix sys admin in the mid-1990s, so this article brought back a lot of memories for me.
GNU tools and utilities. I was always a big fan of GCC, and it was one of the first things I would install on a new Unix box (from source, because that&aposs the way real admins installed software). Then there is always the Emacs vs. vi debate. I&aposm a vi kind of girl, and I still use vi to edit system files on my Mac, mostly out of habit.
Networking. One of the best things about being a sys admin was playing with all kinds of network protocols. I learned so much about the underlying technologies behind the internet in just a couple of years. I got to administer our companies DNS servers running BIND, but more importantly, I helped set up and administer a rogue corporate email server (Sendmail and Pop3). Our company at the time (1995 or 1996, I think) used the mainframe for all email, which was less than optimal for the people using PCs or Unix within the company, so we set up a rogue email server and diverted their email at the firewall to hit the Unix Sendmail server, instead of the mainframe. People would wander into my cubicle whispering about email, and I&aposd get them set up with their secret email account.
I still play around with a few other things on their list, like Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc. as a side effect of doing some minor work on WordPress installs and other web applications. I only talked about a few of the many projects on the InfoWorld list that brought back the most memories for me, but plenty of other great software was also on the list: various Linux / BSD distros, Asterisk, OpenSSH / OpenSSL, VNC, PostgreSQL, Perl, Python, Ruby, Wine, Samba, Cygwin and more.
What&aposs the story behind your favorite open source software project of all time?