I am a Chemical Engineer and have operated chemical plants for the
last 20 years.
The equipment that is used by the chemical industry is what you might
describe as open source.
Open source means that I can open a piece of equipment and repair it
or modify it or redesign it etc. These eqipment are not black boxes
that are installed on faith based on the word of some vendor. In
fact, eqipment that are "black-box-like" are avoided like the plaque.
To give you an example, consider the centrifugal pump, a fairly common
piece of equipment in the chemical industry.
a. We specify ANSI pumps because they are interchangeable regardless
of who makes them; i.e. you can replace a Goulds pump with a Durco
without having to worry about modifying the piping in your process.
The new pump simply fits in the place of the old one.
b. We can replace the impeller of such pump and put it into a
different service - say from pumping water to pumping slurries.
c. We can trim the impeller (to a smaller diameter) and thereby
change the flow and the pressure of the pump or install a bigger
impeller and increase the flow and pressure. Or change the RPM
of the pump and accomplish the same thing.
etc etc etc.
The point of this discussion? Why not have the same flexibility in
our computer systems? If we have a problem, then lets fix it
ourselves as opposed to ordering another black box from someone to do
the job or wait for ever from some vendor to supply us with a security
I am a hands on kind of a chemical professional and have little time
and patience with people who rely on black box solutions.
I am not a computer expert but I know what I want from a computer
system and our computer professionals. And there is no doubt in my
mind that Linux and its open source model is the way of the future.
Let me close by saying that a computer is a tool to be used to make
our jobs easier and not some kind of a temple to be worshiped. It is
time that we stopped re-inventing the wheel and go on with life.
Those who are betting against open source are in for a rude awakening.