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The Register: Experiences at a Firm Hostile to Free Software

Aug 13, 2002, 00:00 (45 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Terrell Prude)

[ Thanks to Hugh for this link. ]

"As with any buyout, there were adjustments. Like Hagler Bailly, PA too was a Microsoft shop, but even more so than Hagler Bailly. Where Hagler Bailly might have considered a non-Microsoft solution, given a sufficient business case, PA had decided that, no matter what, nothing but Microsoft Windows NT (and later Windows 2000) would run at PA. 'If it can run on NT, it will run on NT.' This corporate attitude, held near and dear by not just management but by the entire network operations section in Britain, would eventually have very interesting consequences.

"Shortly after the buyout, PA sent a Compaq server running NT 4.0 and MS SQL Server to its new Stateside headquarters. This machine was to be the major 'business process' tracking server for the Americas, doing all financial tracking and timecard processing for the company's Western Hemisphere offices. Staff members in both Britain and the United States had problems accessing it, to the point where applications were breaking and tempers were rising. The problem turned out to be a rather subtle name-resolution issue, which I fixed by making an entry for this server in a GNU/Linux machine's DNS zone files.

"The irony was not lost on my MIS director. Despite GNU's involvement, he gladly accepted the solution, because it got London off of his back; he chose not to tell London what the solution was. GNU and BIND had saved his hide. This incident involving free software saving the day would be but a harbinger of things to come..."

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