cygwin, openssh, solaris & hyperion…
are products that allow me to add huge value to the project I am helping my team of developers to complete. We are threading the needle of Hyperion products with the knowledge of the business that is our corporate thread. When complete, we will stitch together the silos and systems of a diverse and far-flung enterprise to improve the profitability and performance of each product and service we provide to more than 50 million customers in these United States.
If one dug deeply, and gained clear understanding of the strongest engines within the core computing systems upon which our success is grown, the ubiquity of and dependence upon, open source products to maintain that strength would be self-evident.
For example, within a day, I was able to download, install & troubleshoot a pragmatic system of development tools (including subversion, openssh & vim) that allow us to more effectively build enterprise applications on enterprise-architect-approved platforms (including Hyperion, Solaris & BEA Weblogic). It did not take a committee, it did not require additional budget & it did not incur consulting, training nor other expenses for my employer.
It did require a personal commitment to moving beyond stitching things together with hammer and nails–did require an understanding that if the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then everything, all the time, begins to look like a nail. These (and more inspirational core concepts) are covered clearly in The Pragmatic Programmer.
And it requires a commitment to mastery exhibited by so many, the builders of the libraries, installers, protocols, utilities and more that make up great products like cygwin.