Have you ever thought that open source could be a way to teach yourself about the inner workings of software? Computer Active thought along those very lines when it wrote, “Fixing Problems Thanks to Open Source Software.” The author, Tim Smith, was experiencing technical difficulties with a music program. Smith ran through the preliminary diagnostics: check the Web address and the file settings, but when those failed he decided to scrutinize the source code. By looking at the code he corrected an error, hoping it world work, but then his efforts failed.
Lightly disappointed, I checked the list of errors to find one in line 3 where a file called vcl.h is requested. This isn’t supplied with the BestPractice code and it turned out that it is part of a different programming tool that was used to create BestPractice. So the bad news is that I didn’t have bragging rights of fixing a problem. But that doesn’t take away the fact that I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the problem is and can create a detailed bug ticket that will hopefully be fixed quickly.
Even though Smith did not fix the problem, he has a better understanding of how to fix it. Had Smith not had access to open source technology he would not have learned a new skill. The same goes for all open source developers, they probably understand how software works because they work with the techno-guts everyday. Open source is a valuable tool for anyone, especially when it comes to enterprise or cloud search from LucidWorks.
Whitney Grace, September 25, 2012