Giving Thanks

Thu 28 November 2013

This was inspired both by a blog post elsewhere and by a nice email I got this morning thanking me for this blog (thanks Tristan). It seems like we all fail to give thanks, and nowhere more so than in the "gift economy" of open source. I'll start with all of the code for which I'm thankful, and then move outward from there.

I'm grateful for the operating systems, compilers/interpreters, and text editors I use. For the web browsers, email clients, and servers of all kinds. For the hardware, from chips up to systems, that runs all of this code. (We software folks are really bad about recognizing all of the efforts that are made before we even start.) I'm grateful for the internet in all of its physical, technical, and financial manifestations. It is truly a wonder that I can carry a device anywhere that lets me sit down wherever, connect wirelessly to the rest of the world, and work or play. Lastly, I'm grateful to all of the computer scientists and mathematicians and physicists and all sorts of real engineers who toiled away, often in obscurity, to lay the foundations for all of this.

OK, so much for the purely technical. I'd also like to thank all of my colleagues, past and present, for helping me achieve whatever it is that I've achieved, for providing intellectual challenges, and (sometimes) for pure camaraderie. I'd like to thank my current bosses at Red Hat, for letting me take time off and reduce my hours so that I can stay sane. Very few of my past bosses would have done so much. Thanks to all those who have to work today, and work every day, to create the environment that allows me such freedom and opportunity - soldiers, police and other emergency workers, doctors, nurses, the people who maintain our power and communications grids, inspectors, regulators, and so on. Yes, even legislators, judges, mayors, governors, and presidents.

There are even more people to thank, but I have to cut myself short so I can thank the most important group: my family. Yes, I know it's trite, but it's also true. Without them I wouldn't be able to do the other things you all get to see, and I wouldn't have any reason to, and I wouldn't have anything else to go back to when I'm done. Family, whether inherited or chosen as friends, is really the basis of everything else. Let's all try not to forget that.

Now, off to lunch.

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