Don’t you hate it when something that used to work suddenly refuses to? I’m running a plugin called FireStats on this blog and it doesn’t seem to like my installation much. It’s been running fine for months on end. All of a sudden it’s refusing to write to a temporary folder on the server where my blog is hosted. I’ve found out what the error means, I’ve found the source code that’s causing the problem, but I’m reluctant to implement a fix because the code and the servers I run on are “owned” by someone else.
I suppose this measure of control (or lack of) would be worrying in most cases, but my blogs/websites are far from being mission critical and I basically run them as a hobby (on a shoestring), so I’m perfectly happy to live with the problem and find a different plugin that gives me the stats I want. WordPress has really been my baptism of fire into the open source world and I’m actually enjoying it. It’s great to find such a rich set of functionality and code available for all to use. And if one thing doesn’t work, there’s bound to be one, two or a multitude of different versions/builds/variants which will do what I want. If I really want something badly, I can always write my own or contribute to an existing project.
Is it free? Financially it is, but it requires a significant investment in time to discover, test and implement all these open source bits. Being a hobby I’m quite happy to invest the time, but things might be different if my blog were a mission critical package that my business was build around. What about you? Do you use open source?