I've always considered myself a “creative problem solver.” In fact, I remember calling myself that when I was writing my application essays for various colleges. When I got to college, one of my professors told us quite clearly: “within 3-5 years of graduation, most of the information you've learned here will be completely out of date. We're trying to teach you how to learn and ways to solve problems.” Although I felt 100% vindicated, I was also quite intimidated. This education that I would spend the next 10 years paying for had a halflife of less than 30 months. Ouch.
I continued with the “creative problem solver” and added a bit of pragmatism from the Pragmatic Programmers to go along with it. Mechanics have toolboxes, I use my brain and a set of principles and tools that I've developed over the years. [I am completely in line with all IP agreements, licenses, and limitations to the best of my knowledge.] Since I work at a variety of locations with a variety of different platforms, I need my data, my tools, and all my other resources to follow me.
This is why I love Open Source software.
For example, if you are trying to decide which Project Management Tool to use: Microsoft Project or the greatest Web-based Open Source Project Management Tool on earth: dotProject – yes, as a core developer, I am biased – you have to consider which of your requirements are met and which can be met.
If MS Project only fulfills 50% of your requirements and dotProject fulfills 90%, it's a pretty easy choice especially when you consider that dotProject is Open Source and therefore can be modified to close some of that gap. It's as these numbers converge and eventually switch that the problem occurs. If the numbers switch, then it's an easy choice the other way.
I'll admit, I own a copy of MS Project and use it occasionally. I use it because CaseySoftware has some inter-project tasking and dependencies, that dotProject simply doesn't support at this time. I also poke around in it to examine user interfaces and features that dotProject should have. My personal goal is to bring dotProject to the point where the available features meet and surpass MS Project.
Is this anti-Microsoft zealotry?
No. It's because I need my #1 Requirement is: “Access from Anywhere”.