Looking Back: oh, how much I’ve been wrong in the past

I’m starting to write this blog post while sitting in a room full of system administrators and system engineers, at the opening talk of the the 30th LISA conference by USENIX. This is one of my “usual” conferences at this point, since I started building a routine of conference-going a few years ago — having stable employments helps a lot with that.

A few days ago, I was sitting in front of people after out tutorial session, at an open table answering questions from the attendees, with no preparation. And one thing I realized is that, sitting next to colleagues that have much more experience than me – if not at our current company, overall – is that I have grown since I started being active in the open source ecosystem and in particular since I started blogging, just about 12 years ago.

And with growth, and time, I changed my mind, because that’s what growing up means. And this meant at the same time softening my views in some cases, and hardening them in other. The end result is that when I read back some of the things I wrote in 2006, I really feel ashamed. It would be all too easy to go back and delete those posts. After all some of it I don’t even have a copy of, because the migration of Planet Gentoo from Serendipity (someone remembers that?) to WordPress lost anything that came after a non-ASCII character — and I use non-ASCII a lot. But on the other hand, I don’t think that denying that I wrote something is a good idea. I made mistakes and will keep making them over time. Being able to read how bad I was wrong, and realizing it, is a good thing, I think.

What I have been doing, is that I have been making notes in the posts that I did have to go back and read, and made notes on the posts when the (technical) content was out of date. I may do a little more of that, but I may also go through some of my older opinion pieces and write new posts, on the same topic, and pointing out why I think I was wrong, and what I would do to make up for it, and cross-reference them.

It is a cathartic feeling to realize how much my point of view changed. Even before I started blogging, I’ve been the “16-years old son of a friend that can do a better job” — and even at this point in time I think I did a good job at that, but I think that had less to do with the age of the people who I was trying to replace, and more with the fact that good support is expensive, particularly so in Italy as most of the people who have a clue would probably not be doing the MSP (sysadmin-for-hire) dance.

And having gone back to Venice just last month and finding so many things stashed away from my youth made things interesting, realized how much magazines made me try things out that I would not otherwise look out for myself. With Internet being at your fingertips at every time now, there is not much space to get to know things just because there is one part of the magazine that I’m interested in. It’s another viewport on the “bubble” that everybody seems to talk about in politics.

I may write a couple more entries talking about my past, so if you find them boring feel free to skip them. If you’re using NewsBlur you can filter them out with the Intelligence Trainer feature, by ignoring the life tag. This is possible because of my fix to Hugo, just so you know.

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