[CentOS] Re: CentOS Based Linux Firewall Document

Frank Tanner III pctech at mybellybutton.com
Thu Jun 7 00:50:27 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2007-06-06 at 08:14 -0700, Scott Silva wrote:
> pctech at mybellybutton.com spake the following
> on 6/6/2007 7:59 AM:
> >> Why don't you ask the Wiki gurus and put it on the CentOS Wiki?
> > 
> > Yes, I agree whit that. The idea is always the same: beneficing the 
> > community.
> > In this case, put the manual into the wiki would be greater for all 
> > CentOS users.
> > 
> > -----------------------------------------------
> > 
> > Unfortunately, I have had nothing, thus far, but bad experiences with wikis.  Especially when you begin letting others "mark up" something that you've posted there.  At that point, because your name is on it, you "own" all of their mistakes.  I'm not saying that the CentOS wiki is like that, just wikis in general.
> > 
> > WikiPedia is probably one of the most horrifically obvious examples of what I am talking about.  Not only do you have all of the blatant inaccuracies, which tend to get attributed back to the original article author, but you also have all of the drama that goes along with it.
> > 
> > Things start to go sideways when you begin to let others exert their own creative control over something with your name on it.  I'm all for the free exchange of ideas, information, and knowledge.  I'm not all for getting blamed for some crap someone added to something with my name on it.  Been there, done that, don't need that drama anymore.
> > 
> > Some wikis, again I speak in general, not of the CentOS wiki, also demand that you turn over any and all rights to whatever you post there.  While I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the world for free, I will be damned if I will give up my rights to profit from it in the future.  Even the BSD license doesn't expect this.
> > 
> > This document, the firewall one, is the first in a series of documents that I plan on writing.  I've worked very hard to get it to the state that it is at right now.  It's what I consider a "living document" and will be changing as necessary.  The second in the series is a document on building a network monitor based on open source tools.  I've just begun writing it.  I am hoping to have it completed in a couple of months, now that I have a format I am happy with for my documents.  The third of the series will be on building a VPN concentrator based on open source tools.  Part of what takes me so long to write these documents is that I don't actually enjoy writing.  I enjoy doing.  The firewall document started out of necessity to build multiple Linux based firewalls consistently and rapidly for myself and just morphed into something that I decided to share with the community.  I figured
> >   that since there wasn't much out there that was useful others might like it.
> > 
> > While it's, most definitely, not the be-all end-all of Linux based firewall information, I think it's a pretty good document that I've worked very hard to write in a presentable manner that most people could understand and even expand upon for themselves.  I am all for receiving comments and suggestions for future revisions of the document, any document that I write for that matter.  I'm just not all for having my documents hacked apart by every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the Internet and then all of the misinformation getting lumped onto my shoulders because I happen to be the person that wrote the original document.  I've already had enough drama from the CentOS forums where I got accused of being an e-mail address harvester for a spammer.  No thanks.  I don't need that in my life.  I'm just a computer network engineer that THOUGHT he was doing the right thing by giving back to the commun
> >  ity.
> > 
> You just shouldn't take it personally. Most people have had real bad
> experiences on the internet from people asking for e-mail addresses. After you
> get "hit with a stick" enough times, you tend to duck every time you see a
> stick. You could post it on a web site, and edit the content whenever you
> want. You would have full control over the document, and you could remove it
> whenever you thought you wanted to. If you truly just want to help the
> community, you will be understanding of the fears that people have developed
> over years of being hurt by others that do have other motives.

I don't have a problem with people's fears.  I have a problem with
people that aren't actually interested in the document bitching about my
chosen distribution method.  In the just over 24 hours since I posted
the changes, I have received approximately three dozen request from the
list for my document.  NONE of those people complained of the
distribution method on the list or in private.  ONLY the people that
have no interest in the document have complained.  That says alot there.
They're complaining just to complain, not out of any true interest in
bettering anything.

> I think you might even get the CentOS people to post it somewhere that it
> couldn't be modified by others if they see merit in the work. That would save
> you any hosting expenses.

Absolutely none of the CentOS people have even approached me to see if
that was a viable option.  I have, however, been yelled at by at least
one of the CentOS people.  I guess that shows where they stand on the

> Documentation is like any other literature. It has no value if it isn't shared.

You are correct.  But nobody ever bitched at Shakespear for his chosen
distribution method.  I chose to share my document because I thought
others might find it useful.  I chose not to charge for it because I
thought it would be silly to do so since I initially created the
document out of necessity for myself.  Never once have I told ANYONE
that they cannot have my document NOR have I said no to anyone that
asked for the original source document which is editable in both
Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.Org.  The ONLY thing I have done was
chosen my own distribution method due to COST of hosting it on a web
site.  Hell, I'd have The Linux Document Project host it if they'd like.


Frank Tanner III (pctech at mybellybutton.com)

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