About

Welcome here! This site is musings and perusings of Lee Alley as an Anglo-American in London.

Living the open source life

You'll have heard much about open source and open standard technologies. The productivity gains from IBM and Microsoft creating an open-standard personal computer, revolutionizing industry and more have been huge from the 1990s onwards. Since the advent of relatively cheap Intel chips running on standard harware, MS-DOS and Windows 3.1, Lotus 1-2-3 (the real original killer app), MS Word all cut the time to produce information by orders of magnitude.

The information revolution didn't end there. After the computing revolution that produced information in a digital form, the next big one was disseminating it widely. Cue opening up the internet to public usage including affordable, consumer, the world wide web and access to the world's public information at one's fingertips.

In the background to all of that was the formal open source software movement revolving around Unix then BSD, then later the Linux free software ecosystems. Webservers, routers, firewalls and then supercomputers, "cloud-based" services and so forth all ran on these OSs. The Netscape and Mozilla browsers, Thunderbird email, Apache webserver software then Drupal, Wordpress and Joomla web content management systems and so, so much more software than can be recounted here was all hacked, released and provided for free to those who could put it to good use.

And that's the key - all this and so much more is out there, available and ready for good use if you know what you're doing. Same goes with life - we call it open source living - ways of living life, and life more abundantly, are available, for free, if you know how.

Some people have connections to get things done for them; others have the money to hire people to do this. Many don't have either of those, however, and very importantly, don't need them; the know-how is out there and can save a fortune over the years for those who do things for themselves.

It's a shibboleth that economies of scale come from purchasing goods and services with money earned by working at a specialisation and this means everyone gets richer. We believe there are cases where the connection between the two is breaking down and we have theories as to why this is, but in the meantime we want to share ways we know about to live better, cheaper and more abundantly than ever.

For the record, everything from the PC upon which this content of this site is created and managed, to the server it's on, are all Free and Open-source (FOSS) software.

The commentary is informed by work done on four continents, through direct experience of two of the major land wars of recent times, and working for, and with, some of the biggest and some of the most innovative companies and organizations in the world today (usually, but not always, mutually exclusive categories).

If you have an opinion about the content you want to share, please feel free to say so in the contact form below. We hope you enjoy the site, are informed by it or connected to something because of it, but if you are only compelled to think deeply about something we will be overjoyed that you will have paid us the ultimate compliment. Welcome her

Lee Alley lives in London. Unlike his equally famous namesake, he wasn’t in Viet Nam due to cleverly organising to be born at such a date so as to be far too young to be called up for war. He did, however, in a momentary lapse of reason, decide to join the Army mere months before Saddam Hussein decided to add Kuwait to his collection. This resulted in all the fun he was having in Germany being cut short and a good six months intense training for the pleasure of being on an anti-terrorist hit squad interspersed with periods on gate guard duty. Hmmm…

After serving his time in the Army and collecting the maximum utility of Army College Fund benefit he left. Missing all the action, terror and stupidity, and incidently being angry and frustrated by how Daddy Bush let Yugoslavia implode, he eventually wandered down to Split Croatia to volunteer to work with the International Mennonite Organisation in Bosnia during their war there. In and amongst being shot at, mortared and howitzered in various places, he spent his time looking after refugee school children thumping the local bullies who harassed them, teaching them English and German and making sure they had the lunch pails, pencils and books they needed for school (the refugee children that is, not the bullies). He also set up basketball tournaments with the local lads, the Bosnian 3rd Corps soldiers and the refugees and in the evenings looked after 150 refugees from Zepa, one of the “safe-havens”.

After Bosnia, he drifted (shiftlessly, according to the UK Border Agncy) to London where he completed a Masters degree in Business Administration. This was obviously a very bad move as since then he’s been pursuing far more sedate and pedestrian activities for various multi-national corporations, and organizations of various kinds. Or so it would seem on the surface. Statistically, however, his neighborhood in London is the most dangerous place he’s ever lived, with 12 people being killed by handguns within 1 mile of his house between summer 2002 and summer 2003. So London keeps him on his toes (so to speak).

This site is one of many creative outlets (a means to show off…?) and is under constant development. Things may come and go, some may not work (usually because they’re in alpha release or part of some development track not meant for production websites). The reason is partially “because he can” and partially because other webmasters aren’t keeping up with developments. The site works in all modern browsers. If it doesn't work on yours, it might be because something's broken or it might be because you haven't upgraded. Rather than say "Caveat Emptor", it's important to upgrade and stay safe as there are some nasty things out there. Keep safe and thanks for coming by and having a look!