I believe in taking a holistic approach to systems design & development. It all starts with the client and the problem they’re trying to solve. Everything else grows organically from there. I will never start with a solution and go looking for the problem to fit it.
My ethos is strongly influenced by Open Systems principles, and specifically by Open Source deployed on Open Systems. Over the past three decades I’ve worked on numerous flavors of Unix. Most recently (since 1995) on Linux and FreeBSD. My own systems run on Ubuntu, but I am well versed in RedHat, Fedora, and CentOS; FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD; Solaris was a common environment for me in the late 1990s, but not so much any more.
The hacker ethos, as best described by Eric Raymond in The Cathedral And The Bazaar in 1997, tells us that when we need a tool, first look for an existing one, one that comes close to what we need, and then adapt it to our purposes. While this is a good approach for many tools, it’s not always the best way to approach a systems level problem. Knowing when to borrow and adapt versus building from scratch is an important inflection.