my first open source project

I was first introduced to open-source on IRC back in 1996. I joined the #toriamos channel on undernet, which was managed by an eggdrop bot named [iCKy].

[iCKy] was an open-source TCL and C-based program that did cool stuff for us, like auto-ban users if they were flooding the channel. There was even a party line that sort of worked like a Linux shell.

This all looked like hacker stuff to me, so I wanted to know how it worked. This meant I had to learn Linux, which I did. Then I had to learn about eggdrops, which I did. Then I setup a few bots on an always-online Linux server. All for $0, too awesome.

By July 1998, I knew TCL well enough to hack an IRC script together and release it. But I gave the project an awful name that would trigger spam filters so I’ll skip it and move on to my second, more mainstream open source project ;)


There used to be this open source directory called, which eventually became freecode. freshmeat was leet as hell and I dreamt of being part of it.

Finally, I had a project I thought was decent enough to add and released 1.0 on September 5, 1999. SPAST, which stood for Simple Procmail Anti-spam Template, was a procmail template that I setup to filter mail being delivered to my postfix email server.

As the name suggests, SPAST was simple, which made it easy to implement and adopt. I laughed recently when I read the archived review at which said

Not the best possible approach, but it makes it easy to get started.

Totally valid 😂


I found it pretty cool that a couple other projects were inspired by or forked from SPAST, like SPASTIC. SPASTIC, which still exists at sourceforge, was maintained by a guy named Keith Winston and the project eventually grew to have 11 other developers!

Keith even wrote an article titled SpamAssassin vs. Spastic, which compared the two projects. Ultimately, he stopped developing SPASTIC and adopted SpamAssassin. By that time, I’d since migrated to Exchange in an effort to replicate my work environment.

Fighting spam was always a fun way to pass time, and years later in 2007, I wrote a tutorial on how to use Gmail to filter spam in Exchange instead of Postini (which was eventually purchased by Google anyway).


Considering that I’ve dreamt of having a cool open source project since The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony was a chart topper, you can imagine how rewarding it’s been that dbatools has gotten so popular! And it’s a project that revolves around my two favorite things: SQL Server and PowerShell.

We now have over 110 contributors to our GitHub repository and nearly 1500 people in the Slack channel. The experience as a maintainer for a relatively successful project has been everything I’ve dreamed and more 😊

Chrissy is a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP who has worked in IT for over 20 years. She is the creator of the popular SQL PowerShell module dbatools, and holds a number of certifications, including those relating to SQL Server, Linux, SharePoint and network security. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in Linux

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