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I first wrote RT because I had to. I was a summer intern for a now-defunct web design shop called Utopia Inc. Half my time was to be spent hacking Perl code for customer projects. The other half of my time, I was to be the office's second sysadmin. The company did most everything by email, including ask the other sysadmin, my boss, to take care of work. Everything the company's 30-member staff needed us to do ended up in her inbox. When I got there, I suggested that we deploy a ticketing system, such as the one I'd set up for my university helpdesk. She seemed to think this was a pretty good idea except she thought we'd be better off if I implemented a new ticketing system from scratch.
At the end of the summer, I managed to convince the company's founders that they should let me take my creation with me, continue to hack on it, and give it away.[*] Flash forward a couple years: I placed an order for a DSL line with a national DSL provider and got back a ticket from their RT instance. A quick calculation showed that they were creating over 1,000 tickets a day a couple orders of magnitude more than I'd ever imagined anyone handling with RT. This was just the nudge I needed to rebuild RT from the ground up.
Over the next few years, I found more and more organizations picking RT up for tracking everything from security incidents to sales inquiries to email counseling sessions for troubled teens. Our current best guess is that over 10,000 organizations use RT. The community that has grown up around RT is amazingly vibrant. When you're working with RT either as an administrator or developer, it's quite worthwhile to join the community on rt-users and rt-devel mailing lists as well as our wiki, wiki.bestpractical.com. (We'll talk a bit more about the community in Chapter 10.)
When I first wrote RT in 1996, I had no idea it was going to be more than a summer project. It's been an amazing first nine years.
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