Unix vs Linux - the movie.

Andrew Dalke dalke at acm.org
Tue Jul 25 23:39:55 EST 2000


John S. J. Anderson wrote:
>I decided a while ago not to use _any_ closed source software for
>science if it was at all possible. If you think about it, true peer
>review isn't possible unless you can see the source. I'm just waiting
>for the inevitable report of the bug in microarray quantitation
>software (to pull an example out of the air) that will result in paper
>retractions.

Out of curiosity, what are your feelings on software where you get
the source but it isn't "open source."  For examples, DSSP, MolScript
and XPLOR are all packages (can you see my structure background :)
where you get the source code, even for free for academics, but
you are not allowed to redistribute the source or any changes.

Looking at DSSP's academic license, for example, at
http://www.cmbi.kun.nl/gv/dssp/license.html shows quite a few things
which are prohibited according to the Debian free software guidelines,
like restriction from doing classified work.

But with these programs there is still the possibility of doing a
"true peer review" of the source code, even though they are closed.

(Actually, this reminds me of math class where there are sets which
are open, sets which are closed, sets which are neither open nor
closed :)

                    Andrew Dalke
                    dalke at acm.org









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