Unix vs Linux - the movie.

John S. J. Anderson jacobs+usenet at genehack.org
Wed Jul 26 06:32:20 EST 2000


>>>>> "Michael" == Michael Schmitz <schmitz at biophys.uni-duesseldorf.de> writes:

Michael> Paper retractions ?? Who's retracting papers these days?

8^)

Michael> I agree on the peer review part, even if it usually doesn't
Michael> happen before someone runs into really funny results. But if
Michael> that happens, it's good to have the source. If you don't have
Michael> someone skilled in programming in your own group, you can
Michael> always find someone in your computing resource center, in the
Michael> CS department, etc.

Or even someone at another institution. 

Michael> Try proving to some software vendor that there's a particular
Michael> bug in their software, without sending them the diff to prove
Michael> it. The M$ attitude is far too common already.

"That's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Michael> To make it easy to detect, they need to have done a pretty
Michael> decent job already, or it won't be much fun. But I doubt many
Michael> companies are going to open their source, partly for IP
Michael> reasons, partly for shame :-). The benefit of getting a few
Michael> bugs spotted by others doesn't seem to count. 

I would hope this could be solved with the proper advertising --
something like "Our software is so good that...". Or they could
sponsor/fund code review, or _something_. The current 'black box'
approach makes me nervous, not because I think that there are bugs,
but because I know there are bugs, and I'm not sure what parts of the
output are affected.

Michael> I'm more concerned about people at universities and other
Michael> publically funded institutions going more and more closed
Michael> source.

Yep. Software written using grant money should be open. Here, again,
though, you run into the IP problem -- because the institution will
want to make sure they get their cut.

Also, knowing in advance that you're going to be showing your code to
other people, who might be giving you a job or reviewing a grant
proposal at some future date has a positive effect on quality.

john.

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