Roadmaps for the desert... the debeat goes on.

Robert Harper harper at FINSUN.CSC.FI
Tue Jun 18 01:35:17 EST 1991

More on the roadmaps for resources question... I like it.

****************************  CLIP  *****************************
     I agree with Ed completely. For the past six years, I have been
building a database of information on the location of computer software
available in source code form from around the world. Currently I have
information on over 15,000 programs. What I do is very time consuming,
and intellectually demanding in that I have to know a little bit about
everything to help separate the good stuff from the bad.
     To date, I have received ZERO attention and funding from the US
government, even though most of the software I track is government funded.
The Don't Transfer Research Projects Agency epitomizes the incompetence
in the government, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on software
development, and ZERO on any effective transfer. NASA likes to think its
competent with its 1200 program COSMIC collection, even though I have
records on over 4000 programs available at NASA sites. Despite receiving
some attention in the press, and many letters on my part, no government
agencies have shown any interest in doing anything with existing source
code resources (and universities don't do any better).
     The Congressional bills to promote critical technologies, information
highways, and have the CIA involved in technology espionage, are all a 
waste of tax dollars.  There is so much technology already available that
can be transferred with low technology solutions.
     My observation is that there is gross misunderstanding of the economics
of information and information transfer, leading to proposals that, if they
could be evaluated, would have negative cost-benefit.
     Unfortunately, I do not believe (and care anymore) that any solutions
will come out of the government. There has been so little criticism of
government information technology activities inside the DoD, DoE, NASA and
NSF that they would not recognize a good idea if it hit them. The only
way these problems will be solved will be through people willing to
understand the economics of information and software, and offer solutions
through the market.
     (By the way, I forgot to flame my favorite waste project, the Software
Thats Alreadybeen Rejected Somewherelse project, which seeks to improve
software productivity ten fold without spending a cent proving that they
achieved their goals.)
     I'll probably get flamed for this posting (just in case, other words
that come to mind include incompetent, self-serving, tax-dollar waste,
impotent, fraudelent, repetivitie, duplicative (I have seen 200 federally
funded FFT routines), and most other perjoratives).
     All I know is that there are over 15,000 programs available publicly
in source code form in this great computer/software country of ours, and
I'm the only one that knows where.

Gregory Aharonian
Source Translation & Optimization

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