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Re: [OT - or may be not] The case for open computer programs

On Tue, 29 May 2012, Brendon Higgins wrote:
> > http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6078/159.full
> > [snip]
> > Meanwhile we can just keep going forward making it all possible ;)
> ...
> In 
> this context, open _code_ and open _platforms_ are two different (albeit 
> related) beasts.
> ...
> Ideally the whole system should be open, not just the chunk of code unique to 
> each experiment.

Exactly!   And there is more to it.  Someone bold could event exaggerate
that requiring "open code" on its own is **"useless"** besides for being
an "ideal description of the method implementation".  Why "useless"?
Because in majority of the cases "open code" will hardly be usable by a
considerable part of scientific community for one reason (e.g. as you
pointed out commercial base) or another.  Quite often simply
because that code was not created to be used by others.

Moreover, we all know, that even providing usable binaries accompanied
by FOSS code, without formalized build procedures and clearly specified
dependencies would complicate any extension of the code, thus often
significantly reducing the benefit of having that code under FOSS
license to begin with.   As the result, mandating "open code" to
accompany research papers would be of limited practical importance to
the science due to difficulty of its adoption and extension.

And that is where a platform which addresses those demands would be
indispensable; but neither of those papers indeed goes that far.
Overall all these recent trends are only of benefit for us to
promote Debian because of its unique organization and "wealth" ;)

Yaroslav O. Halchenko
Postdoctoral Fellow,   Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Dartmouth College, 419 Moore Hall, Hinman Box 6207, Hanover, NH 03755
Phone: +1 (603) 646-9834                       Fax: +1 (603) 646-1419
WWW:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/yarik        

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