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Update: Alexis de Toqueville Institution: Opening the Open Source Debate

Jun 11, 2002, 16:58 (66 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kenneth Brown)

[ Thanks to Alex for this link. ]

"What we know as software is the end result of painstakingly typing thousands, sometimes millions of lines of text in programming language. This text is commonly known as 'source code.' The source code is unrecognizable to most unless you know something about programming, but this text is the 'secret formula', the underlying schematic that enables each process and function of a software product to work.

"The open source debate is about keeping secrets. Completed (written) software is often locked by its programmer, hiding the underlying code from its user. Software can only be modified in its 'unlocked' state when source code is viewable. Software's locked state is also described as its 'executable' format. Executable software is commonly sold in stores and avalable commercially. Executable software accompanies binary code also known as machine code. This binary code is readable by the host PC and used to mechanically operate the software.

"Developing software inherently creates two versions--one that is sealed or executable and one that is open source, disclosing the underlying code. The decision to keep the code secret is the prerogative of the programmer. And it is this prerogative that propels us into the open source debate..."

[The primary link to this white paper was temporarily down, according to a one-page PDF document released by ADTI. Upon contacting ADTI, a representative informed us that he was not sure why the paper was off-line, but he believed "they had to make a couple of revisions to the paper." The paper's author, Kenneth Brown, was unavailable for comment. The link to the (presumably revised) paper has been reestablshed and can be found with a link to the original version of the white paper below.

As of June 18, this paper is now only available through ADTI's online store for $5.95 US. The links to both versions of the paper have been removed in favor of a link to the introduction page for the paper. -ed]

White Paper Introduction

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