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SearchEnterpriseLinux: The Wrong Choice: Locked In by License Restrictions

May 23, 2003, 10:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jan Stafford)

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"Sucked in by advertising, Jameson C. Burt bought a proprietary mathematical software application four years ago. This year, he discovered that he couldn't move that program to new hardware without paying hefty license fees. That's when Burt realized he'd made the wrong choice.

"The proprietary product in question is MATLAB, a technical computing environment created by Needham, Mass.-based The MathWorks. Burt, an IT professional working for a federal agency, has used MATLAB to test theories about the stock market. He has downloaded quarterly statistics for 10,000 stocks daily since 1995. This data conveys a historical view of the stock market during boom and crash years.

"In one of his tests, he wrote a program in MATLAB that created a minimal algorithm that buys and sells stocks. Surprisingly, the MATLAB tests of mock purchases and sales showed that treating purchases and sales asymmetrically improved returns..."

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