Software publishing

ODONNELL at arcc.afrc.ac.uk ODONNELL at arcc.afrc.ac.uk
Wed Feb 14 05:45:00 EST 1990

>I am aware of the fact that some authors would not agree because of
>copyright considerations and the fear of seeing there nice programs
>degraded by some stupid programmer out there.
>Bu if i have a look at the programs on distribution by the servers
>which are available as executables only, i feel that most of them would
>profit from modest modifications.

I agree that a program is only as good as its code, and the publishing of
executable only is rather like publishing the conclusions of an experiment
while witholding the materials, methods and results.

I understood the original suggestion to be for source code, not executable.
It seemed to suggest that incomplete programs, with specific uses may be of
use to others. Source code in FORTRAN, PASCAL, C etc avoiding system libraries
would obviate most of the problems concerning standardising on VAX/IBM etc

Only in this way can program routines (ie:implemented algorithms) be
available as 'tools' to other programming-literate scientists. A programmer
could 'bolt together' different algorithms for a particular purpose and modify
accordingly. The Wisconsin package is an excellent example of this openness.

Program quality could be improved by this sort of open exchange, as scientific
theory can be changed by open discussion and criticism. This means the
opposite of 'degrading' the original idea (remember the 'junk DNA' debate?)
Why make programs an exception?

Cary O'Donnell			Tel: (in UK) 0582 762271 ext 226
AFRC Computing Centre		     (+44 for UK) 582 762271 ext 226
West Common			Fax: (+44) 582 761710
Herts AL5 2JE			email: ODONNELL at UK.AC.AFRC.ARCC
U.K.				(Molecular biology support at AFRCCC)

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