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What Happens To Code From Failed Projects?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the great-compiler-in-the-sky dept.

Programming 225

Idzuna writes "With the somewhat recent announcement of Tabula Rasa shutting down, I have been thinking about what will happen to the Server/Client code. Does it get used as a guide for other projects? Does it get destroyed? Or does it just sit there on a hard drive somewhere in storage? The same question applies to many other failed creations. I know the likelihood of the code being distributed freely is next to nil, as most companies probably recycle code. If a vulnerability was found in old code, it could be applied to other products that the company has released. But wouldn't it help development of different projects if such a resource was available?"

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225 comments

Code Heaven (5, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013091)

They go to the little /dev/null in the sky.

Re:Code Heaven (4, Funny)

nx6310 (1150553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013301)

Or it goes to code hell, where it is made Closed Source and sent for Eternal Bug inspection

Re:Code Heaven (3, Informative)

squarefish (561836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013367)

Actually, I think it gets it's own little piece of silicon heaven [wikipedia.org]

And why wouldn't it?

They sell it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013419)

I am hoping that some other company will buy TR from NCSoft and continue to host it.

That is what happened to Hellgate: London, for example.

Given how much money was invested in this game, it doesn't make sense for NCSoft to just sit on it and not run it...especially if they have the chance to recoup some of their losses.

Re:Code Heaven (4, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013673)

And here I was thinking that GOTO was a bad thing.

Re:Code Heaven (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013745)

They get there via bit bucket.

Re:Code Heaven (1)

Ramley (1168049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013793)

... or does it end up with all of those single missing socks and the occasional lost car keys -- taken, of course, by the car key gnomes.

Re:Code Heaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013873)

Do you ever go to make a pork sausage, and find that it's got hairs all over it?

If you can answer that question, you know what to do with your code

Re:Code Heaven (2, Funny)

Valtor (34080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013953)

When it is deleted it should return to the source! But sometimes the code chooses to remain...

Sorry, couldn't help the Matrix analogy ;-)

It's recycled (3, Informative)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013097)

The code is used for other projects by the same company. Few companies release their old/failed code -- id being the only game company I know of that does so (GPLing their old code).

Re:It's recycled (4, Interesting)

Lorens (597774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013139)

I know at least one other company that GPL'd a product that was nice but didn't excite enough monied clients : Solsoft GPL'd Net Security Master, an application-level proxy.

http://www.hsc.fr/societe/produits/index.html.en [www.hsc.fr]

I worked for Solsoft at the time :-)

Re:It's recycled (1)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013167)

Many application vendors have released their code GPL'd or otherwise open source, but it's very rare in the gaming world.

Re:It's recycled (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013357)

most likely because modern 3D engines are flexible enough that they can be reused in multiple projects, and the game logic is mostly strapped onto that.

Re:It's recycled (2, Informative)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013789)

Not just that they're flexible enough, but that they often monetize them by selling the engines to other companies. Those other companies won't have the rights to release the engine code, while the companies who created the engines don't want to stop the flow of money.

Re:It's recycled (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013785)

freespace 2 and duke nukem 3d are also open sourced, and i doubt that's all.

Re:It's recycled (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013841)

But then again how old is the freespace engine? Its not really cutting edge anymore, and games these days are in an arms race for who can have the best graphics at all costs, regardless of actually game play.

Re:It's recycled (4, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014097)

The code is used for other projects by the same company.

No, that's just what some delusional PHB or sneaky coder tells the decision makers at the company. In reality it just sits on a CD or in a version control repository until it gets lost or deleted. (Or until somebody needs a new version for some lingering customer that is still using it and wants to pay for a fix).

I'm sure many a coder has told management that they will "re-use that big pile of obfuscated spaghetti code written by the owner or long-gone suspender-wearing senior coder"[1] until management believed it and left them alone so they could build something much better from scratch.

[1] - Please note that anything not written from scratch by the current set of coders falls into this category.

Re:It's recycled (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014261)

Many companies surely fear how would public opinion form about their code, i.e. they're ashamed of what they did. And I don't look only at smaller companies or indies here.

Old code never dies . . . (2, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013107)

. . . it just fades away.

Re:Old code never dies . . . (-1, Flamebait)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013421)

Why did you just say that? Not only is it not funny, it makes no sense.

Re:Old code never dies . . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013501)

Why were you born, tell your parents to stop insulting humanity.

Re:Old code never dies . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013511)

Why did you just respond to that? Not only is it not constructive, it is redundant.

The developers (2, Interesting)

thammoud (193905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013115)

all have copies at home.

we do. (5, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013119)

...as most companies probably recycle code.

We recycle code. We have to separate it ourselves though. There are code bins for C, Java, Javascript, Perl, and Python. It's pain though! Every semester some intern puts Javascript code in the Java bin and the other way around!

But it beats having the code end up in a landfill!

Re:we do. (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013159)

Well they both have the word "Java" on it, probably easy to get confused.

If you have someone who put Java/Javascript code into a Perl bin then you have a much bigger issue.

Re:we do. (3, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013295)

Well they both have the word "Java" on it, probably easy to get confused.

Tell me about it. I've seen C# codes in C++ folder, probably because they all start with a C and # is just two pluses overlapping.

I'm only grateful the culprit didn't rename the C++ folder to C# thinking it was a typo.

Re:we do. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013879)

Eventually, all the bins start smelling like Java anyway.

Re:we do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014143)

yeah, definitely big issues. Now, if some PHP eventually finds it way into the PERL bin, that, I can sort of understand.

Re:we do. (2, Interesting)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013383)

I realize you were being funny, but this rings completely true. In my job, my boss is the primary sisadmin and I'm the primary web developer, where we each have some crossover into the other's area. But he (the much more seasoned one) uses Javascript and Java interchangeably, no matter how many times I have explained it to him.

Recycle code? (1)

w3n-a (1424741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013509)

How can you recycle the code? Doesn't the recycling the code more expensive than create the new one? Different program has a different unik code, so if you recycle the failed code to the new program, you will spent more time on it.

Re:Recycle code? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014227)

If you code your objects or functions properly, they should be loosely coupled from the entire program and you can reuse the ones that make sense. The "glue" that made the program unique is what gets left behind.

Layne

Depends (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013125)

That really depends, if it fails really badly then it gets buried [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013297)

Actually, it is used as the basis for Microsoft Windows.

Re:Depends (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013409)

Nobody ever found the buried ET cartridges because Microsoft came along later, dug them up, and used the code for Windows ME.

No one can really know for sure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013145)

Some have described a tunnel of bright light where the code executes in an infinite loop forever.

Others theorize an ultimate review where code structure is judged. Good code may branch anywhere at anytime with an infinite clock speed and infinite memory space regardless of pointer size. It is said that in the code afterlife, even vista will run quickly. Bad code, say like MS BOB, will spend eternity in some embedded device like a clapper or firmware that controls a japanese toilet.
 

Re:No one can really know for sure (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013323)

Some have described a tunnel of bright light where the code executes in an infinite loop forever.

As opposed to an infinite loop which doesn't last forever? :-)

Re:No one can really know for sure (5, Funny)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013385)

Some have described a tunnel of bright light where the code executes in an infinite loop forever.

As opposed to an infinite loop which doesn't last forever? :-)


int main(void) {
    int i = 0;
    while (1) {
        if (i<10) {
            doSomethingTenTimesInAnInfiniteLoopButNotForever();
            i++;
        }
        doSomethingForever();
    }
    return 0; /* purely academic */
}

Re:No one can really know for sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014033)

doSomethingTenTimesInAnInfiniteLoopButNotForever() will execute an infinite number of times, unless the language/dialect you are using has a positive infinity value for integers, or integers can grow infinitely. Otherwise, it will overflow. Essentially that function will run a bit more than half of the iterations of the while (values of x from INT_MIN to 9 it wlll run, from 10 to INT_MAX it will not).

Your point is clear, but it wouldn't be slashdot if no one was a dick.

-Lee

Re:No one can really know for sure (3, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014243)

-Lee

If you post anonymously, you aren't supposed to sign your post.......

Re:No one can really know for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014329)

i post anonymously because i don't have an account, not because I'm ashamed of what i post. this can obviously be remedied, i just haven't bothered.

-Lee

Re:No one can really know for sure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014323)

I'm not sure if you're flame or what, but you should probably take another look.

If that's really your understanding of the code, I hope you never touch a production system, anywhere, ever.

Re:No one can really know for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013931)

Sure - an infinite loop is a coding construct. It has nothing to do with whether there is POWER to run the computer. So while it may be an infinite loop in coding terms, it only runs when there is power - and this may indeed NOT be forever.

Re:No one can really know for sure (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014271)

Actually I never saw an infinite loop that DOES last forever :D

Re:No one can really know for sure (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014247)

Bad code, say like MS BOB, will spend eternity in some embedded device like a clapper or firmware that controls a japanese toilet.

So, a clapper or... a crapper?

Buried in Wasilla, Alaska (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013147)

It gets shipped, and then gets buried in Wasilla, Alaska.

Re: (4, Informative)

Neoaikon (1313119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013163)

Where I work if a project gets shelved we separate any useful functions from the code and copy those for future use. and then the code gets archived and a document of its code printed out on paper for reference and as a hard backup. Basically its recycled, although we've had clients come up after 5 years wanting to restart the project, and are surprised that we still have it.

Re: (4, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013997)

I took the opposite approach at my current job. After computing the cost to maintain a line of code (around $10/year,) the logical solution was to delete all unused code. The payoff was great: no more worrying about breaking compatibility, smaller, cleaner codebase, etc.

Another plus was that shelved code tends to be bad code: if it didn't suck, it would still be in use. Maybe it had some useful gems in it? Possible, but doubtful: usefully gems should have been in a common library, not a cesspool application.

A final benefit was that it made paying the programmers much easier. The author of 10K lines of code that were being used got paid a lot more than the author of 20K lines of code that were deleted.

Yucca Mountains (2, Funny)

amori (1424659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013181)

It just sits and waits for an approval, so it can be given a decent burial within the Yucca Mountains.

Recycled Code (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013231)

    I've never worked on a project like this, but on other things I've done, I've used it as a learning experience. We always learn how to do things better over time, even if they're not the same type of project.

    Depending on the project, I've either kept a copy of my code somewhere safe, or I've just remembered "oh, it took this to do it well", and then do it again but better next time.

    I've known people who recycle their code directly. Unfortunately, that makes their errors follow them, and they reuse bloated libraries over (and over and over). On some, I've had to clean up, where I've found multiple things that do the same or almost the same things, and many things that were simply unused and had no application in the new project. Why should you have 10,000 lines of code, where only a couple hundred do the job. Sometimes the leftovers contained subtle but exploitable bugs. Is it worth saving a little time to leave a potentially dangerous bug in place?

   

Re:Recycled Code (2, Insightful)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013349)

When you're talking about game engines, however, recycling code isn't just an option, it's a necessity. You're not going to rewrite half a million lines of code if you don't have to -- it makes no sense. You update the engine, add new logic, and package it with new assets to release a new game. It's the only way that makes sense.

Apologies to Langston Hughes (2, Funny)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013245)

What happens to a code deferred?

Is it ignored
with no more patches to come?
Or sit there, abandoned --
and never run?
Does it become obsolete
Or turn into freeware --
to become something sweet?

Maybe it's reused
To spawn newer code.

OR DOES IT EXPLODE?

it goes to code heaven (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013273)

how do you think they got cloud computing off the ground?

if its really bad code it goes to code hell

most pieces of malware, for example, are zombie pieces of code stitched together from pieces of netscape and aol. the code devil himself is composed of the evit bit and the piece of code that confused imperial units and metric units and caused the mars climate orbiter to crash

Usually (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013279)

Usually a program chooses exile when they face deletion. They are supposed to retun to the source, but they sometimes hide in Matrix and manifests themselvesthose werewolves, and aliens, etc in Matrix to screw with people's minds.

Code is Cheap (3, Insightful)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013305)

More important than pieces of code, what matters in a software product are good integration and a good user interface. Neither of which is particularly reusable. In fact, the most important thing that gets reused from most failed projects is the (now more experienced) programmers.
To paraphrase the old saw about decisions:

Writing good software requires experience, and experience comes from writing bad software.

Re:Code is Cheap (2, Funny)

FrozenGeek (1219968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014083)

I sure have a lot of experience.

Re:Code is Cheap (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014263)

I just learn the first time I make a mistake and don't make it again.....my code is some of the best in the company.....even compared to people with a lot more tenure and a lot more experience.

Same thing that happens to everything (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013319)

Companies scrap stuff all the time, whole brand new cars get thrown away, perfectly good computers get smashed up, all sorts of cool mechanical prototypes get tossed, etc. Sometimes they may use what they learned or reuse certain parts. Code is no different.

In other words, I think the person asking the question is naive. Who cares what happens to the code? Why do you think you deserve a piece of it?

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013817)

Sheesh, someone shows intelligence and they get moderated away? SMRT!

usually not worth saving (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013333)

A large codebase takes so much time and energy for a newbie to understand that often it is more effective, and nearly as quick, to re-implement it from scratch. Yes, I realize this is the well-known NIH syndrome, but a codebase that gained little or no traction in the outside world is probably not worth very much.

Every software company that's been around for a few years has lots of failed attempts at a "new new thing" lying around, some checked into version control systems but many others sitting on a file server or some engineer's hard drive. You learn not to ask the guy about it as this will usually cost you a good chunk of your morning.

I know this one! (5, Funny)

xactuary (746078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013341)

Doh! It gets patched every second Tuesday of the month.

Pet Cemetary (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013365)

It's how Quake III rose from the dead to become Star Trek: Elite Force.

It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers It (4, Interesting)

malloc (30902) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013369)

In my observation at a commercial software firm:

1. Product is canceled / killed
2. Developers that know anything about the project are axed or leave
3. The source control repository sits untouched for year(s).
4. SCM admins decide the project really is dead, and it can stop wasting prime reliable/backed-up-/offsite storage. Project is archived to offline media.
5. Now the project is not online, people that worked on it are gone, and managers that worked with it don't want to remember. After another few years people barely even remember it existed.
6. What's happened to the code? It literally is sitting on physical media gathering cobwebs.

-Malloc

Re:It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers I (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013571)

This jives with what I've seen. Although I'll add the additional, final step:

7. Someone decides to clean out that closet full of accumulated crap, asks everyone if they know what the "FooBar_02" project was all about, and hearing nothing, throws it away.

If it's stored on hard drives, tapes, or other reusable media, somebody might at this point grab them out of the trash for re-use at home, but if not they just go to the landfill with the rest of the garbage.

Maybe at some point in the future, archaeologists will puzzle over the more well-preserved specimens, wondering how we managed to survive with such crummy software.

Re:It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers I (1)

seanthenerd (678349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013993)

No doubt - which is tragic.
My two favorite computer games (by far) are Fighters Anthology [wikipedia.org] (1997), and Star Trek: Armada [wikipedia.org] (2000). Just absolutely phenomenal games. :)
But the first was abandoned when EA disbanded its military-simulation division ("Jane's"), and Armada was completely abandoned after a legal dispute between Activision and Paramount (one day, all the Armada-related materials on the website just disappeared).
On second thought, that's probably why games like Armada couldn't be officially released - too much of a copyright hurdle between Activision's code, and Paramount's art/storyline/characters/etc. But it's nice to dream that they could be; both Armada and Fighters Anthology still have active modding communities (and that's saying something with FA, which had no mod tools) a decade later. Imagine what people could do with the full sources. They're good games; it's a shame that they'll eventually just be forgotten and lost forever.
If I was a game developer, I'd want to snag a copy of all the source code just as a product finished, so I could share it around a decade later and see what happens.

Re:It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014081)

Step 8 usually comes about 2 weeks after step 7.

8. New client asks for a project just like "FooBar_02". Brilliant, free money - all the work is already done! Now we just need to get the code out of CVS... D'OH!

Re:It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers I (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013867)

If the company lives, the code stays on the shelf and eventually the media suffers literal bit rot.

If the company dies, it is marked as being a valuable asset by the creditors, which then hoard it because the poor people that collect the remaining 1% of their investment don't understand the true value of code. They just want their money back.

They'll overvalue the code as if the code is minimally worth the wages it took to produce it, if not much, much more. Really the code is worthless without people who can build it, fix it, use it, sell it, service it, or answer questions about it. Since most would-be purchasers of the code clearly understand that it's worthless without such a support system, they'll want to buy it at a much lower price.

Often the sellers won't be one person, and that makes it even more difficult to sell. Often there are no buyers; if people cared enough about the code to spend more money/effort, it likely would not be mothballed.

Re:It Gathers Cobwebs Till Nobody Left Remembers I (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014159)

What's happened to the code? It literally is sitting on physical media gathering cobwebs.

I think you need to look up the definition of literally.

While it may be sitting (which, one could argue the term sitting, but I know what you mean) on physical media, it definitely is not "literally" gathering cobwebs.

Ahhh...now I feel better that I've had my grammar fix for the day.

Didn't you guys see Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions ? (0)

guruz (645678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013397)

(no text)

Re:Didn't you guys see Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014045)

i didn't stay awake tthrough them if thats what you mean. talk about crap.

Sloppy Code Bad for Company Reputation (1, Informative)

Paeva (1176857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013453)

I imagine that if you saw into the heart of your typical code developed entirely for internal use (i.e. not for distribution without being compiled first), you would find only rot, stink, and generally a very scary place. You don't want your clients seeing that stuff.

Corporate Asset (5, Informative)

GrayNimic (1051532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013465)

When EA shut down Earth & Beyond, there were the typical calls for the server software to be released. Amazingly enough, they actually did get a response: that the code for the backend of an MMO represents a huge investment by a company, and that they (EA) would not release the code for two basic reasons. One, access to the code (source, libraries, decompilable libraries, whatever) for a fully functional MMO would be a huge leg-up for competitors attempting to enter the field. Two, the code represents a base that can be used for other projects, and releasing a version of that base could be a liability to those future projects. For those two reasons, the chances of EA in any way supporting community-run servers would be nil.

Not stellar news (nor surprising), but the one pseudo-official response I have ever actually seen. And it does make sense, to me at least.

Re:Corporate Asset (3, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013977)

One, access to the code (source, libraries, decompilable libraries, whatever) for a fully functional MMO would be a huge leg-up for competitors attempting to enter the field.

Given some of the in-house code bases out there, it seems just as likely to me that releasing it could sink competitors as they spent months trying to turn a giant WTF-bomb into something that they could actually work on.

My business rule of thumb is that application code bases generally have zero or negative cash value unless they come with the people who wrote them. I'm sure there are some exceptions. But over and over I've seen people take on code bases that had no continuity of personnel, and it seems like they always spend more time rummaging and fixing than it would have taken just to write things again from scratch.

Re: Negative Value... (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014179)

I think this whole AskDot topic is pretty important.

Lurking around your post and some of the others is the key to Web 3.0.

If __ codebase "has negative value", then it might be a candidate for release to GPL after being "codecleaned".

Some hobbyist may extract some random subroutine with a scalpel and then puff it into some entirely different little app.

There's some weird brand of the contrapositive of opportunity cost going on here. Trench sniping over IP is the hot pastime of this decade and next. So it's "worth" throwing out huge code derelicts, thus wasting tons of resource time, and then complaining when someone wants to poke at it.

Re:Corporate Asset (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014303)

My business rule of thumb is that application code bases generally have zero or negative cash value unless they come with the people who wrote them.

How many experienced programmers are out there if you want to develop a massively multiplayer online game? The odds can't be much worse than 1 in 4 that you will be looking at people from EA.

Re:Corporate Asset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014327)

Basically this means that EA says they won't do anything with it, and won't let anyone else. EA is like the mystical elephant graveyard when it comes to games.

My dream is that someone buys their stock, takes them private, and uses some of the warehouses of IP they have lost throughout the years as either remakes or stuff for new games. Ultima X (single or multi player), anyone? How about a remake of Privateer?

If EA stopped assuming customers were criminals and dug up some stuff from their archives for a remake before the computing populace completely forgot about the game, they would be rolling in cash even in these troubled economic times.

I know ! (1, Funny)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013471)

Failed codes seek the oracle and wait for the bug in the system known as the "one" to save them.

Re:I know ! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013537)

Right, but even Larry Ellison can't buy every software company out there.

Re: Help Bury! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014197)

Can Ted McGinley help?

http://www.jumptheshark.com/forum/Ted-Mcginley/22 [jumptheshark.com]

blind (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014205)

bah you said "buy" not bury.

Not just code, what about... (1)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013487)

...other assets like models, graphics, animation, sound, maps, and data files? These are enormous, time-consuming and expensive assets that also face extinction with failed projects. Or what about assets for projects that are... older and discontinued?

I often wonder how great it would be for new (or smaller, or hobbyist, or cash-starved, or early in SDLC, or whatever) developers if more companies open-sourced these assets.

Everyone knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013549)

They're bought up by Larry Ellison and used for future versions of Oracle.

Who cares? (4, Interesting)

Stinking Pig (45860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013553)

Code is easier and more fun to write than it is to read. The first hurdle in front of this magical "re-usable resource" is that no one even wants to take the time to read it and decide if it's any good; the natural inclination is to write your own.

Secondly, programmers are just as crowd-driven as anyone else; re-using code from a failed project is swimming upstream, just like writing code in an unpopular language.

Third strike -- potential legal encumbrance. On the off chance that your project is successful, who know who might come out of the woodwork with a potential claim against it? Look at the SCO Linux lawsuit; even if the claims against your project are totally bogus, they'll still suck years out of your life.

Failed PROJECTS or failed PRODUCTS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013577)

There's a difference. It's estimated that at least 2 out of 3 - and probably more - complex IT projects fail. Usually there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that's salvageable. In large part because if it was of salvage quality, the project wouldn't have failed.

On the other hand, if a project does succeed and becomes a marketed product, that's different.

In this case, you have something useful - either directly or by adaptation. The problem is, someone owns it. So the only (legal) way to salvage it is to either license it or purchase it.

I have, however, seen products that the owners didn't want to do that, but also didn't want to revive or even support them. In which case, tough noogies.

Re: What Happens To Code From Failed Projects? (1)

snikulin (889460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013579)

It goes to code haven.

Based on my experience... (2, Interesting)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013589)

  1. Company builds an interesting product [stlcommercemagazine.com] .
  2. The investors do everything they can [archive.org] to protect their IP.
  3. Things start to go horribly wrong [bizjournals.com] .
  4. The firms assets are sold [sportsbusi...ournal.com] .
  5. The backups of the original software get recycled. Welcome to silicon heaven!

Reused! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013609)

Failed code is reused! It's all collected and put into the new version of Windows.

Freespace 2 (4, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013611)

I always thought it was really cool of Volition to release the source code to Freespace 2 after Interplay's demise. It's allowed a whole ton of custom mods and campaigns that I'm still playing today, 12 years after the game's release. Textures and effects were updated by the mod community and a lot of the new campaigns include new ships or weapons. Some of the best include:

Beyond The Red Line [game-warden.com] (BSG conversion with Newtonian physics)
Blue Planet [hard-light.net]
The Procyon Insurgency [hard-light.net]
The Babylon Project [hard-light.net] (Babylon 5 conversion)

I'm looking for the code that Walnut Creek sold... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013647)

Back before the days of the Internet, "Walnut Creek" used to send me a catalog and they had tons and tons of code for sale. What ever happened to that code ? I can't seem to find Walnut Creek anywhere on the Internet and nor can I find that code. Another piece of code I am looking for is an HPGL plotter driver. There was an open source version floating around in the early 1990s, but I can't seem to find it anymore.

It is deservedly buried? (4, Insightful)

shess (31691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013657)

People who don't write code seem to think that it's like a made thing, which, once made, has some level of intrinsic value. This is not true. Poor code can have actual negative value (it can even be destructive to a company). Even good code which solves the wrong problems can be a huge hindrance. Failed projects and companies seldom fail simply because they were technically excellent. [I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I am saying that it doesn't happen all that often, and it's often impossible to divorce code from its context.]

I still get requests to open-source a package I wrote 18 years ago for an OS which hasn't existed for 10 years. I wrote the original version of the package while I was a fulltime college student, in the two months before finals. I certainly went on to put another 3 or 6 months of fulltime work (spread over years) into improving it, so there's certainly some value I put into it. I don't think requesters really understand me when I suggest that if they were REALLY capable of using my code as a starting point, they would easily be capable of simply starting from scratch. There's maybe 10% of the code which really has value, but anyone talented enough to be able to pick that 10% out and repurpose it would probably have no desire to do so. I know that if I were tasked with solving the same problem, I'd just start over.

Re:It is deservedly buried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014361)

May be they are just nostalgic?

PS: I really crave for the code for old DOS games... even if you write your own, you knowit is not the real thing!
(posting anon because I cannot login on this machine)

file it away (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013693)

"government warehouse!"

I wish Borland would release code for C++ Builder (2, Interesting)

elmerfud2000 (1349717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013703)

Borland has released code for several products. They stopped making C++ Builder a few years ago. I wish they would release that code to open source. Eclipse needs a visual editor for C++. They have one for Java, but not for C++. It could work with the QT libraries.

Re:I wish Borland would release code for C++ Build (1)

QX-Mat (460729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013923)

Check again. Partial C++0x is support too.

Re:I wish Borland would release code for C++ Build (1)

Syrente (990349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014313)

Oh man, real support for Eclipse would be brilliant.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (2, Interesting)

MNCaudill (897093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014021)

Remember the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark?

the askdarwin tag (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014071)

I suppose he or she thinks that it comes down to survival of the bittest?

I'm here all week.

hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014185)

when I was getting rid of old ASP site for
a very well known european airline
I almost convinced my manager that maybe the source code should be printed and stored is a safe location
it was fun :)

APL (1)

blip (107532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014203)

I know of APLers with about 40 years of software production on their belt. They still use functions and code they wrote in their first year. They claim it is much more fun to do something new than repeating oneself over and over again. If they write a new program, it mostly goes like this: take/copy some functions from library, add some database and string manipulation, drop in a stylesheet and voila your shiny new web-application. I have never seen them needing more than one or two days to finish a complete application, even quite complex ones.

Just waiting for the last rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014231)

Dead source code that's commercial is almost never released because of "IP Issues". Someone winds up owning the bones of the dead project so you'll never see it because, in theory, the owners might be able to recover some small part of their investment if it stays closed. IMHO, this is the worst part of commercial software; the world never gets to learn from it. Even the folks who wrote the code are risking their necks if they reuse more than concepts from the original code in their next project.

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