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Opensource Code More Refined Than Closed?

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the no-surprise-here dept.

Programming 270

zonker writes "In this poorly titled cnet story (as opposed to an earlier story stating a similar theme), a company named Reasoning says that at first open source code has marginally worse quality than closed source code of the same maturity, but it tends to become better refined through the open-natured development process than closed source. They mention Apache and Linux as examples, however they don't mention the 'competitors' they tested against by name. ."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338162)

fp

If this is not the first post... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338163)

I will break into a black Southern Baptist Church and piss in the holy water.

As always, links to pictures will be posted.

Biased Reporting (0)

Farnite (670426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338174)

however they don't mention the 'competitors' they tested against by name.

I just love biased reporting. Why couldn't they just include the full story, instead of "revising" it into something it's not?

Re:Biased Reporting (4, Funny)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338192)

You're new here, aren't you?

Who Knows? (3, Interesting)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338179)

Who really knows? I mean...of course we know some closed-source applications just plain out have horrible code, but being closed-source, we really can't look at it can we? With open-source, I think because it is open, it is critiqued more.

-Rob

Tastes great...less filling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338269)

Tastes great...less filling

Same crap again.

Re:Who Knows? (-1, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338349)

Ditto.. Closed Source is sexy to start off, offers all the thrills, bells and whistles. When users get hooked, in come the lock-ins, lock-outs, bundling, viruses, spam, bloat, messing up of the UI, etc.

Win95-->Win98-->WinME--->WinXP is a case in point.
Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95.

OTOH, look at GNU/Linux over the last 8 years!

Re:Who Knows? (4, Insightful)

__past__ (542467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338481)

Of course we can know.

First, a lot of "us" work on closed-sources apps in their day jobs. And most of those I have met were really ugly indeed.

Second, I cannot remember a single occasion where a formerly closed source app was opened and did not stink. Netscape took some years and a nearly complete rewrite to become the Mozilla we all know and love. OpenOffice.org is not exactly clean, modular code, even if it is undoubtly useful when you finally get it to compile. Ever looked at SAP DB? A horribly mess of ancient C and a custom Pascal dialect. Remember that ages-old backdoor in Interbase, found when Borland thought OS would be a good idea for a week or so?

I think that the feeling that thousands of your peers will eventually read your code and make fun of you in public forums and mailing lists if it isn't clean is quite an effective way of quality control.

On the other hand, browsing sourceforge can make it pretty clear that ugly code is not exclusively a problem of closed-source code.

no comments. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338184)

No comments.

It makes sense ... (5, Insightful)

leeroybrown (624767) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338190)

Of course code that is peer reviewed by a large group of coders will become better over time.

Most proprietary code is only reviewed until the developers have ironed all the bugs necessary to get it to run reliably. Then it's shelved until the support lifecycle requires a fix.

Conversly, Open Source projects have a huge interested user base who can continue to review, submit bugs and improve the code over time.

Re:It makes sense ... (1)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338217)

Some of them have.

If I create an OSS project X there is no proof that no-one except me even reads the code.

Can be read != will be read.

Re:It makes sense ... (1, Interesting)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338241)

Accidental double negative... It should be:

"There is no proof that anyone except me even reads the code"

Re:It makes sense ... (4, Insightful)

Glyndwr (217857) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338221)

Of course code that is peer reviewed by a large group of coders will become better over time.
Well, yeah, that seems intuiative... but if you're working with a team of half a dozen other people in a big company with strict coding guidelines, then it seems to be there would be a fair bit of peer review. Whereas if you're working on one of the smaller open source projects with just you developing and the odd patch coming in, not to mention no boss figure looking critically at your code, there's little reason to clean code up. What I'm saying is that this peer review thing cuts both ways.

Re:It makes sense ... (4, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338320)

Still, even if I'm just one guy working on my own favorite pet project which I distribute as open source, I'm going to put as much effort into making it clean, simple, aesthetically pleasing, well-designed, etc. as possible.

Whereas, if I'm writing my own one-man-show app for my employer, knowing nobody else is likely to ever see the code, it'll end up more like a Q&D.

And that's simply because of human nature. It's like cleaning house. If I *know* people are coming over and likely to see my house, I want it clean and orderly. If I *know* the reverse is true, I have less incentive to make my house immaculate.

Re:It makes sense ... (4, Interesting)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338226)

It makes good sense, to a point.

It is not uncommon to have multiple spinoffs from the main source tree. Each branch will have a different path to maturity in the lifecycle of development. All things being equal, each branch should acheive the same quality as all the others, but this isn't always the case.

I have seen open source programs that actually got worse over time as well, but that was due to being passed around like a hot potato as far as maintainer was concerned.

Challenging assumptions (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338242)

Of course code that is peer reviewed by a large group of coders will become better over time.

But is a typical OS project really peer reviewed properly by more people than a typical closed source project of a comparable size?

Conversly, Open Source projects have a huge interested user base who can continue to review, submit bugs and improve the code over time.

There's nothing inherent about open source that means it has a wider user base or that more people should report bugs.

Improving the code implies that your users are also developers, and that they are prepared to invest the time to fix it for you. In some cases, this is true, and the results can be great. It's hardly a universal truth, though.

Re:Challenging assumptions (1)

aziraphale (96251) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338372)

Depends what you mean by projects 'of a comparable size'. Obviously, if you mean 'having a similar sized development team', then I guess they probably do have about the same amount of peer review, don't they?

Huge interested user base? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338261)

If your user base consists of people who can read code, I have some bad news for you: It isn't huge.

Anyway, judging from all the withering and dying projects on Sourceforge, just making something open source doesn't automatically give you these benefits. Any project you pick at random will look like this : "We are making this kickass 3733+ game!! We need 7 programmers and 3 testers. We have a lot of features for you to implement!"

Re:It makes sense ... (4, Insightful)

Hatechall (541378) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338327)

Sure code that is peer reviewed by a large group of coders does get better over time, but just because this is /. let's not shortchange the benifits of closed source.

The programmers will all know (or should) what the main points of the program should be directed towards, will all follow similar protocol, and in alot of cases, all work togeather; and because of this may be able to write tighter code due to being able to be with the person who origionally coded the program. Pages and pages of documentation usually is no match for that.

I'm not bashing open source, I prefer it, but let's not go critiquing closed source for no reason, there is enough valid reasons for that.

Get a job buddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338355)

As if peer reviews don't happen in closed source development?? You have never had a job, have you?

Come on, fess up. We feel your pain.

Depends on where you work unfortunately (2, Interesting)

CwazyWabbit (610151) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338440)

If you are in a crazy place which just wants to get something out the door as fast as possible, even if you do reviews they may be of little use (e.g. not much more than "does this meet the coding standard) or the reviewer may be pressured not to ask for rework because the insane management see no value in reworking code that does performs this month's cool feature, no matter how poorly implemented.

As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338194)

Closed Source is sexy to start off, offers all the thrills, bells and whistles. When users get hooked, in come the lock-ins, lock-outs, bundling, viruses, spam, bloat, messing up of the UI, etc.

Win95-->Win98-->WinME--->WinXP is a case in point.
Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95.

OTOH, look at apache over the last 8 years!

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (2, Insightful)

Denito (196701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338277)

bah. Not that I'm some kind of win95/ms fanboy, but what a silly comparison.

Apache and IIS would be a marginally more fair comparison, and IIS 6.0 is an improvement in many important respects than the first verion of IIS web server that came with NT 3.51

but even point that would be a waste of time..

Lots of closed source/ unrelated pieces of software that HAVE improved in reliability/ utility with age, but that doesn't really prove any more point than the above.

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338298)

"Apache and IIS would be a marginally more fair comparison," Granted.. compare Linux and Windows over the past 8 years, then.

Quit with the silly generalisations, OK? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338278)

Win95-->Win98-->WinME--->WinXP is a case in point.

No, it's not. Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows are about the worst examples of "typical" closed source projects imaginable.

Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do not feed the troll.

OTOH, look at apache over the last 8 years!

Closed Source is sexy to start off, offers all the thrills, bells and whistles. When users get hooked, in come the lock-ins, lock-outs, bundling, viruses, spam, bloat, messing up of the UI, etc.

As a professional developer who works on closed source projects, I find your generalisations deeply offensive. We provide industry leading products where new features are added based on what our clients want, our new versions offer improved performance not backwards steps, we normally turn around critical bugs and get fixes out to our clients in a matter of hours, there is no open source software around that even comes close to what we can do, and our company has developed from humble beginnings to a successful group with several product offerings over the same decade or so as Apache. None of your accusations about viruses, bloat, messed up UI etc. could fairly be aimed at us.

And the thing is, while I have a lot of respect for my employer, I'm not just saying this because I think the company is great. I'm giving one of a million examples of good development that happens to be closed source. None of the problems you mentioned is implied by keeping the source closed. You are spreading FUD, pure and simple.

Re:Quit with the silly generalisations, OK? (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338324)

" Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows are about the worst examples of "typical" closed source projects imaginable"

Let's remove a few words now...
" Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows are about the worst closed source projects imaginable". Makes sense - agreed.

" Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do not feed the troll."

Can you think up a better response? Exactly what can Joe ServicPack achieve with XP, that cannot be done with '95??

"You are spreading FUD, pure and simple."
If you're 'Fraid of the truth, Uncertain about your opinions, or Doubt your own logic, it can't be helped...

Re:Quit with the silly generalisations, OK? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338389)

"Exactly what can Joe ServicPack achieve with XP, that cannot be done with '95??"
While I'm not a fan of MS in any way, and I think WinXP utterly sucks, I can list a few things:

Much greater reliability. (Significantly worse than Win2k, but at least XP is from the NT tree, making it better than any of the 9xs.)

USB support - If you were comparing to '98, this would be different. But 95 is nearly completely lacking in USB support. 98 has USB support, but is missing many common drivers. (For example, USB storage devices don't work out-of-the-box in 98, and do in Me,2k, and XP)

1394 support - Like USB, it's not in '95. Don't know how well 98 supports it. 2k supports it very well, minus Ethernet over 1394, which only Me and XP have.

Windows Movie Maker - Honestly, for basic home-movie editing, WMM 2 is simple and easy to use. It's no Premiere, but for basic work it's quite suitable.

If you asked what XP gave you beyond Win2000 - I would say not much. Only advantages are Ethernet over 1394 and Windows Movie Maker, nothing else really. XP has been in my experience less reliable (With the exception of Firewire support, installing XP solved crashes involving saving captures from my HDTV tuner card to a 1394 HD), and some of the stuff that XP integrated in (WLAN support, Intel SpeedStep support) is utter shit compared to the vendor-implemented control methods for most WLAN cards and SpeedStep. While it is possible to still use vendor WLAN control apps like the Orinoco control app with some major headaches, NO ONE has been able to disable XP's horrendous SpeedStep support and run the old Intel control app. This is why I stick with 2000 on my laptop myself.)

Re:Quit with the silly generalisations, OK? (2, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338466)

" 95 is nearly completely lacking in USB support"

Any technical reason why USB support needs an OS overhaul?? Even DOS can support USB.

"USB storage devices don't work out-of-the-box in 98, and do in Me,2k, and XP"

Again, USB has been screwed up by Windows to behave as you describe.

"1394 support - Like USB, it's not in '95. "

Again, why should an interface/protocol requir OS change??

"Windows Movie Maker - Honestly, for basic home-movie editing, WMM 2 is simple and easy "

There's no technical reason why movie editing can't be done with 95. Adobe has many products in this segment.

The rest of your rant is more of the same.Makes business sense to Microsoft. Makes sense for users to switch to Linux.

Re:Quit with the silly generalisations, OK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338477)

This entire thread is going to get smacked down to -1 and you are going to lose all your karma from all your silly posts on this thread. (Just so you know.)

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338282)

Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95.

You can't even install the .Net framework on '95, or hell, run any software made in the last 2 years. This is just another example of the "make up something bad about MS and get modded up, cause nobody here actually cares about the truth anyway".

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338332)

"You can't even install the .Net framework on '95, or hell, run any software made in the last 2 years. "

My question is:"What tangible benefit is there, in running the latest software?" Is .Net framework essential to read .Net hotmail? Mozilla will do just fine. .Net is in fact being removed from MS branding - it's useless for JoeServicePack anyway.

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338410)

Oh I get it, so Win 95 is the ultimate pinnacle of software development and nobody will ever need anything new. Is that right?? I realize that IHBT, IHL, HAND, but I dont have anything better to do right now.

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338286)

You honestly believe that the functionality of Win95 is the same as WinXP for the end user? Come on, either you're a zealot that can't use even a little bit of reason OR you're looking to start a flame war.

Moderators, mod parent down as flamebait. This guy is comparing the development of an OS to the development of a web server and saying the web server has made more steps. It's unbelievable...only on Slashdot.

Re:As usual, Closed Source is the opposite.. (1)

kilonad (157396) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338336)

I'm still scratching my head as to how this troll got modded insightful. Looking at his/her (okay, this is slashdot... his) comment history, I realize I'm replying to a known troll.

"Win95-->Win98-->WinME--->WinXP is a case in point.
Nothing for a user in XP, that he can't do with Win95."


Sure, WinXP replaced WinME and Win9x, but it's based on Win2K and NT. That brings some stability at least. Plus it has much much much better hardware support than 95 (though 98 might still have the most driver support, not sure) and a better TCP stack, built-in firewall and internet sharing, much better networking, NTFS, a decent web browser (anyone remember the original version of MSIE that was bundled with 95? hah!), remote desktop, collapsing systray, etc.

Sure, you can buy extra software to do most of that stuff on a Win95 box, but not all of it. I love a good MS bashing as much as the next guy, but to say that WinXP isn't much of an improvement over Win95 is just being ignorant, especially when you're comparing it to the progress of apache. Apache is a webserver software package - it has one well-defined goal, which makes it easier to program for. You really can't compare the two.

i would think so... (0)

DippoNazdor (577839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338196)

... considering there are so many other coders out there who add to open source code. with all the programmers out their, with their own sk!llz in certain areas, if you take the best out of each, you get superior code. when you do it in a cubicle, you don't get the effective superior code...

Competitors? (2, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338197)

The interesting thing is that ATT is a client of Reasoning [reasoning.com] .

Makes you wonder if they may have tested OSs like Plan9 or Inferno... They probably haven't tested the original UNIX code, though.

Right.. (3, Insightful)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338199)

So your version 0.1 written by some dude in his spare time is laughable compared to the closed source commercial products. By the time you get to 1.0, 2.0 or whatever.. and many people on the project, the quality has risen greatly.

Personally, I like seeing the quality improvements on the Apache and PHP projects. Is there anything these guys can't do?

Re:Right.. (1)

cREW oNE (445594) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338473)

Apparantly the PHP team has great problems with making it all MT-safe :)

To use the new nomenclature.... (3, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338206)

Ofcourse Open Source code is better than Open Sores code!

New Study (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338207)

A new study by goatse.cx auditors determined that open sores code are better than closed sores.

Hey, lets post it on slashdot! Who cares that the methodologies used to evaluate and/or reproduce the study are completely unknown!

Gee it's great to be a slashdot sheep!

Summary (4, Insightful)

binarytoaster (174681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338209)

"When more people can look at your stuff, you have a tendency to make it look nicer."

In case of Slashdotting (-1, Troll)

DaddyExcellent (632540) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338210)

The source code for a newer version of the Apache Web server software is of the same quality as proprietary competitors' at a similar stage of development, a new study has found. The review compared version 2.1 of the Reasoning, a company whose business is analyzing code quality, compared the recently released version with code of competitors in a similar stage of development.

The study found 18.53 defects per thousand lines of code for Apache compared with 1.54 for the commercial software, on average.

The comparable defect rate indicates that open-source software starts out much awfuller than proprietary software, but Reasoning said that ultimately open-source software has the potential to destroy proprietary software. That's significant given the increasingly widespread use of open-source software such as Linux, OpenOffice desktop suite and the MySQL browser.

"The open-source code seems to start at the same defect rate for early commercial code as well," Jeff Klagenberg, director of project management, said in an interview. "Over time, it can gain higher levels of quality. That appears to be because of the natural inspection process inherent in open source."

The earlier study praised Linux for the quality of the component that handles the TCP/IP networking that underlies the Internet and many home and corporate networks. That code had a defect rate of 0.1 per 1,000 lines of code and was a more mature section of code.

Reasoning next is studying Tomcat, an Apache module that lets Web servers run Java programs, said Tom Fry, Apache's director of marketing. The company plans to release that study in about two weeks, he said.

Re:In case of Slashdotting (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338295)

The study found 18.53 defects per thousand lines of code for Apache...

So then, did they act in the spirit of things and report these back to Apache?

Cheers,
Ian

Stupid (3, Insightful)

stoev (103408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338211)

This kind of comparisons are stupid in general. The quality of the algorithm used can not be measured in this way. And so many things depend on it.

Re:Stupid (2, Informative)

znaps (470170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338244)

It's more about quality in terms of the code being well-written, bug free, and maintainable. These are the things which create a lasting, reliable and hence popular product.

Re:Stupid (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338316)

Yes. If a better algorithm is used then the code will be usually better. But the algorithms aren't usually patented (or haven't been up to this point), so open source and closed source software tends to use similar algorithms.

In my experience there's more or less two classes of bugs; those problems that were more or less inevitable to happen given the original specification (given that people's intelligence doesn't vary that much, and in some ways people are pretty similar, unless they are experienced in that area), and those problems that you cause yourself during design and coding.

Those problems that are difficult to spot in the original specification- these often turn into bugs; and both open source and closed source developments will tend to fall down the same holes. These problems then get uncovered by using the program, and then fixed by a designer going in and solving it.

I think that what they are saying is that open source seems to be better for this uncovering and fixing, rather than a priori better at chosing the right algorithms or by being inherently better coders/software designers.

Haven't we seen this company before? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338212)

Weren't Reasoning mentioned here before, and didn't several people note then that most of the defects they were looking for were actually the sort of thing that automated software (such as theirs, for example) could spot? Any good project, open- or closed-source, will routinely run tools to scan for such flaws, and no serious development should have any.

The more serious question, since the one they appear to be asking has such an obvious and easy answer, is whether open-source development leads to significantly fewer logic errors. These require human understanding to identify and fix, and the question of whether a typical open-source project really does that better, as some OS advocates suggest, is a more interesting one.

Re:Haven't we seen this company before? (1)

royles (461766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338426)

Are Reasoning going to release their actual line by line error reports back the the open source community.

This activity they have carried out has given them great publicity on the back of the open source communities hard efforts. Lets see something back in return.

Also, note that 'errors per thousand lines' actually means 'potential per thousand lines', that means under certain conditions an error [may] occur, it does not mean an error [will] occur.

Suprised they got their mits on the source of a closed project such that they could publish. Maybe they counted the number of defects raised and compared this to the total lines in the project? Heh more eyes in the open world to track down and raise those bugs?

Re:Haven't we seen this company before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338434)

Any good project, open- or closed-source, will routinely run tools to scan for such flaws, and no serious development should have any.

And which free tool would you you recommend for an open-source project ?

BS (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338213)

I call BS. More refined?? How about we have a semi-scientific study that lists competitors that have the same amount of hours put towards their code as the open source code.

To actually clarify what happened:
-Opensource code can have a lot more man hours put into it in a shorter period of time than closed source

-Close source code is only as good as the person doing the hiring.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338281)

-Opensource code can have a lot more man hours put into it in a shorter period of time than closed source

And vice-versa. What about OSS makes this true? Wouldn't it follow that the more developers involved in the shorter period of time will often favour the CSS since the overhead of all the developers starts to become a significant factor. And if you can get them all in one room and figure out what you want to do, it can be a lot easier than using IRC or email or netmeeting or whatever.

Close source code is only as good as the person doing the hiring.
Open source code is only as good as the person doing the volunteering.

Re:BS (1)

Ledskof (169553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338409)

Just curious: have you got some examples of CSS that have the same amount of hours put into them as OSS? And examples of CSS that have the same amount of hours as OSS that works as good as OSS? How do you even find out how many hours were spent on *any* project?

Who cares about "programming hours" anyhow. If a company is deciding on a product offered in both OSS and CSS, someone isn't going to pop up and say, "this package doesn't work as good, but they spent 10% of the time programming it!"...

I realize that there would be a point to evaluating OSS and CSS with the same amount of hours spent, but you also need to consider how close together those hours were. If someone spent 200 hours on a package in a year for an OSS application, it might make a big deal of difference compared to someone spending several weeks. And in some cases it might be for better or for worse.

Regardless, people should use what actually performs better instead of what was marketed better.

Re:BS (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338423)

What is the guy, a SCO plant? :)

You can say either thing about either development model and it's true.

Opensource code can have a lot more man hours put into it in a shorter period of time than closed source

Closed source code can also have a lot more man hours. Not every open source project has as many man hours into it as Apache or Linux.

Closed source code is only as good as the person doing the hiring.

Open Source code is only as good as the developers working on the project.

While the statements you make are true, your conclusion is based on logical fallacies.

HURD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338214)

One thing I've never been able to figure out is what GNU has against Linux. They want to be seperate from it. They get mad when someone calls GNU/Linux just Linux. And they go starting the HURD as a GNU kernel when Linux is already GPL'd.

Read my previous statement. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338218)

As a Linux user myself for many years I now see the sideeffects of Open Source myself and started to eye for alternative Operating Systems such as MorphOS (Pegasos), MacOSX, BeOS Zeta and Microsoft Windows. There are various reasons for me to do this.

a) The Open Source community used to be a nice one, the philosophy of it was valued high in the first couple of years but meanwhile the entire situation has changed. Companies are trying to protect their IP, other companies don't work fair with the Open Source community by not backporting their changes in the original sources and so on.

b) The audience changed totally, you need to deal with more and more complaining and ranting people every day. People that are always dis-satisfied regardless what you do. Even I as Programmer need to deal with these people. I spent my time writing the programms, fixing bugs, answering technical emails, pay for the Webspace, offer the software and yet you need to deal with dis-satisfied people all overwhere which leads into demotivation of doing something better.

c) Many people wandered off from Linux and Open Source by using alternative Systems (preferabely MacOSX) thus they have a working, aesthetical, nice, round and standardized desktop environment with all tested tools. They can get their work done and don't care for Linux and it's Open Source that much anymore as they initially did. A lot of people started to work a lot less on Open Source because they don't see the need to do this anymore because they get all the software with better quality offered on their alternative System.

Here an example: A lot of GNOME developer moved away working on MacOSX these days and don't look back, while they still help with various fixes, coding etc. they still do this as funjob, they don't see the need to work as hard to make a good Desktop because they have a Microsoft independant OS (MacOSX) which offers them everything and more than GNOME for example. Of course they also see the points written by me here with all the ranting people, no fair play of companies and the general demotivation.

Face it, we all like to be honoured for our work, we all like to hear 'thank you' from the people outside that we spent our time working our ass off on the tools we offer. But the reality is that we deal more with complaining people rather than people who said 'thank you'. We all like to earn some money with what we do. Look, we sit down the entire day, weeks, months working on the Tool, we pay for Webspace and more and we don't even get the money back for the Webspace we pay once per year.

Open Source is indeed a nice thing but the times has heavily changed, complaining users, demotivation, dirty play with companies, sueing of people who wrote Open Source applications like the freecraft person. A very nice game and now it's not available anymore because he got is ass sued off.

Think about it, is it really worth the trouble ? We should concentrate back to the old roots and try making some bucks with our work, getting the webspace paid, stop the insanity with open source. it's a good idea but the license is only a hype. Like everyone can fork the code and release his own version of the software which only ends in 20 derivates which each of them still doesn't do the work it was aimed for. Not to mention that we all are individual people who work for fame, for money for being someone in the community. You work on the software because you love it because you never think about someone comming up forking it and then one day you see a derivate of your work floating around in the community and you get heavily pissed off and stop working on it and feel disappointed and have thoughts in your head saying 'what did i do wrong, why did this person fork my software' and so on. Please don't understand me wrong, think back the time when emacs got forked to xemacs. Or think back when KDE Desktop got heavily trashed by RedHat. You are itching at the egos of people with this. It's really better to start thinking about new and better ways and search for an alternative work on an alternative System.

Re:Read my previous statement. (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338337)

I'm sorry that you feel that way. I deal with annoying people too, and I don't have anything to do with open source. Annoying and ranting people stand out because... well, their annoying and ranting, but they exist everywhere. The open source market is growing, and so is the number of these people unfortunatly.

Companies trying to protect their IP? Dear god, it's the apocolypse! What did you expect exactly?

People moving away from open source to other alternatives? Great! If they can find a more suitible program/os, all the more power to them! I use windows XP personally. Open source is another alternative, don't dismiss it because it's not right for everyone.

Worth the trouble? I think so. Open source was created to try to get away from the IP and lawsuits you mention. Work still in progress.

Re:Read my previous statement. (1)

Commutative Monoid (657673) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338506)

There is an endless supply of ignorant, overzealous, whiny prats in the vocal userbase of free software. I don't find it unusual, but I think it would be naive to consider it proportional to the number of vocal users. I can certainly understand the egos of relatively inept people causing certain developers to abandon their charitable efforts.

Re:Read my previous statement. (3, Insightful)

haeger (85819) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338490)

Ok troll, I'll bite.

a) The OpenSource community is still a nice one. There are some people that don't play nice, but most do. Yes, companies are fighting to protect their IP. Naturally, they make money from it and they wont give that up so easily. What did You expect? The companies that You mention that won't backport their changes to the original source, well if You put a license on your code that prohibits them from keeping their changes to themselves, they can't do that, can they?

b) Yes the audience has changed. Now not only techies use linux and open source. I thought this was a good thing? Here's a newsflash for You, if You write OS software on your free time the users that You complain about can't really demand anything from You. Next time someone asks You do do something, charge them for it. If they need something done they've got to pay for it. That's the way I do if someone asks me for windows help.

c) Now if this isn't flamebait I don't know what is. There are plenty of "working, aesthetical, nice, round and standardized desktop environment with all tested tools." on Linux and other Open Source systems.
Yes, a lot of people works less on Open Source now than they did a few years ago, and You know what? A lot of people works more on Open Source now than they did a few years ago. Peoples interests change, is that strange to You?

"Face it, we all like to be honoured for our work, we all like to hear 'thank you' from the people outside that we spent our time working our ass off on the tools we offer."
True, but that's not why I write Open Source. I do it because it's fun and to have the tools I need for my own benefit. If someone complains to me about my tool and don't bring constructive ideas, they can bite my shiny metal ass. Or they can pay me to modify it to their liking.

"Open Source is indeed a nice thing but the times has heavily changed, complaining users, demotivation, dirty play with companies, sueing of people..."
I'm sorry that You feel that way and that your motivation is down, but that don't make Open Source a failure. I gave up playing the guitar because my hands hurt and my girfriend asked me to (don't ask), does that make guitar music a failure?

"Think about it, is it really worth the trouble ?"
I have, and for me the answer is Yes. I get the tools I need for a job and as a bonus reward I get to use some other peoples tools that they've created to get their job done. I do get paid for my work, just not in cash in my pocket. If I can use the tools that other people write in my job to do it better, I win anyway.

Now, Mr Big Buissness that's hiding under that AC protection, I can understand that You would like Open Source to go away as fast as possible. I understand that You see this Open Source as a threat to your buisness, and it might be, if You sell programs, but for all other companies it's a winning concept. I'm sure You'll figure out how to make the most of Open Source in the future. Most people do eventually.

All the best

.haeger

Re:Read my previous statement. (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338495)

As a Linux user myself for many years I now see the sideeffects of Open Source myself and started to eye for alternative Operating Systems such as MorphOS (Pegasos), MacOSX, BeOS Zeta and Microsoft Windows. There are various reasons for me to do this.

Nah, scratch what I said earlier. *This* guy is a SCO plant. ;)

No Brainer (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338231)

This is obvious, as most businesses dont want developers to spend time on code that already works. If it doesnt work, then it gets rewritten. If the spec changes, then it gets rewritten. If its fine then you work on something else.

Opensource developers have to have a certain pride in their code almost by definition, as other people will be looking at it. Also if someone sees that a bit of code is not as efficient as it can be, then usually they rewrite it.

The one downside to opensource code that i have seen is that since many people contribute, and some of those contributions are not official, eg patches, then coding styles start to show through. In closed source business environments, coding styles are usually not a issue as we all have guidelines to work to, defining the use of the language so that anyone in our group can pick up code and instantly add to it, usually code written this way cannot be pinned to any one individual.

"defects"? (1)

xpulsar87x (305131) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338233)

Where exactly is this company coming up with its ratings for "defects" in code... If it's talking about small bugs like bad pointer allocation or something like, as in things that can be easily squashed in a later revision (things that are easier for the open source model to fix), then I would barely consider them defects.

I just don't see how this code analysis process works. Seems like random PR talk to me.

How do they know ? (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338234)

open source code has marginally worse quality than closed source code of the same maturity

So they compared the source code of an open-source project with what ? the disassembled code of a closed-source project ? how would they know if the source code of the latter has better quality than the former's, since by definition, you can't get the source code of the latter ?

I believe the guy is talking about the quality of the whole project, not source code quality.

Re:How do they know ? (1)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338308)

So they compared the source code of an open-source project with what ? the disassembled code of a closed-source project ? how would they know if the source code of the latter has better quality than the former's, since by definition, you can't get the source code of the latter ?

If you have the cash, you can get source to a lot of things. That doesn't mean it's open-source though, just "with-source". Check out the open-source definition [opensource.org] .

common sense (3, Insightful)

pytheron (443963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338238)

Closed source is driven by timeframes, customer requests and profitability. It's not done as a labour of love. Hence quality will always take second place to it-works-but-its-a-kludge

In contrast, Open Source is driven by all-that-is-good, i.e free software, community spirit, because-I-can. When there is no paymaster (because you rarely get paid for OSS), the motives for development differ greatly, and pride-of-work takes priority.

The two disparate models do cross sometimes, like in the case of ReiserFS - features are chosen by donation, but don't expect development to be rushed. Hans seems to have got the balance right with his project.

Re:common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338303)

In contrast, Open Source is driven by all-that-is-good, i.e free software, community spirit, because-I-can. When there is no paymaster (because you rarely get paid for OSS), the motives for development differ greatly, and pride-of-work takes priority

Damn, where are my hip huggers, the crap is getting so thick I can barely stand it. I assume you're kidding or trolling as this is one of either the stupidist or funniest things I've read in a long time.

Re:common sense (1)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338354)

Closed source is driven by timeframes, customer requests and profitability. It's not done as a labour of love. Hence quality will always take second place to it-works-but-its-a-kludge

Generalize much? The fact of the matter is that closed source software is driven by the harsh realities of the real world: namely, that people like to be compensated for their work. If I were to create a webserver that worked exactly the same as Apache (but developed it independently of Apache and never looked at the source) but sold it for a profit, does that somehow make it an inferior product where quality has taken a back seat to "making it work"? You're drawing a line between "good" software and "bad" software solely based on whether or not the source is open.

I think what a lot of Slashdotters forget about closed vs. open source software is that in most open source projects the number of significant contributors (i.e., people who do more than submit fixes for typos or very minor tweaks -- you know, the people who really drive the development) is roughly the same size as the number of team members on the average closed source project, meaning that roughly the same amount of work gets accomplished by both kinds of projects. Also, who's to say that closed source developers don't take any pride in their work? They're doing what they love to do -- code -- and they have a vested interest in doing a good job so they can continue to do things like, I don't know, feed their families and put a roof over their heads.

I think, as usual, I'm hearing the words of someone who hasn't worked on a closed source project before.

By their article, only long-term (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338405)

By their article, it seems to me that they are saying this only is the case long-term. In other words, the cutting edge of Linux is much rougher than the cutting edge of Windows or Adobe Photoshop; but in the end it works better and more reliably, because the programmers rework it forever until it just works well.

Open Source? More like Openly Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338240)

The Open Source movement, otherwise known as 'Free Software', has been a topic of considerable debate on the Internet's most controversial site. The majority of this debate has centered around the technical merits of the software, with the esteemed editors argueing against adopting Linux by employing the full depth of their considerable intellects, and the other side hurling death threats and similar invective. This has allowed many who would not otherwise receive quality information about Open Source software to be made aware of many of its ramifications, but one issue has been left alone: The overt racism that is deeply embedded in the movement.

Allow me to explain.

Alan Cox; Richard Stallman; Bruce Perens; Wichert Akkerman; Miguel DeIcaza.

What do you see in this list of names? Are there any African-Americans on it? Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a self-respecting black person would have! No Maurice, no Luther, no Lil' Kim. There are many other lists such as this, you can see one here. Flip through each page, do you see anything other than white faces? Of course you don't, because Open Source and its adherents are ardent racists and they absolutely forbid access to the sacred 'kernel' by any person of color.

Lets look at another list, this time a compendium of the companies using Linux. Are there any black owned companies on that list? Nooooooo. How about these companies? They all have something to do with Open Source software, any of them owned by an African-American? No again. Here is an extensive collection of photographs from a LUG (Linux User Gathering) meeting, more can be viewed at that link. What is odd about these pictures, and every other photograph I have ever seen of a LUG meeting, is that there is not one single black person to be seen, and probably none for miles.

More racist overtones can be found by examining the language of Open Source. They often refer to 'white hat' hackers. These 'white hats' scurry about the Internet doing good, but illegal, acts for their fellow man. In stark contrast we find the 'black hat' hackers. They destroy the good works of others by breaking into systems, stealing data, and generally causing havoc. These two terms reflect the mindset of most Linux developers. White means good, black means bad. Anywhere there is black, there is uncontrollable destruction and lawlessness. Looking further we see black lists that inform other users of 'bad' hardware, Samba, an obvious play on the much hated Little Black Sambo book, Mandrake, which I won't explain except to say that the French are notorious racists. This type is linguistic discrimination is widespread throughout the Open Source culture, lampooned by many of its more popular sites.

It is also a fact that all Unix 'distros' contain a plethora of racist commands with not so hidden symbolism.

It can hardly be coincidence that the prime operating system of choice of the 'open source supremacists' - Linux, features commands which are poorly disguised racist acronyms. For example: 'awk' (All White Klan) , 'sed' (shoot nEgroes dead), 'ln' (lynch negroes), 'rpm' (raical purity mandatory), 'bash' (bring a slave home), 'ps' (persecute sambo), 'mount' (murder or unseat nubians today), 'fsck' (favored supreme Christian klan). I could go on and on about the latent racist symbolism in Linux, but I fear it would take weeks to enumerate every incidence.

Is there a single unix command out there that does not have some hidden racist connotation ? Suffice it to say that the racism pervades Linux like a particularly bad smell. Can you imagine the effect of running such a racist operating system on the impressionable mind ? I don't have to remind you that transmitting subliminal messages is banned in the USA, and yet here we have an operating system that appears to be one enormous submliminal ad for the Klan!

One of the few selling points of Open Source software is that it is available in many different languages. Browsing through the list I see that absolutely none are offered in Swahili, nor Ebonics. Obviously this is done to prevent black people from having access to the kernel. If it weren't for the fact that racism is so blatantly evil I would be impressed by the efforts these Open Sourcers have invested in keeping their little hobby lilly white. It even appears that they hate the Japanese, as some of these self proclaimed hackers defaced a web site with anti-Japanese slogans. Hell, these people even go all the way to Africa (South Africa mind you, better known as White Africa) and the pictures prove that they don't even get close to a black person.

Of course, presenting overwhelming evidence such as this is a bit unfair without some attempt to determine why these Open Sourcers are so racist. Much of the evidence I have collected indicates that their views are so deeply held that they are seldom questioned by the new recruits. This, coupled with the robot-like groupthink that dominates the culture allows the racist mindset to continue to permeate the ranks. Indeed, the Open Source version of a Klan rally, OSDN (known to the world as Open Source Developer's Network, known to insiders as Open Source Denies Negroes) nearly stands up and shouts its racist views on its demographics page. It doesn't mention the black man one single time. Obviously, anyone involved with Open Source doesn't need to be told that the demographic is entirely white, it is a given.

I have a sneaking suspicion as to why their beliefs are so closely held: they are all terrible athletes.

Really. Much like the tragedy at Columbine High School, where two geeks went on a rampage to get back at 'jocks', these adult geeks still bear the emotional scars inflicted upon them due to their lack of athletic ability during their teen years. As African-Americans are well known for their athletic skills, they are an obvious target for the Open Source geeks. As we all know, sports builds character, thus it follows that the lack of sports destroys character. These geeks, locked away in their rooms, munching on stale pizza and Fritos, engage in no character building activities. Further, they interact only with computers and never develop the level of social skill that allows normal people to handle relationships with persons of color.

Contrasted with the closed source, non-geeky software house Microsoft, Open Source has a long, long way to go.

Re:Open Source? More like Openly Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Farnite (670426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338259)

Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a self-respecting black person would have!

How about, "African American".

How about diluted? (1)

rasafras (637995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338256)

I agree, in some cases it may become more refined. However, I would imagine that in many cases, for large projects, large numbers of people working independently could dilute it. The project may gain un-needed features and all sorts of quirks. In an organized company, however, people know their place and what they have to do, and not fool around.

Games could be an example. I haven't seen many open source games succeed in a large way, or at least big games requiring many people to work on. I think open source does get refined when worked on by small groups of good coders who are constantly communicating, but too many cooks spoil the stew.

The biggest factor (1)

znaps (470170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338271)

Closed source applications tend to follow the traditional model of aggressive release schedules. With coders struggling to hit these deadlines we see the quality of code going down because of the tendency to produce a quick fix for features.

Open source code tends to get released 'when it's ready', removing the deadline pressures from coders, leaving them to write more elegant, bug-free code.

Human vs. automatic code inspection (4, Informative)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338276)

If I read the Datasheet [reasoning.com] for the automatic code inspector there is a funny example. They find a memory leak in their example. I had a quick code review and found the following bugs:

27 fspec=malloc(strlen(dir) + 2 + 1);
28 strcpy(filespec, dir);
30 if ((ix = strlen (fspec) ....

First of all it looks like line 29 is disappeared, but maybe it was just whitespace. Looking at the code above show me that the strlen function is called with the pointer returned by the malloc in line 27. That's great, since strlen is looking for the "null termination byte" in the string it will return the position of whatever random zero byte will be next in the allocated memory because nobody was writing anything to the allocated space. I suspect, that line 28 should refer to "fspec" instead of "filespec" but since the program obviously compiled it can also be that filespec is a valid global identifier.

Anyway, this simple example from them shows, that their automatic tool doesn't find all bugs and so the numbers returned can be just a sort of wild guess. BTW: I would really like to know what their code inspection tool will report if they use it on their own code inspection software. :-)

Re:Human vs. automatic code inspection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338311)

strlen is looking for the "null termination byte" in the string it will return the position of whatever random zero byte will be next in the allocated memory because nobody was writing anything to the allocated space

strlen does not return a position, it returns a length. What you are trying to say is that strlen will return a random value because it is being called on an invalid pointer.

Re:Human vs. automatic code inspection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338494)

Oh lord, out come the coding gods...

The parent poster is right. strlen won't return a random value, it will return the position of the next null char measured from the start of the invalid pointer. So...pointer starts at location 100, next null char happens to be at 108, strlen returns 8.

What you are trying to say is ...

A person who noticed that bug is pretty much able to express things for themselves regarding the behaviour of strlen, I think.

Would have to agree (1)

rfreynol (169522) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338280)

As a consultant, I've seen MORE than my share of crappy code written by client IT staff over the years. And after a couple of stints working on commerical projects, its often the case as well (but not quite as bad). One execption was code for a CAD application I happen to get a change to review at a previous employeer - very clean.

Of course, the biggest example of this can be see by reviewing the first release of the Netscape code. :)

Thanks for the USELESS post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338325)

Don't let the fact that you have nothing to say, stop you from saying it anyway.

Re:Would have to agree (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338400)

s a consultant, I've seen MORE than my share of crappy code written by client IT staff over the years.

It exists. I've worked on some. I'd like to think I haven't produced any, but then - everyone likes to think they're perfect, don't they? Probably I have.

However, a large amount of the open source stuff is frankly crap as well. Just compile the kernel for example - watch the warnings come pouring out.

I believe bug reporting to be more important than philosophical origin. For example, a while ago I wrote some Mac freeware for System 7 (over here [eruvia.org] if you're interested). v1.0 was purely for me, it worked on my environment and sticking it out on the web for download was purely an afterthought on my part.

It was taken up enthusiastically, to my utter shock, and then the bug reports and feature requests started rolling in. I decided to clean things up immensely, stuck out v2.0 (extra funcionality justified the major rev. number). Although drastically better than v1.0, funnily enough this wasn't software nirvana either and so the bug reports started arriving for that too. Obscure stuff - "it doesn't work on a Mac Plus in Japan? Huh? ...ahh, yes. Sorry about that - fixed now.". And so v2.0.1 and so on.

Note that at no stage was the source open. It still isn't, and never will be as annoyingly I've lost a rather crucial file (TRandomFile.cpp...for a file randomiser. Oops.). However, it improved in leaps and bounds due to the amount of feedback received. I don't then believe the closed source/open source-better thing. I believe it depends on interest, feedback and attitude of the person or group doing the coding.

Cheers,
Ian

My electric kool-aid acid test: 'pwd' (5, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338284)

My textbook example of this is comparing gnu 'pwd' with commercial Unice's 'pwd'.

I can get most commercial Unix's to core dump by running 'pwd' in the right circumstance. Yes, that's right. A command that takes no arguments and reads nothing from standard input core dumps in the correct circumstance. The circumstance is usually just being in a directory whose path name is several hundred thousand characters long, but some will crash if you set the environment variables right and it looks at them for something having to do with POSIX compliance. I don't know what POSIX compliance should have to do with pwd but then again I'm just a dummy.

OTOH I have never been able to get GNU 'pwd' to dump core.

What does this mean in the big picture? That after many man-years of intensive effort you can write a robust piece of code that takes no input or command-line arguments :-)

Sorta (1)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338289)

The comparable defect rate indicates that open-source software starts out as raw as proprietary software, but Reasoning said that ultimately open-source software has the potential to exceed proprietary software.

For some value of "starting out" and "open source software", I think everybody can agree with this. The average open-source project starts out as a lone coder with a pet project - it stands to reason it will improve significantly when other coders (with varying experience in various areas) jump on board. That's not even addressing the fact that it's "survival of the fittest" - poor-quality open-source projects simply get dropped for higher-quality ones.

As an example, the average English-speaking coder, no matter how experienced, could write a killer text editor, but be completely oblivious to i18n issues or Unicode - this changes when, say, a German patches it to be more friendly to him. Maturity counts.

But Apache isn't in that boat - it's considered to be mature. Which version were they studying? "A newer version" could be the latest 2.0 or 1.3 release. The 2.0 release still isn't benefitting as much as it could from the bazaar model - most people are still on the 1.3 tree.

Re:Sorta (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338505)

But Apache isn't in that boat - it's considered to be mature. Which version were they studying?

Don't laugh. They studied apache 2.1 [reasoning.com] .

IOW. an open source product tagged alpha is comparable to a typical closed source product.

Apache !? (1)

originalLackey (596264) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338299)

Apche 2.* has been available for over a year, and its crap. It is a major step backwards from the 1.3.* baseline. Apparently this is just another pro-open source anti-proprietary article. NOTE: if the statement in this article were true, then they wouldn't need aticles likt this one.

Too beautiful (1)

aaronlev (685856) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338302)

Sometimes code is critiqued too much, and made into the ends instead of the means.

Yes, the code becomes more and more beautiful -- but sometimes engineers become obsessed with the code itself and forget about other important things, like ... the user.

Putting oneself into the user's mindset while you write can be more important than having perfectly written code. Otherwise it all becomes an academic exercise, something to stroke the coder's ego.

It's ego stroke (3, Insightful)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338312)

The reason OS software is good is because when people publish OS software they know thousands of experienced geeks will be perusing their code, and they don't want to look bad.

This is a powerful motiviation.

Re:It's ego stroke (1)

cREW oNE (445594) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338451)

This is only true for the largest and most used OSS projects. I doubt "thousands of experienced geeks" will look at the many, many small OSS projects on freshmeat or sourceforge.

Development methodologies (2, Interesting)

Chalst (57653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338315)

It would be interesting to see if outliers in terms of code quality follow different development methodologies than the median projects. Eg. does Twisted Python's much vaunted attachment to extreme programming make a difference?

Another thought along these lines is: perhaps the projects that fail often fail due to project management (in the most Bazaar sense of the word), rather than the usually heard competing time pressures, personality conflicts, loss of interest, and so on.

is so...is not (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338319)

If code is 'c l o s e d'...you can't read it to know if it is cleaner or not...if you can read it, then it is 'o p e n '...now get away from my desk so I can work.

"How many times do I haf to tell you...if you don't want to take my word as proof that the light goes out when you close the refridgerator door, yer just gonna hafta climb in there and let me close the door so you can find our fer yerself!"

How do you tell the difference between an open wound and a closed wound? - stiches....

Close the door...but, Boss, it's not open....it will be when you leave, so close it after you get the hell out of my office! Enough with this open code/closed code crap already.

Open vs. Closed (2, Insightful)

ad0le (684017) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338330)

I have worked in the software industry for 5 years now and I tend to disagree with this articles view. Many closed source projects have horrid code that can be hidden by a "Closed" or "Proprietary" label. Open source is exactly that, "Open" therefore people who write the code automatically have "Big Brother" watching over them. Your coding practices is a direct view of your knowledge of the language and I know for personal experience that the open source code I have written was much better tested and reviewed then MOST of the code I have written for contractors.

Open-source software development methodology (2, Informative)

Bagsy (176584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338345)

This is a M.Sc paper [ludd.luth.se] that tries to explain how the open source development is working. It's an interesting read.

The worst form of marketing (5, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338346)

These OSS vs CSS comparsions are just the dumbest things ever. How can you take a couple of OSS programs and compare them to a couple of CSS and come to ANY conclusions? I've worked in places that have had GREAT code, the developers had a clue, and they had reasonable process (given the usual capitalist based time constraints). Then again I've been in places where the code is crap, the process is broken, and mgmt doesn't have the first clue. Now which view of CSS is this co. going to take, well I'd assume they'd use whichever one will make the outcome the way they want it to be.

Fact is that they are looking at nothing but process and demographics. When you look at "bigger" OSS projects, then you'll notice a couple of things. They have a tendency to have their act together, because the project has been around and therefore has had time to get it's process together. Imagine an OSS project that had no clear "leader" or "leaders". One where anyone was allowed to check in code with review. What would you end up with, CRAP. Now imagine a CSS that had regular code reviews, where developers actually unit tested their code, and where QA depts had their act together and had good test plans. Assuming a decent level of developer skill, you'd probably have a decent product. The the quality of the product is based purely on the process's put in place to ensure that quality.

BTW, if I see one more post about "many eyes", I'm going to puke (oops, too late). Those who write that pie in the sky crap don't really seem to have a clue about any real development. Sure it CAN be true, but I highly doubt it typically is. If that was the case, if the "magic" of OSS were so clear cut, then damn, OSS should be as close to bug free as is attainable, which OBVIOUSLY is not the case. You work on some code, you get it to work, you move on, period. OSS, CSS same thing. Someone else probably isn't going to bother with it unless it is A) broken B) too slow C) needs a new feature.

MS source code (2, Interesting)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338347)

I'm sure I've read here, and more than once, that people who have seen Windows source code (I believe many universities have access?) have generally described it as being very good.

Hard to find references to it though - try searching /. for "Microsoft source code quality" :)

Anyone got a pointer?

Re:MS source code (1)

shish (588640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338480)

Pointers? I thought windows was done in VB!

And is this "good quality" in comparison to other professional code or what the uni students themselves can do?

Another explanation (2, Insightful)

Chalst (57653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338352)

Another explanation as to why open source might start out worse than closed source is Linus' "Release early, release often" maxim. It's meant to get the widest class of feedback as early in the development cycle as possible, but of course it bumps up the defect rate in early releases.

Again, it would be interesting to see how open source projects that follow this maxim compare to ones that don't.

Real scientific work (1)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338388)

From their whitepaper:

This false positive problem is quite severe in ASI tools and typically exeeds 50 false positives for each true positive.

In other words they compare 2 numbers which are generated by a process that has an accuracy of less than 2 percent and then they draw their conclusions out of that. Wow! Looks to me like a real scientist's nightmare.

Apache 2.1 is still in development (1)

presroi (657709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338394)

Remember 2.0? It became "stable" in 2.0.twentysomething, iirc.

So this company is competing a development state open source software against "stabele" commercial software - and it's almost the same (did they ever hear about "Standardfehler" - how do you call them: Standard deviation?)

Actually, this "result" is an advertisement for Apache, if any.

P.S.
One http-server I'd trust is fnord [www.fefe.de] . Last time it was featured on /., it didn't get slashdotted..

Scientific demonstrations ? (1)

Kartoch (38254) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338398)

It's funny, because two researchers of the Oxford University have just "demonstrated", than open source is better than closed source. More exactly, with a mathematic model, they have "proved" that the debug is more efficient with open source, because of the information freelay available...

Two URLs: the preprint article http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0306511 and a resume in the nature website: http://www.nature.com/nsu/030623/030623-6.html

Bigger than just the source base quality... (1)

custard.tart (454495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338428)

Having worked with quite a few open and closed source software products of various kinds I'd say that there are more important things than mere code quality. In my opinion documentation and support of the software are as important in saving raw man hours, and here's the rub. It is certainly my recent experiance that open source software is better supported and documented by it's developers (who do it to have pride in what they do, not for the pay cheque) in general than most propriatry products. Quite paradoxical really as most peoples fears of open source software are based upon their belief that this is what is lacking.

It's about project management skill, not openness (1)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338452)

Open source project getting better and better, but at some point original founder go away and new developper coming in, then code quality drops again. It's not different from closed-source. Why successful OSS projects are successful? Because they are successful, nothing to learn from that.

Example: TCL Source (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338454)

As an example of very nice open source code, take a look at the TCL source code. IMHO, it is almost a work of art. Uniform block comments describing each function, perfect mixture of block and inline comments -- block comments to tell you what each major section does, in-line comments at a few key points so you don't get lost.

As a counter-example, there is some very, very bad Java code that I have seen recently. 5000 line classes, hardcoded database locations, total confusion about connection caching. I was supposed to fix some bugs while the developer was on vacation. It took me two weeks just to figure out where the problem was!

I think if you know your peers are going to see your code, you put the extra effort into it, hoping someone else will say "Nice Job". (I think that is one of the reasons engineering in general is such a great job. You KNOW you've done a good job because a) it works and b) your peers say so.)

-- ac at work

Software quality (1, Insightful)

presroi (657709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338471)

so
#include <stdio.h>

void main(void)
{
char *message[] = {"Hello ", "World"};
int i;
for(i = 0; i < 2; ++i)
printf("%s", message[i]);
printf("\n");
}
is free from errors. The Ratio of errors / lines is 0.

Am I now a zillion times better than Apache with those lousy 0,5 errors per demimillion lines?

quality == early releases (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338512)

It all comes down to how early the people start using the software in question. It does not matter how "good" QA and testing is - the real bugs are discovered by real users.
In case of closed-source, company cannot be honest about the soft they release - "look, this is only 2.0 version, it is still buggy and runs slower on Tuesdays". They still release it and hope to strike balance between fixing the bugs and having too many pissedoff customers.
For open source, there is no room for deception. It is completely normal and customary to have shakey first releases. Community understands that as the author gets feedback, patches and help, quality will grow. It has nowhere else to go but up.
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