[nycphp-talk] Finishing with the open-versus source debate.

Ted Shieh liquidm3 at
Sun Jun 23 17:59:18 EDT 2002


That's great that you have written so much open source code.  But it's not 
clear to me where on the web I could go to view and download it. would seem to me to be a natural place where you 
could place your open source code, as coding samples for potential clients 
to examine.  Many clients lack the necessary background to evaluate code 
quality, but sometimes clients do have a technical background, or at least a 
team member with a technical background.  Even if the code is in Smalltalk, 
I'd think it would be a plus for potential clients to have a chance to 
evaluate your understanding of algorithms and OOP.


>From: charles at
>Reply-To: talk at
>To: NYPHP Talk <talk at>
>Subject: [nycphp-talk] Finishing with the open-versus source debate.
>Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 00:27:34 -0400
>you bring about a very good point.
>What have WE done for or with open source. What is the measure of our
>If we can ever get the project to the next step, I hope to provide a
>sound O-O footing for OpenBiblio.
>Some history:
>I also hope to provide some enhancements to phpwiki with some dialog
>and transaction processing and state machine/transition engine
>When I started in Smalltalk in the late eighties until the late
>nineties when Digitalk found a way hide the source code ALL my code
>was open source. Smalltalk products didn't ship as anything BUT
>because they have to be integrated into an image file which the VM
>then loads and runs with.
>This led to some tighter and neater code. You KNEW everybody would be
>seeing it.
>Code I wrote that was used in a course I tried to give on Compuserve.
>That was simply too early in my own evolution and in Smalltalk's
>acceptance (more the failure thereof,) to get widely used or
>Code I wrote for converting TIFF and GIF images to/from images that
>were internal to Smalltalk.
>Code I wrote for convolving images (edge detection, shade smoothing,
>contrast enhancing and other image manipulation code,) was all open
>Code I developped for the Government of Canada (expert systems,
>expert applications, some in Smalltalk and some using "standard"
>expert system shells a.k.a. inference engines.)
>Code I wrote for and wrote about in Smalltalk report, Byte Magazine,
>Computer Language Magazine, AI Expert.
>Code I wrote for various other projects was all open source and the
>client got the source along with the product.
>Actually, it wasn't until I hit the United States in '95 that people
>began locking up my code and tying my tongue with confidentiality
>agreements. That's also when I started seeing code that was
>inexcusably lousy, amateurish and fragile.
>The project's I had worked on before had had some pretty poor code
>but nothing so universaly lousy as what was being developped and
>"shirk"-wrapped for general consumption. I'm ashamed of some of the
>comments I have written and read in commercial code or that the code
>itself was so sloppy.
>When I was working in Montreal in 1984, I had to maintain an
>accounting package written by McCormack and Dodge. It was in COBOL
>and we had the source code. We'd find and fix bugs and submit them
>for inclusion into the package and our efforts were apppreciated and
>In fact, NOBODY who's going to lay out significant money ($100k+) for
>software is NOT going to get the source code. Its NOT happening. You
>may have to sign non-competition agreements but you're getting the
>source code or they're NOT making the sale.
>Likewise, you're NOT getting code on a mainframe unless you have the
>source code and it gets subjected to "code efficiency" peer-review,
>process "weight" aanlysis for performance metrics and capacity
>planning, data base access method (DBAM) review and a complete
>security audit. Your code is not getting installed unless they can
>compile the source with their own compilers. Its NOT happening.
>We in the PC arena seem to have problems and issues that were solved
>decades ago on mainframes. Its only the PC arena which refuses to
>listen and arrogantly assumes that nothing will go wrong with the
>code when all evidence gathered from all experience in everything
>else is that "Shit Happens!"
>The help desk advice of "re-install and retry" would get you a ticket
>on a bus in a mainframe shop.
>Some MORE history:
>Closed-source did not exist at all as a concept until a whiney Bill
>Gates published something in Byte magazine in the mid-to-late
>seventies. Aactually, he bought an ad, ranting that people were
>ripping off his BASIC interpreter (that he himself had ripped off
>without paying royalties of acknowledging the originators) and it was
>costing him money in lost sales. That's who closed source has been
>good to. He's worth hundred's of billions of dollars and you're worth
>Closed source doesn't exist except on PCs. ("Big Iron" get the source
>and compiles it with its own trusted compilers in a series of
>development, test, QA, Integration and, finally, production
>Its called trying to sell me a pig-in-a-poke and it ain't happening.
>It shouldn't happen to anybody.

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