[Wolves] FOSS, who's it for? Us or them?

Andy Wootton andy.wootton at wyrley.demon.co.uk
Sat Sep 20 16:37:44 UTC 2008

Peter Evans wrote:
> On Tuesday 16 September 2008 11:46:42 Kevanf1 wrote:
>> Linux has free
>> access to tis code and the way it all works.  Microsoft does not so
>> surely it has to be harder task?  Or am I missing something?  I stand
>> (well, I'm sitting actually) to be enlightened.
> twopenneth...
> A lecturer of mine from last year was looking into the IPSec implementations 
> in various OS.
> His comment on looking at two flavours of code - Linux was generally a mess, 
> uncommented, undisciplined and very difficult to follow.
> Open Solaris just after it was released by Sun.  Well laid out, commentled 
> well and documented 'properly'.
That isn't a difference between free and commercial though. It's the 
difference between a bad and a good programmer. In theory the free code 
should annoy enough good programmers that it will either be repaired or 
> >From a programmers point of view - if the API's are well documented you don't 
> *have to* know what's going on beneath the surface.  Getting access to what's 
> beneath the covers becomes important if the API doesn't work.
I'd go further and say you shouldn't use any knowledge of what's going 
on below the water-line. The concept of modularity depends on the API 
being the only place the 2 lumps of code touch. Then either can be 
changed without affecting the other as long as the API is not changed.

If "the API doesn't work" then you modify the underlying code so it 
does. You don't ignore the broken API and hook into something more 
solid. Some believe this is quicker. They are wrong - eventually!
> Just because the source code's available doesn't actually make it easier to 
> work with.
Unless it's the only documentation available :-)

Woo (who was a programmer when dinosaurs roamed the earth but has 
forgotten how)

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