What If We?...


The Open Source Dilemma:

  • A group's technology is contained in the source code of their product.

  • Not all open-source products can be offered free-of-charge.

  • User modification can void any required product certifications.

  • Not all users have the best interest of the product or developers in mind.

An Interesting example of this dilemma is the Security Enhanced Linux Operating System (SELinux) being developed by Red-Hat and NSA:

  • The technology of SELinux will be documented in its source code.

  • The user will bear the cost of developing, certifying and maintaining SELinux.

  • The Common-Criteria certification of SELinux can be voided by modification.

  • Some of the users may wish to defeat the protection provided by SELinux.

Sounds like some compromises to the idealism of Open Source have been made.

The What If We Programmable Software Development Environment (SPDE) can provide some interesting solutions to the Open  Source Dilemma:

  • A Group's technology is no longer contained exclusively in its product's source code.  It is also contained in the Software Kits and Software definition files used to prepare the source code.

  • The quantity of documentation contained in the source code can be controlled by a single command line parameter.  Documentation can be included during checkout and if necessary completely removed from the product delivered.

  • The quantity and content of the documentation can be tailored for particular  categories of users.    For example, not all users of SELinux are qualified to make maintenance modifications. These source code versions can be selected by a single SPDE  command line parameter.

Unfortunately, the idealism of Open Source is not always practical.  The SPDE can offer the developer with some measure of control over the level of documentation contained in the delivered software.

The next page in the web-site tour is DOCUMENT PREPARATION

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EMAIL:  robert.adams@whatifwe.com