jeudi 2 juin 2011

Open Source and Originality

Last week, a lot of people (including Pierre, Thierry and myself) attended the CP-AI-OR Conference in Berlin.
We had some discussions about a paper implementing Goal programming in an open source solver. I wondered what was the scientific contribution and I asked the question. In fact, the authors were not really able to answer to my question. It was a presentation associated with an abstract, thus I think that it is not really important. 

I am more interested in one argument that has been answered: "there is a scientific contribution because this is new for open-source". We discussed about this point. Here are some remarks. I am curious to know if you have some others:

First, it means that all existing "proprietary" stuff has absolutely no value because it is not open-source! This is a strange conception of the originality. I also wonder why the open-source has several licences which forbid to reproduce the open source concept or code (because rewritten is not equivalent to originality)... 

Then, some people suggested that the minimum of honesty  should be to present the ideas in that way:
"Hello all, I am going to present an implementation in my open source solver of some works that has been carried out in several non open source solvers. In addition, you need to know that these ideas was clearly documented in the other products. Therefore, our job was mainly to  integrate these works in our open source product"

I think it is an interesting point of view. However, I guess that it will be more complex to have a paper accepted with such an introduction.

At last, note that it is not mandatory to publish papers...

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