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Innovation

Open source can be recycled

The idea of re-use seldom comes up in discussions of open source, but perhaps it should.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

I was reading a GCN story about the Defense Department and open source today, and getting bored, when something jumped out at me.

 “The business model of purchasing physical goods and services has served DOD well in the past; but it falls short when applied to software acquisition,” the report concluded.


Currently, software code is rarely reused, the report noted.

The idea of reuse seldom comes up in discussions of open source, but perhaps it should. When you buy a proprietary product for your enterprise, you use it for its purpose and, when that purpose is done, it goes in the trash bin. Maybe it was written for a Pentium I and you're now running a Pentium 4. Maybe you have outgrown it and just need more functionality.

Whatever, I've tossed more software than I care to think about over the years. Good software, functioning software.

But with open source, you have the capacity (if you can do it yourself or find someone else who will do it) to lift what you like about an old program and stitch it together with a new one. Code isn't lost. It's reused.

This may be best-hidden advantage open source has. It can be recycled.

Have you recycled any lately?

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