Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Found one in a backup containing a backup - 1993 (Score 1) 375

I found some of my Modula 2 code from 1993 in an ancient zip file inside a tar.gz file. Unfortunately that code references files in the directory of an older version of that program from 1991ish which I don't have. I do have a load of files stranded on Amstrad 3 inch PCW disks. I wonder whether those work at all?

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 505

It's fine to give code to referees who want to see it under peer review. I have no problems with that.

If you release code more generally, you need to support it. You will get questions. If you don't answer them, your work will be brought into question. What's this thing about "working as advertised"? Scientific code is quite often written to be used for a short time on specific inputs on a specific computer system. It won't "work as advertised" without a lot of support and hand-holding.

By assumptions, I mean things such as filename standards, format of data, and so on. These aren't scientific assumptions, but assumptions of the code itself, so are different things.

And keeping code private isn't to stop people reproducing what you did, but to not allow others an advantage in an area you are working on.

Reproduction of results is about independent verification anyway, so they probably should be starting with the raw data and not working with an existing code.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 505

Fortunately my code isn't doing much - it's mostly simple scripts to automate various other software and a few basic models. I have released some of my more complex software and do an OSS project in my spare time.

The main problems with releasing code is having to support it. It takes a lot of time. Code often contains hard coded paths, assumptions and so on, which would need to be documented before it was safe for others to use. That just takes too much time for the average researcher. Also for code working in interesting areas, you need some time to have the code to yourself to exploit that area of research and not give others advantage.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 505

You're being unrealistic. As a scientist I'm payed to produce papers, not polish code. If the code does what I want it to do, and I'm satisfied that it is sufficiently unlikely to be problems with it on on the data I am putting into it, that is enough.

If you want me to write perfect code, you should pay me to do so, and hire people for scientific research on the basis of their code. Being hired as a scientist is based on results, not on how well documented the code is or checking every possible input. I'd love to have more time to do every possible test, but I cannot do that and have a career.

BTW, I have produced some code for others to use from my research, and it takes much longer to get it into a usable and documented state than the usual run of the mill script I write.

Slashdot Top Deals

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray