Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Freeware Jet Engines Dangerous: Does free software imply low quality results?

In a recent NY Times article on the R data analysis language Anne H. Milley implied that her personal happiness stems from quality of jet engines that can only be achieved through the use of commercial software.

If I were in Ms. Milley's position I too would be happy if people were paying to use my product. What does not particularly matter to me is the cost of software which is used to design those engines. What I truly care about is the quality of the engineering, construction and validation procedures. In any case as a passenger I am unsure how I can determine if the equipment I am flying on was designed using free software or not. I will have to settle for being happy if my flight is on time, security lines are short and I get home to see my wife.

“I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”

[From R, the Software, Finds Fans in Data Analysts -]

Given the implication that happiness, value and quality are only available for products designed using commercial software; I find myself retroactively saddened by all of the things that I have seen which were designed before commercial software packages were available. I would like to thank Ms. Milley for sucking the joy out of my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment