OSS is about access to the code

I have a kind of a fetish – the idea that source code, even old or extremely specific for a single use, may be useful for a long time. Not only for porting to some other, strange platform, but for issues like prior art in software patents, for getting inspiration for techniques or simply because you don’t know when it may be of use. For this reason, I try to create public access archives of source code I manage to get my hands on, especially when such codes may require a written license to acquire, but may then later be redistributed.

Up to now, I have prepared public archives of the following projects:

DOD OSCMIS: a very large web-based application (more than half a GB of code), created by the Defense Information Systems Agency of the US Department of Defense, and currently in use and supporting 16000 users (including some in critical areas of the world, like a tactical site in Iraq). I wrote a description here, and the source code was requested in writing during 2009. I am indebted to Richard Nelson, the real hero of such a great effort, for creating such a large scale release, that I hope will spur additional interest and contributions. I believe that I’m the only European licensee, up to now :-) The source code is available at the SourceForge mirror: http://sourceforge.net/projects/disa-oscimis/

NASA CODES: One of my oldest collection-and recovered by pure chance. Many years ago, we used to order CDs with source code on it (would you imagine it? How victorian…) since downloading them through our 14.4KBaud modems would have required too much time. So I ordered the Walnut Creek CD archive of the NASA COSMIC source code archive, a collection of public domain codes (mostly in Fortran) for things like “Aeroelastic Analysis for Rotorcraft in Flight or in a Wind Tunnel”. They are mostly obsolete, but since COSMIC was turned into a money-making enterprise that requires quite a substantial amount of money, I enjoy the idea of providing an access to the original codes.  The entire list of software descriptions is available here, and the codes are browsable at http://code.google.com/p/nasa-cosmic/source/browse/#svn/trunk.

Symbian: Ah, symbian. I already wrote about the high and lows of the Symbian OSS project, and since Nokia plans to shut down everything and make the source code accessible only through a direct request for an USB key or DVD, I though that an internet accessible archive would have been more… modern. It is a substantial, massive archive – I had to drop all Mercurial additions to make it fit in the space I had available, and still it amounts to 6.1Gb, Bzip-compressed. It is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/symbiandump/files/.

I have performed no modifications or changes on the source code, and it remains under its original licenses. I hope that it may be useful for others, or at least become a nice historical artifact.

  1. #1 by Atrawog - April 6th, 2011 at 10:37

    What’s often forgotten is that putting a program under an OpenSource license isn’t of much use if all the libraries and compilers it depends an aren’t freely available too.

    It took Mozilla years to get rid of all proprietary parts and turn the Netscape Communicator into the Firefox browser we know today.

    Symbian was more or less dead on arrival, because without a commercial ARM compiler you couldn’t use a single line of code. The Symbian Foundation was planing to change that, but was to short lived to actually implement it.

(will not be published)