Open Source SAS® Software Applications: the OS3A Program for Community Programming
Paul OldenKamp, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA Paul D. Hamilton, Amgen Corporation, Seattle, WA, USA Dante diTommaso, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland Ann Marie Martin, UCB Pharma, Braine l’Alleud, Belgium
The Web ‘changes everything’!! We are entering a new paradigm of worldwide collaboration in scientific, educational and economic activity based on a large decrease in communication costs created by the Internet. This will change how we write programs in the future. The paradigm shift has made possible new methods of Open Source software development and distribution. Can SAS® software users take advantage of the opportunities?
How could this Open Source model ever work? At first glance, the Open Source model should fail as an example of the free rider problem of classic economics. The adverse incentives can be explained with a “programmers’ dilemma” analysis in game theory. The Open Source licenses have conditions that overcome the free rider problem based on the principles of the Open Source Initiative.
As a practical matter, the facilities provided by several sites supporting Open Source projects and the practices developed by the many Open Source projects over the past 15 years are key in generating cooperative peer production by software application developers.
Several authors have created a library of books and articles that present their vision of a new environment for software development based on community peer production. We will survey several references to provide the reader with motivation for the Open Source movement. There is a growing collection of economic theory and analysis of the legal and organizational characteristics that overcome the traditional public goods/free rider market failure conclusions. We will discuss the practical techniques used by Open Source projects and the specific implementation of an Open Source project for developing SAS applications. Finally we consider future directions for SAS developers interested in Open Source participation.
THE WEB ‘CHANGES EVERYTHING !!!
The Internet has created dramatic decreases in the cost of communications and has made possible revolutionary new models of economic activity in the information economy. This revolution is occurring in many domains from political affairs and scientific research to peer production and consumer/producer firms. For SAS users, the Open Source revolution will provide new complimentary systems to be used with SAS Software. Methods of collaborative development and the exchange of programs through the Internet will open up new efficiencies in our work.
Below we will summarize a few of the sources that present these visionary projections. Some of these authors describe a broad transformation of society and economic production. Other authors focus more narrowly on the Open Source code programming of computer systems that is closer to our own work.
OPEN SOURCE TECHNOLOGY AND POLICY: SOFTWARE COMMODITIZATION – Fadi Deek and James McHugh
“The open source movement is a worldwide attempt to promote an open style of software development more aligned with the accepted intellectual style of science than the proprietary modes of invention that have been characteristic of modern business. The idea – or vision – is to keep the scientific advances created by software development openly available for everyone to understand and improve upon. Perhaps even more so than in the conventional scientific paradigm, the very process of creation in open source is highly transparent throughout. Its products and processes can be continuously, almost instantaneously scrutinized over the Internet, even retrospectively. Its peer review process is even more open than that of traditional science. But most of all: its discoveries are not kept secret and it lets anyone, anywhere, anytime free to build on its discoveries and creations.” (Deek and McHugh, p. 1)