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Stob latest: It was a cunning trick, says Open University

Pull the other one

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Perhaps sensing a PR disaster, the Open University's Communications Director Derek Prior got in touch.

The new explanation? It had been a trap for the unwary, he told us. In order to develop student's critical faculties, bad papers may be deliberately set. These papers may include gobbledygook, or meaningless phrases.

"If you telegraphed ahead that it was a rotten paper, it would not be a critical exercise."

Stob's reaction, he said, had been "exemplary", and the student had evidently tried to understand it from every which way.

Mr Prior told us he’d seen the marking guide from 2006 which noted that the splog paper referenced its own research material. No word of the tutors' views on its comprehensibility or plausibility.

Mr Prior was emphatic: The question required them to be critical of the paper.

Here’s the question again:


Question 2 (15 marks)

Read the following article which you can access from the Reader section of the M885 course website: Open Source Reuse in Commercial Firms, T.R. Madanmohan and Rahul De’, IEEE Software, vol. 21, no. 6, Nov.–Dec. 2004,

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/iel5/52/29730/01353225. pdf?tp=&arnumber=1353225&isnumber=29730

Open source software is always software released under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) certified licence. Each of the licences approved by the OSI meets the conditions of the Open Source Definition [http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.html]. That definition includes 10 criteria. Perhaps the most important of these are the free redistribution of the software, access to the source code, and the permission to allow modifications to the software and derived works that may be distributed under the same licensing conditions:

http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/opensourcesoftware.xml

Open Source raises interesting issues. This paper looks at the integration of open source components in commercial applications.

1 Suggest some open source software drawbacks when compared to commercial software development. [3]

2 The paper presents five critical issues for the reuse of open source components. Briefly discuss each of them. [12]

Note that the article mentions COTS, which means Commercial Off The Shelf. This term refers to software or hardware products that are ready-made and available for sale, lease, or license to the general public.


Except, as you can see, it didn’t.

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Next page: Loose ends

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