[linux-elitists] Closed Source Tests damage careers, schoolchildren

Ron Guerin ron@vnetworx.net
Mon May 21 15:24:27 PDT 2001

On Mon, May 21, 2001 at 05:44:01PM -0400, Bulent Murtezaoglu wrote:
> >>>>> "SL" == Ron Guerin <ron@vnetworx.net> quoting slashdot:
>     SL> [... horror story ...]  It's a fascinating
>     SL> story of the risks of going with a closed source vendor - how
>     SL> the company acts to perform damage control, lies, stalls,
>     SL> compartmentalizes the damage by telling each complainer that
>     SL> they are the only one experiencing problems, [...]
> I do not like the way this is presented.  Inept school administration
> and a clearly dishonest vendor might be a dangerous combination, but
> the same could have happened with the same inept administrators and 
> a dishonest consulting house deploying open-source solutions.  This 
> is a risk of being stupid and doing business with crooks, it is not 
> a risk of going with a close source vendor.  Just IMHO, but I am
> irritated enough to respond.  Comments?  How am I wrong?

"A post-mortem of how this error spread unimpeded for so long lays bare
a basic truth of standardized testing: school districts lack the ability
to uncover serious testing errors on their own, and must rely on the
testing companies to do so voluntarily."

The only place I think you're wrong, is that it's not a risk related
to closed-source.  While you can certainly find an inept open source
vendor, you can examine the source to verify errors, or get them
fixed.  When using a closed-source vendor, the risks you take by
using their code are far greater.  You cannot examine the
code, meaning you have no way to see the actual error in the code
(or have someone else examine it for you), or have it fixed.
You're completely at the mercy of the closed-source vendor.
This would not be the case with open source.


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