Model Code for the OSD

Bjorn Reese breese at
Sun Jan 19 10:17:50 UTC 2003

David Johnson wrote:

> My opinion is that "deliberately obfuscated source code" should be decoupled
> from documentation. The quality and state of documentation is very
> subjective, and should not be a part of the OSD.

I have to agree with David. The documentation quality of the source
code is orthogonal to the availability of source code, and thus has
nothing to do with the OSD.

Trying to establish what documentation quality is, is difficult
in the first place.

Firstly, people differ in intelligence and experience, so what is
obfuscated to one person, may be obvious to another.

Secondly, should the quality be judge on the choice of human
language? For example, if a russian developer releases source
code with comments in Russian, can I claim that he is
deliberately obfuscating the source code? Can the russian
developer claim that all source code with English comments
are obfuscated to him?

Thirdly, the source code may implement algorithms or domain
knowledge that is inherently difficult to understand, and which
would require a book-sized explanation. Would it be considered
compliant with the OSD to refer to a (commercially available)
book? If not, how does the developer avoid infringing the
copyright of the book author while adhering to the suggested
OSD documentation requirements?

I am sure that there are other concerns as well; the above was
simply off the top of my head. I understand the good intentions
behind the proposal, but I definitely see it as a slippery slope.
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