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usage of patented and closed source products in courses.

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  • Tzahi Fadida
    Hi all, I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered. the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily mutually exclusive: 1)
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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      Hi all,
      I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered.
      the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily mutually exclusive:
      1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
      2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
      3) patented technologies
      4) patented scientific methodologies

      1) closed source applications in theoretic courses are counter intuitive to its
      definition. i.e. when you do your hw or experiment using that application you
      cannot
      prove that the experiment or hw has succeded or failed due to source bugs or
      fallacy
      of the underlying algorithms.
      2) usage of that applications as a matter of fact is false when there are free
      solutions that can be extended to academic usage on these courses. just using
      them
      do not add anything to the academic experience. you can just read a book or a
      manual
      on how to use them.
      3) patented technologies means that whatever you learned in the course can only
      be
      used in the company that provided it or the company product that probably has to
      be
      bought to use it. i.e: there is no added benefit beside advertising a certain
      product by the lecture or TA that probably work for this company. in addition
      many
      times you will hear: "I am on NDA so i can't comment on that" so why teach if
      you
      can only deliver partail information!
      4) THESE ARE THE WORSE KINDS!: meaning you cannot reimplement the applications
      or use the methodologies that implement or extend them. i.e.: its not beneficial
      in the next 20 years or so depending on the patent and patent area, aside from
      the company who patented them or the product that implement them or a license.
      there are probably ways around this but why study the ways you cannot
      use/reimplement yourselve or making a thesis that could be used outside the
      scope of the patent.

      ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course called "intro
      to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA - event condition action.
      the lecturer and TA both work for IBM. the engine called AMIT is used to
      identify world and database events and repond to situations, and used in hw and
      exams. its a lot like the states model in UML but for events only. several
      techniques are patented and are being studied at this class. The main excuse for
      this product promotion is that the lecturer wants to teach us about new
      technologies that are about to come out. now, if i wanted to do that, i could
      open a gartner survey or a few companies brochurs.
      This course is considered mandatory to MSC students and thus cannot a avoid it.

      Summary: is the technion:
      a) a software engineering school.
      b) a college
      c) a university for higher learning as was defined for centuries.

      just my 2c.

      * - * - *
      Tzahi Fadida
      MSc Student
      Information System Engineering Area
      Faculty of Industrial Engineering & Management
      Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
      Technion City, Haifa, Israel 32000
      Email TzahiFadida@...
      Technion Email: Tzahi@...
      * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

      WARNING TO SPAMMERS: see at http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
    • Omer Zak
      ... [... snipped ...] ... The first question which I d ask is whether the patented know-how is fundamental for whatever subject you are studying. For example,
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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        On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

        > Hi all,
        > I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered.
        > the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily mutually exclusive:
        > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
        > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
        > 3) patented technologies
        > 4) patented scientific methodologies

        [... snipped ...]

        > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course called "intro
        > to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA - event condition action.
        > the lecturer and TA both work forIBM. the engine called AMIT is used to
        > identify world and database events and repond to situations, and used in hw and
        > exams. its a lot like the states model in UML but for events only. several
        > techniques are patented and are being studied at this class. The main excuse for
        > this product promotion is that the lecturer wants to teach us about new
        > technologies that are about to come out. now, if i wanted to do that, i could
        > open a gartner survey or a few companies brochurs.
        > This course is considered mandatory to MSC students and thus cannot a avoid it.

        The first question which I'd ask is whether the patented know-how is
        fundamental for whatever subject you are studying. For example, the RSA
        algorithm was patented (until recently) but had fundamental importance.

        Or (another hypothetical example) study of the applications of electron
        microscopes or of lasers when their patents were in force.

        The next question is whether studying the patented know-how is mandatory
        for getting the M.Sc. by faculty's academic regulations. But I can
        suppose that sometimes new developments in fields of knowledge are
        patented, yet have fundamental importance.

        The third question is whether there is sufficient disclosure of
        information in order to verify experimental results obtained by use of the
        patented technology in question. With electron microscopes and lasers
        there were no such problems. All important information about the physical
        configuration of those instruments is available to the experimenter, and
        they are much less complicated than the software to which Tzahi alluded.
        This is important as part of the principle of peer review, by which
        science self-checks and advances.

        In brief: Tzahi's grievance may be attacked on grounds of peer review.
        If research based upon those secret technologies cannot be verified by
        peer review, then it has no place in academic journals or in universities.
        At best, it has place in industrial R&D centers.
        --- Omer
        My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
        They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
        I may be affiliated in any way.
        WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
      • Shlomi Fish
        ... Possibly correct. However, if the software is well tested and mature, the chance you ll run into a bug that s not your fault, is very small. During my
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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          On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

          > Hi all,
          > I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered.
          > the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily mutually exclusive:
          > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
          > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
          > 3) patented technologies
          > 4) patented scientific methodologies
          >
          > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses are counter intuitive to its
          > definition. i.e. when you do your hw or experiment using that application you
          > cannot
          > prove that the experiment or hw has succeded or failed due to source bugs or
          > fallacy
          > of the underlying algorithms.

          Possibly correct. However, if the software is well tested and mature, the
          chance you'll run into a bug that's not your fault, is very small. During
          my entire studies, I never ran into a bug in Windows, MSVC, or Matlab. (or
          other programs that I used that we were instructed to use).

          On the other hand, open source software that is installed on the
          university's computers may have bugs, and these would be hard for the
          under-educated student to analyze or even for the highly professional
          student to trace with his limited means.

          So, my position is that if an open source solution is good enough, use it.
          Else, find a proprietary solution that is known to work extremely well.

          > 2) usage of that applications as a matter of fact is false when there are free
          > solutions that can be extended to academic usage on these courses. just using
          > them
          > do not add anything to the academic experience. you can just read a book or a
          > manual
          > on how to use them.

          But sometimes such applications can do what no open source solution can.
          For example, I don't have problems with universities using Excel, because
          it's an excellent program, and I don't think OOo's spreadsheet is there
          yet.

          > 3) patented technologies means that whatever you learned in the course can only
          > be
          > used in the company that provided it or the company product that probably has to
          > be
          > bought to use it. i.e: there is no added benefit beside advertising a certain
          > product by the lecture or TA that probably work for this company. in addition
          > many
          > times you will hear: "I am on NDA so i can't comment on that" so why teach if
          > you
          > can only deliver partail information!

          This is indeed sad, and should be avoided. A course should teach
          real-life, practical knowledge, not such that is highly dependant on a
          proprietary solution. As for the "I'm on NDA" - isn't the entire purpose
          of patents is to make sure their owners can actively reveal everything
          about them?

          Of course, you shouldn't take it too far. Apple has issued a patent on the
          equation a*X+(1-a)*Y (alpha opacity), which has tons of prior art and
          likely this patent won't hold in court. But I believe you're not referring
          to such extreme and silly cases.

          > 4) THESE ARE THE WORSE KINDS!: meaning you cannot reimplement the applications
          > or use the methodologies that implement or extend them. i.e.: its not beneficial
          > in the next 20 years or so depending on the patent and patent area, aside from
          > the company who patented them or the product that implement them or a license.
          > there are probably ways around this but why study the ways you cannot
          > use/reimplement yourselve or making a thesis that could be used outside the
          > scope of the patent.
          >

          Well, like Omer Zak noted, it may not be so bad, depending on the context
          of the application. Sometimes cutting-edge developments are patented, but
          the knowledge that is required to use and implement the technology is
          well-documented and reproducible. So you just have to pay royalties in
          certain cases.

          > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course called "intro
          > to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA - event condition action.
          > the lecturer and TA both work for IBM. the engine called AMIT is used to
          > identify world and database events and repond to situations, and used in hw and
          > exams. its a lot like the states model in UML but for events only. several
          > techniques are patented and are being studied at this class. The main excuse for
          > this product promotion is that the lecturer wants to teach us about new
          > technologies that are about to come out. now, if i wanted to do that, i could
          > open a gartner survey or a few companies brochurs.
          > This course is considered mandatory to MSC students and thus cannot a avoid it.
          >

          Well, this is a problem in the course's staff rather than issues #1-4. You
          may well be advised to file a complaint about it to the department's dean.
          (perhaps a collective one)

          Regards,

          Shlomi Fish

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
          Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

          An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
          doctors away.

          Falk Fish
        • Tzahi Fadida
          ... well, we are not studying word. however, I do teach access in my TA sessions, and i can tell you that the same version of access will not neccessarily work
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
            > Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:33 PM
            > To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [hackers-il] usage of patented and closed source
            > products in courses.
            >
            >
            > On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
            >
            > > Hi all,
            > > I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered.
            > > the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily
            > mutually exclusive:
            > > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
            > > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
            > > 3) patented technologies
            > > 4) patented scientific methodologies
            > >
            > > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses are counter
            > intuitive to its
            > > definition. i.e. when you do your hw or experiment using that
            > application you
            > > cannot
            > > prove that the experiment or hw has succeded or failed due to source bugs or
            > > fallacy
            > > of the underlying algorithms.
            >
            > Possibly correct. However, if the software is well tested and mature, the
            > chance you'll run into a bug that's not your fault, is very small. During
            > my entire studies, I never ran into a bug in Windows, MSVC, or Matlab. (or
            > other programs that I used that we were instructed to use).

            well, we are not studying word. however, I do teach access in my TA sessions,
            and i can tell you that the same version of access will not neccessarily work or
            behave the same on different machines with different configurations with vague,
            and sometimes difficult to resolve reasons.
            as for matlab, i did work with it for a short while and i encountered
            differences that were somtimes stated from the company and sometimes were not
            but not neccessarily a bug. also, in performance dependant applications like
            matlab, if you don;t know the underlying algorithm it is sometimes hard to
            design an experiment and know when it will finish or how it will behave on
            different points like zeroing variables under certain conditions, etc...

            >
            > On the other hand, open source software that is installed on the
            > university's computers may have bugs, and these would be hard for the
            > under-educated student to analyze or even for the highly professional
            > student to trace with his limited means.
            >
            > So, my position is that if an open source solution is good enough, use it.
            > Else, find a proprietary solution that is known to work extremely well.

            i must contest. this is not an engineering school, we are in the academia.
            aside: "I myself don't believe that we should study programming languages to
            know the language but understand
            its concepts contrary to current several courses methodologies".
            so, if there is a bug in an open source program, bring it to the TA knowledge an
            he may help fix it, so the next
            course will not suffer this bug. i.e. most courses have an acceptable curve of
            problems, but here it can be fixed after a semester or two, while in the closed
            source world you probably can forget it and just dump the program if you can't
            circumvent it.


            >
            > > 2) usage of that applications as a matter of fact is false when
            > there are free
            > > solutions that can be extended to academic usage on these courses.
            > just using
            > > them
            > > do not add anything to the academic experience. you can just read a
            > book or a
            > > manual
            > > on how to use them.
            >
            > But sometimes such applications can do what no open source solution can.
            > For example, I don't have problems with universities using Excel, because
            > it's an excellent program, and I don't think OOo's spreadsheet is there
            > yet.

            on the other hand, excel algorithms are not known to u. so if i were, and i did
            :), to run a simulation to find a parameter in a statistical experiment in a
            cognitive course, i cannot estimate the time it would finish besides trial and
            error. If i just ran it, it would have taken me a week instead of 6 hrs.

            >
            > > 3) patented technologies means that whatever you learned in the
            > course can only
            > > be
            > > used in the company that provided it or the company product that
            > probably has to
            > > be
            > > bought to use it. i.e: there is no added benefit beside advertising
            > a certain
            > > product by the lecture or TA that probably work for this company.
            > in addition
            > > many
            > > times you will hear: "I am on NDA so i can't comment on that" so
            > why teach if
            > > you
            > > can only deliver partail information!
            >
            > This is indeed sad, and should be avoided. A course should teach
            > real-life, practical knowledge, not such that is highly dependant on a
            > proprietary solution. As for the "I'm on NDA" - isn't the entire purpose
            > of patents is to make sure their owners can actively reveal everything
            > about them?
            >
            > Of course, you shouldn't take it too far. Apple has issued a patent on the
            > equation a*X+(1-a)*Y (alpha opacity), which has tons of prior art and
            > likely this patent won't hold in court. But I believe you're not referring
            > to such extreme and silly cases.

            yeah, i agree.

            >
            > > 4) THESE ARE THE WORSE KINDS!: meaning you cannot reimplement the
            > applications
            > > or use the methodologies that implement or extend them. i.e.: its
            > not beneficial
            > > in the next 20 years or so depending on the patent and patent area,
            > aside from
            > > the company who patented them or the product that implement them or
            > a license.
            > > there are probably ways around this but why study the ways you cannot
            > > use/reimplement yourselve or making a thesis that could be used outside the
            > > scope of the patent.
            > >
            >
            > Well, like Omer Zak noted, it may not be so bad, depending on the context
            > of the application. Sometimes cutting-edge developments are patented, but
            > the knowledge that is required to use and implement the technology is
            > well-documented and reproducible. So you just have to pay royalties in
            > certain cases.

            yeah, but we are not here to promote a product. I think a university should
            stick to scientific principles that you could
            later decide wether you are going to pay royalties to a company which patented a
            certain methodology.

            >
            > > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course
            > called "intro
            > > to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA - event
            > condition action.
            > > the lecturer and TA both work for IBM. the engine called AMIT is used to
            > > identify world and database events and repond to situations, and
            > used in hw and
            > > exams. its a lot like the states model in UML but for events only. several
            > > techniques are patented and are being studied at this class. The
            > main excuse for
            > > this product promotion is that the lecturer wants to teach us about new
            > > technologies that are about to come out. now, if i wanted to do
            > that, i could
            > > open a gartner survey or a few companies brochurs.
            > > This course is considered mandatory to MSC students and thus cannot
            > a avoid it.
            > >
            >
            > Well, this is a problem in the course's staff rather than issues #1-4. You
            > may well be advised to file a complaint about it to the department's dean.
            > (perhaps a collective one)

            i will think about it, after the course is finished.
            and as for collective, this is the IE department not CS. no one here gives a
            rats ass about open source, except
            a small minority, somoe of them a member of this list and linux-il.

            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Shlomi Fish
            >
            > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            > Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
            >
            > An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
            > doctors away.
            >
            > Falk Fish
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            > To visit your group on the web, go to:
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            >
            >
          • Tzahi Fadida
            ... no its not, but no other methodologies or principals are being taught as an alternative. i asked the lecturer and he told me that i can look for it myself,
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Omer Zak [mailto:omerz@...]
              > Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 5:59 PM
              > To: Hackers-IL
              > Subject: Re: [hackers-il] usage of patented and closed source
              > products in courses.
              >
              >
              >
              > On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
              >
              > > Hi all,
              > > I want to discuss an anti-academic issue i recently encountered.
              > > the issue includes these problems which are not neccessarily
              > mutually exclusive:
              > > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
              > > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
              > > 3) patented technologies
              > > 4) patented scientific methodologies
              >
              > [... snipped ...]
              >
              > > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course
              > called "intro
              > > to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA - event
              > condition action.
              > > the lecturer and TA both work forIBM. the engine called AMIT is used to
              > > identify world and database events and repond to situations, and
              > used in hw and
              > > exams. its a lot like the states model in UML but for events only. several
              > > techniques are patented and are being studied at this class. The
              > main excuse for
              > > this product promotion is that the lecturer wants to teach us about new
              > > technologies that are about to come out. now, if i wanted to do
              > that, i could
              > > open a gartner survey or a few companies brochurs.
              > > This course is considered mandatory to MSC students and thus cannot
              > a avoid it.
              >
              > The first question which I'd ask is whether the patented know-how is
              > fundamental for whatever subject you are studying. For example, the RSA
              > algorithm was patented (until recently) but had fundamental importance.

              no its not, but no other methodologies or principals are being taught as an
              alternative.
              i asked the lecturer and he told me that i can look for it myself, maybe i'll
              find some articles?!
              what kind of an answer is that, probably he told me that so people won;t compete
              with IBM, but this
              is an absurd. this is not an open market, but an academic institution, we are
              supposed to learn science and
              not how to prevent others from learning.

              >
              > Or (another hypothetical example) study of the applications of electron
              > microscopes or of lasers when their patents were in force.
              >
              > The next question is whether studying the patented know-how is mandatory
              > for getting the M.Sc. by faculty's academic regulations. But I can
              > suppose that sometimes new developments in fields of knowledge are
              > patented, yet have fundamental importance.

              whats mandatory is the course which MSC students must take from a predetermined
              list.

              >
              > The third question is whether there is sufficient disclosure of
              > information in order to verify experimental results obtained by use of the
              > patented technology in question. With electron microscopes and lasers
              > there were no such problems. All important information about the physical
              > configuration of those instruments is available to the experimenter, and
              > they are much less complicated than the software to which Tzahi alluded.
              > This is important as part of the principle of peer review, by which
              > science self-checks and advances.

              the general information is out there. regarding what is the underlying science
              of the experimental software
              called AMIT from ibm is using -
              no such information is available since the source is closed. for example, i
              found a bug under a certain JVM and
              they said its not a bug. well, how nice for them, i cannot proove that since i
              have no access to the code.
              several days after they found a bug. what now?

              >
              > In brief: Tzahi's grievance may be attacked on grounds of peer review.
              > If research based upon those secret technologies cannot be verified by
              > peer review, then it has no place in academic journals or in universities.
              > At best, it has place in industrial R&D centers.

              no, i believe the patent is of course known and the papers are mostly, though
              can't be verified, out there.
              regarding peer review that can verify that the software is in complience with
              the alledge scientific principals, which mind you were only taught in part. What
              good is it to experiment with it if we cannot see whats happening.
              i.e.: this is the difference between studying technology, which i think should
              not be taught in a university, to studying
              science.

              > --- Omer
              > My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
              > They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
              > I may be affiliated in any way.
              > WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              > To visit your group on the web, go to:
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              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
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              >
              >
              >
            • Oleg Goldshmidt
              ... Well, it looks like you are assuming that there is a viable open source alternative [see also item 2 below]. What if there isn t? As to your bugs
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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                "Tzahi Fadida" <tzahi_ml@...> writes:

                > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
                > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
                > 3) patented technologies
                > 4) patented scientific methodologies

                > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses are counter intuitive to its
                > definition. i.e. when you do your hw or experiment using that
                > application you cannot prove that the experiment or hw has succeded
                > or failed due to source bugs or fallacy of the underlying
                > algorithms.

                Well, it looks like you are assuming that there is a viable open
                source alternative [see also item 2 below]. What if there isn't?

                As to your "bugs" argument, if the app in question has a solid
                reputation I would suggest keeping looking for bugs in your code. I
                don't know what examples you have in mind, I am thinking of MatLab,
                Mathematica, etc. MatLab has open source alternatives (SciLab, Octave)
                that lag behind in functionality, but you can verify a large number of
                things with them. It will still make sense to use MatLab in
                instruction.

                I recall a case from my own teaching practice where Excel gave wrong
                results. This was verified by doing the calculations by hand - this is
                always a very good learning experience.

                > 2) usage of that applications as a matter of fact is false when there are free
                > solutions that can be extended to academic usage on these courses.

                This is where you are making the assumption mentioned above [see item 1]
                explicitly.

                > just using them do not add anything to the academic
                > experience. you can just read a book or a manual on how to use them.

                It adds to your skill set and experience, which is more than you can
                get from just reading the frigging manual. It may prove useful during
                subsequent studies. It may be a tool widely used in the industry in
                which you are likely to work upon graduation.

                > 3) patented technologies means that whatever you learned in the course can only
                > be used in the company that provided it or the company product that
                > probably has to be bought to use it.

                Here I disagree. Whatever is patented is, by definition, open. If you
                have to pay royalties to apply it in real life is irrelevant. As a
                student, you can benefit from studying the technology in question.


                > 4) THESE ARE THE WORSE KINDS!:

                The worst kind include patents on scientific methodologies that have
                been known for a long long time. This patent

                http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~traub/html/body_patent_information.html

                (awarded in 1999) is on a well-known mathematical technique that has
                been developed, IIRC, in the sixties if not earlier, applied in a
                particular area. The patent-holders' claim to fame, it seems, is that
                they "discovered" that it could be faster than other methods for
                certain problems. The speed of solving this particular kind of
                *mathematical* problem was the primary motivation for development of
                the method (in the 60-ies, as I said) in the first place. Check,
                e.g. "Numerical Recipes" for introduction. I find the patent ridiculous.

                What would you say if your courses included low discrepancy sequences?
                By Prof. Traub? ;-)

                > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course
                > called "intro to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA
                > - event condition action. the lecturer and TA both work for
                > IBM. the engine called AMIT is used to identify world and database
                > events and repond to situations, and used in hw and exams.

                OK, I work for IBM, I have no specific knowledge of AMIT, and I cannot
                comment on the specifics for both these reasons. ;-)

                In general, suppose your instructors think that their students would
                benefit from learning rule-based reasoning techniques in AI[1]. They give
                you some background, and now they want to give you a demonstration of
                a relatively sophisticated engine that they know well (I'd say it is a
                necessary condition). Suppose the thing is also programmable to some
                extent and allows the students to try things, feed data to it, create
                and modify rules, and thus do exercises.

                If you happen to know that there exists an open source tool that is no
                worse that the proprietary one offered to you by the instructors, why
                can't you ask politely if they know about it? Explain why having the
                source and the ability to tweak the algorithms inside is beneficial.

                I can tell you what my reaction to this would be. I would suggest that
                you use both tools in parallel and compare the results. If the results
                are the same consistently, then you would gain the skills and
                knowledge of an open source tool that performs - for the set of
                problems studied - at par with the allegedly advanced proprietary
                tool. That's useful. If the results are different, could you figure
                out what the difference is? Could you modify the open source code to
                get a closer match? Could you reason which is correct? Could you
                improve upon the open source program based on what you've learned?[2]

                In the Excel example mentioned above the suggestion to use Excel
                (rather than doing the stuff by hand) invariably came from
                students. The suggestion to do the stuff both by hand and with Excel
                invariably came from me (the instructor). The results were invariably
                different. The students learned.

                Question is, did you approach your lecturer? What did he (or she) say?

                > The main excuse for this product promotion is that the lecturer
                > wants to teach us about new technologies that are about to come
                > out. now, if i wanted to do that, i could open a gartner survey or a
                > few companies brochurs.

                You cannot explore the technology or learn to use it by reading
                Gartner reports. I keep returning to the MatLab example.

                To summarize: I don't think you can just reject usage of proprietary
                technologies in instruction simply because they are not open-source.
                If there is an open-source alternative you will, I think, benefit from
                comparison. It may turn out that your lecturers will agree with this
                last statement.

                [1] OK, I probably goofed, most likely I mixed AMIT,
                http://www.haifa.il.ibm.com/projects/software/amit/index.html
                and ARAD (can't find a description, but it's mentioned in the
                URL abive). I don't know if AMIT uses any rule-based AI, but it
                well may be the case. I told you I didn't know...

                [2] This again assumes there is an open source alternative, of course.
                I would love to know if there is an open source AMIT - can you
                give me a pointer?


                --
                Oleg Goldshmidt | pub@...
              • Tzahi Fadida
                ... Maybe i didn t make it clear, the lecturer and the TA are the developers of the software. They could if they choose teach only the principles and
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: oleg@... [mailto:oleg@...]On Behalf Of
                  > Oleg Goldshmidt
                  > Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 8:45 PM
                  > To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [hackers-il] usage of patented and closed source
                  > products in courses.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > "Tzahi Fadida" <tzahi_ml@...> writes:
                  >
                  > > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses.
                  > > 2) closed source applications in non theoretic courses.
                  > > 3) patented technologies
                  > > 4) patented scientific methodologies
                  >
                  > > 1) closed source applications in theoretic courses are counter
                  > intuitive to its
                  > > definition. i.e. when you do your hw or experiment using that
                  > > application you cannot prove that the experiment or hw has succeded
                  > > or failed due to source bugs or fallacy of the underlying
                  > > algorithms.
                  >
                  > Well, it looks like you are assuming that there is a viable open
                  > source alternative [see also item 2 below]. What if there isn't?

                  Maybe i didn't make it clear, the lecturer and the TA are the developers of
                  the software.
                  They could if they choose teach only the principles and algorithms relevant
                  to the course and not give hw and use it in exams. In addition they are not
                  qualified to teach this course because of the NDA.
                  Its a conflict of interest between the academic interest and the commercial
                  one.

                  >
                  > As to your "bugs" argument, if the app in question has a solid
                  > reputation I would suggest keeping looking for bugs in your code. I
                  > don't know what examples you have in mind, I am thinking of MatLab,
                  > Mathematica, etc. MatLab has open source alternatives (SciLab, Octave)
                  > that lag behind in functionality, but you can verify a large number of
                  > things with them. It will still make sense to use MatLab in
                  > instruction.

                  you are right about sciLab, i know it. although i for one don't think its
                  relevant to the question of concentrating on what is teachable and that the
                  choice of the application they teach is really a matter of their opinion that
                  its relevant to the course. i.e. how did they determine it will be the main
                  technology of the future.
                  besides that, the software is at the experimental stage and no one uses
                  it.

                  >
                  > I recall a case from my own teaching practice where Excel gave wrong
                  > results. This was verified by doing the calculations by hand - this is
                  > always a very good learning experience.

                  as i said, in my opinion the software kind is irrelevant. but, regarding your
                  comment, what is really learned here, the subject of the course or that
                  microsoft and closed source in academic institutions sucks. :)

                  >
                  > > 2) usage of that applications as a matter of fact is false when
                  > there are free
                  > > solutions that can be extended to academic usage on these courses.
                  >
                  > This is where you are making the assumption mentioned above [see item 1]
                  > explicitly.
                  >
                  > > just using them do not add anything to the academic
                  > > experience. you can just read a book or a manual on how to use them.
                  >
                  > It adds to your skill set and experience, which is more than you can
                  > get from just reading the frigging manual. It may prove useful during
                  > subsequent studies. It may be a tool widely used in the industry in
                  > which you are likely to work upon graduation.

                  i have an engineering degree and a b.s.c and i worked in the industry
                  and i can tell you that a person comming out of the academic institution
                  should be able to study from a book. as for experience, there are the
                  yearly projects and semeterial projects for that purpose not in the courses.

                  >
                  > > 3) patented technologies means that whatever you learned in the
                  > course can only
                  > > be used in the company that provided it or the company product that
                  > > probably has to be bought to use it.
                  >
                  > Here I disagree. Whatever is patented is, by definition, open. If you
                  > have to pay royalties to apply it in real life is irrelevant. As a
                  > student, you can benefit from studying the technology in question.
                  >

                  i don't disagree here, just saying that you can take, for example, DBA
                  course for oracle and learn that. in the academy you study science not
                  technology and many people confuse between them.

                  >
                  > > 4) THESE ARE THE WORSE KINDS!:
                  >
                  > The worst kind include patents on scientific methodologies that have
                  > been known for a long long time. This patent
                  >
                  > http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~traub/html/body_patent_information.html
                  >
                  > (awarded in 1999) is on a well-known mathematical technique that has
                  > been developed, IIRC, in the sixties if not earlier, applied in a
                  > particular area. The patent-holders' claim to fame, it seems, is that
                  > they "discovered" that it could be faster than other methods for
                  > certain problems. The speed of solving this particular kind of
                  > *mathematical* problem was the primary motivation for development of
                  > the method (in the 60-ies, as I said) in the first place. Check,
                  > e.g. "Numerical Recipes" for introduction. I find the patent ridiculous.
                  >
                  > What would you say if your courses included low discrepancy sequences?
                  > By Prof. Traub? ;-)

                  i don't know. i am a little rusted at math, tough i am working hard to correct
                  this. (shame on me)

                  >
                  > > ok, after all that, specifically i have a grievance with a course
                  > > called "intro to databases engineering" which its main theme is ECA
                  > > - event condition action. the lecturer and TA both work for
                  > > IBM. the engine called AMIT is used to identify world and database
                  > > events and repond to situations, and used in hw and exams.
                  >
                  > OK, I work for IBM, I have no specific knowledge of AMIT, and I cannot
                  > comment on the specifics for both these reasons. ;-)
                  >
                  > In general, suppose your instructors think that their students would
                  > benefit from learning rule-based reasoning techniques in AI[1]. They give
                  > you some background, and now they want to give you a demonstration of

                  if it only been a demostration, i had no grievance here.

                  > a relatively sophisticated engine that they know well (I'd say it is a
                  > necessary condition). Suppose the thing is also programmable to some
                  > extent and allows the students to try things, feed data to it, create
                  > and modify rules, and thus do exercises.
                  >
                  > If you happen to know that there exists an open source tool that is no
                  > worse that the proprietary one offered to you by the instructors, why
                  > can't you ask politely if they know about it? Explain why having the
                  > source and the ability to tweak the algorithms inside is beneficial.

                  asked, and being told, go look for it yourself. between the lines of
                  response: "go away, i am under NDA."
                  me: "where can i find early works not patented?"
                  response: "go look it up maybe there is". this is comming from the person
                  who wrote the papers, i.e between the lines: "what, to tell you and so you
                  will develop a competing application?". as i said conflict of interests.

                  >
                  > I can tell you what my reaction to this would be. I would suggest that
                  > you use both tools in parallel and compare the results. If the results
                  > are the same consistently, then you would gain the skills and
                  > knowledge of an open source tool that performs - for the set of
                  > problems studied - at par with the allegedly advanced proprietary
                  > tool. That's useful. If the results are different, could you figure
                  > out what the difference is? Could you modify the open source code to
                  > get a closer match? Could you reason which is correct? Could you
                  > improve upon the open source program based on what you've learned?[2]

                  agreed, they claim however they don't know a similar tool(which they
                  developed themselve and i don't think they didn't say the truth).

                  >
                  > In the Excel example mentioned above the suggestion to use Excel
                  > (rather than doing the stuff by hand) invariably came from
                  > students. The suggestion to do the stuff both by hand and with Excel
                  > invariably came from me (the instructor). The results were invariably
                  > different. The students learned.
                  >
                  > Question is, did you approach your lecturer? What did he (or she) say?

                  yes read above. completly reluctant to help because of conflict of interest.

                  >
                  > > The main excuse for this product promotion is that the lecturer
                  > > wants to teach us about new technologies that are about to come
                  > > out. now, if i wanted to do that, i could open a gartner survey or a
                  > > few companies brochurs.
                  >
                  > You cannot explore the technology or learn to use it by reading
                  > Gartner reports. I keep returning to the MatLab example.

                  matlab is in use. this technology will maybe be used(as promoted by
                  the lecturer) in the next 5 years

                  >
                  > To summarize: I don't think you can just reject usage of proprietary
                  > technologies in instruction simply because they are not open-source.
                  > If there is an open-source alternative you will, I think, benefit from
                  > comparison. It may turn out that your lecturers will agree with this
                  > last statement.

                  i don't, if its not used to explain scientific principals

                  >
                  > [1] OK, I probably goofed, most likely I mixed AMIT,
                  > http://www.haifa.il.ibm.com/projects/software/amit/index.html
                  > and ARAD (can't find a description, but it's mentioned in the
                  > URL abive). I don't know if AMIT uses any rule-based AI, but it
                  > well may be the case. I told you I didn't know...
                  >
                  > [2] This again assumes there is an open source alternative, of course.
                  > I would love to know if there is an open source AMIT - can you
                  > give me a pointer?

                  I want to know too.
                  DBs usually includes a trigger mechanism. consider it an event. now take
                  this event and put it in an ECA model Event Condition Action like in the
                  UML states model. now take a methodology to identify complex events
                  like SNOOP and extend it to include a context for events.
                  context - time or place or anything. and you get AMIT.
                  I think that AMIT is not a bad idea and can have many uses, for example,
                  put it in SNORT and get a more high performance and more accurate
                  identification device.(of course some adjustments and performance issue
                  should be resolved first).

                  >
                  >
                  > --
                  > Oleg Goldshmidt | pub@...
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                  > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Shlomi Fish
                  Hi Tzahi and all! Tzahi, judging from your answers you seem to be very frustrated about this course. And, from my impression based on your description, you
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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                    Hi Tzahi and all!

                    Tzahi, judging from your answers you seem to be very frustrated about this
                    course. And, from my impression based on your description, you have every
                    right to. However, you seem to have started this argument with some
                    overgeneralizations:

                    1. Use of proprietary software in Academic courses is bad.

                    2. Teaching of patented technologies is bad.

                    Both of them may or may not be valid depending on the case, but
                    over-generalizing them is bad. In general my belief is that:

                    1. A course should teach using mature, well-proven tools, whether open
                    source or (with a lesser preference) otherwise. Open source programs are
                    not a panacea. A sub-standard open source program can waste a lot of times
                    for the students, and for the other staff, while a high-quality
                    proprietary solution will just work and give them what they need.

                    I can testify from my experience, that in EE Lab 1, my partner and I had
                    to work against a pre-configured circuit of electrical components
                    (hardware not software) that we had to analyze. In the middle of the
                    experiment, the case broke down and no one was able to fix it. To get the
                    score for this experiment we had to come another time and spend some good
                    3 or 4 hours doing the experiment again.

                    So, bugs, whether in software or real-world, always cost time. No one has
                    time to debug bugs in open source software in the context of Academic
                    studies. So, I think a course should prefer the solution that is known to
                    work best.

                    2. Regarding the course's staff and its treatment, I think it is very bad
                    that they treat you this way. By all means, answering "we are under NDA so
                    we can't tell you", etc. defies the purpose of Academic studies, in which
                    the staff aims to educate the students as much as possible, rather than
                    hide information from them.

                    If this technology is problematic in this regard, then they should have
                    avoided and teach you something less proprietary.

                    3. Teaching Patented technologies sometimes cannot be avoided if the
                    university wishes to stay on the cutting edge.

                    4. Regarding your point that because I don't have access to Excel's
                    source, I can't tell what its algorithms are. As far as Excel is
                    concerned, I can, because programming spreadsheets is well known with many
                    partial open source implementations. Even, if I don't know how a feature
                    works, I still know the formulas behind it (they are in the help file),
                    and can still do it by hand.

                    Most able programmers can tell how to write most programs based on their
                    behaviour. The source code itself is useful for modifying the program when
                    the need arises, but is otherwise not necessarily a pre-requisite for
                    duplicating its functionality. (nor is it always very helpful if you need
                    to know how it works).

                    Like I said, in a course that involves using a tool, you usually don't
                    expect the students to fix bugs, much less add features to the tool. (you
                    can't do it with physical tools, so why should you with software). Unless
                    of course, the entire purpose of the course is to extend this tool.


                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish




                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                    Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

                    An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
                    doctors away.

                    Falk Fish
                  • Tzahi Fadida
                    ... well, i think that in most places i added my opinion because as you said, i will have a hard time to make it work for every case. and i did not mean that
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                      > Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2003 12:50 AM
                      > To: Hackers-IL
                      > Subject: Overgeneralization [was Re: [hackers-il] usage of patented
                      > and closed source products in courses.]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Tzahi and all!
                      >
                      > Tzahi, judging from your answers you seem to be very frustrated about this
                      > course. And, from my impression based on your description, you have every
                      > right to. However, you seem to have started this argument with some
                      > overgeneralizations:
                      >
                      > 1. Use of proprietary software in Academic courses is bad.
                      >
                      > 2. Teaching of patented technologies is bad.

                      well, i think that in most places i added "my opinion" because as you
                      said, i will have a hard time to make it work for every case.
                      and i did not mean that we should stop using matlab today, but in an
                      academic world we should aspire to do so.
                      I say this because in my opinion a university is an idealistic creature
                      that looks for ways to increase scientific knowledge for the benefit
                      of the community in 99% of the time.
                      however since we live in israel + in the real world, i would accept
                      that the institution will allow himself to patent some of the work so
                      they could fund further research, but i think its important not
                      to loose track of the main theme of the university.

                      >
                      > Both of them may or may not be valid depending on the case, but
                      > over-generalizing them is bad. In general my belief is that:
                      >
                      > 1. A course should teach using mature, well-proven tools, whether open
                      > source or (with a lesser preference) otherwise. Open source programs are
                      > not a panacea. A sub-standard open source program can waste a lot of times
                      > for the students, and for the other staff, while a high-quality
                      > proprietary solution will just work and give them what they need.

                      agreed. just to remind that in my case the course application is
                      experimental.

                      >
                      > I can testify from my experience, that in EE Lab 1, my partner and I had
                      > to work against a pre-configured circuit of electrical components
                      > (hardware not software) that we had to analyze. In the middle of the
                      > experiment, the case broke down and no one was able to fix it. To get the
                      > score for this experiment we had to come another time and spend some good
                      > 3 or 4 hours doing the experiment again.
                      >
                      > So, bugs, whether in software or real-world, always cost time. No one has
                      > time to debug bugs in open source software in the context of Academic
                      > studies. So, I think a course should prefer the solution that is known to
                      > work best.

                      right again. and to remind, they are testing the application on us and
                      debugging it on our expense.

                      >
                      > 2. Regarding the course's staff and its treatment, I think it is very bad
                      > that they treat you this way. By all means, answering "we are under NDA so
                      > we can't tell you", etc. defies the purpose of Academic studies, in which
                      > the staff aims to educate the students as much as possible, rather than
                      > hide information from them.
                      >
                      > If this technology is problematic in this regard, then they should have
                      > avoided and teach you something less proprietary.
                      >
                      > 3. Teaching Patented technologies sometimes cannot be avoided if the
                      > university wishes to stay on the cutting edge.

                      agreed, but aspire to lower this as much as it can and not take it for
                      granted.

                      >
                      > 4. Regarding your point that because I don't have access to Excel's
                      > source, I can't tell what its algorithms are. As far as Excel is
                      > concerned, I can, because programming spreadsheets is well known with many
                      > partial open source implementations. Even, if I don't know how a feature
                      > works, I still know the formulas behind it (they are in the help file),
                      > and can still do it by hand.
                      >
                      > Most able programmers can tell how to write most programs based on their
                      > behaviour. The source code itself is useful for modifying the program when
                      > the need arises, but is otherwise not necessarily a pre-requisite for
                      > duplicating its functionality. (nor is it always very helpful if you need
                      > to know how it works).
                      >
                      > Like I said, in a course that involves using a tool, you usually don't
                      > expect the students to fix bugs, much less add features to the tool. (you
                      > can't do it with physical tools, so why should you with software). Unless
                      > of course, the entire purpose of the course is to extend this tool.

                      maybe in bsc, but when in advanced courses you are expected to think
                      of ways to generate experiments and create new models you need
                      to know of functional side affects if there are any and perfomance,
                      and how a certain algorithm will behave if you use a built in command.
                      I agree that in simple courses there is no need for that because they
                      spoon feed us.

                      >
                      >
                      > Regards,
                      >
                      > Shlomi Fish
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                      > Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                      >
                      > An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
                      > doctors away.
                      >
                      > Falk Fish
                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Shlomi Fish
                      Hi Tzahi! It s great that we agree to agree. How do you say heganu le emeq hashaveh in English? Reached a mutual agreement ? ... Hell, I think everyone
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 24, 2003
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                        Hi Tzahi!

                        It's great that we agree to agree. How do you say "heganu le'emeq
                        hashaveh" in English? "Reached a mutual agreement"?

                        On Thu, 25 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

                        > > -----Original Message-----
                        > > From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                        > > Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2003 12:50 AM
                        > > To: Hackers-IL
                        > > Subject: Overgeneralization [was Re: [hackers-il] usage of patented
                        > > and closed source products in courses.]
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Hi Tzahi and all!
                        > >
                        > > Tzahi, judging from your answers you seem to be very frustrated about this
                        > > course. And, from my impression based on your description, you have every
                        > > right to. However, you seem to have started this argument with some
                        > > overgeneralizations:
                        > >
                        > > 1. Use of proprietary software in Academic courses is bad.
                        > >
                        > > 2. Teaching of patented technologies is bad.
                        >
                        > well, i think that in most places i added "my opinion" because as you
                        > said, i will have a hard time to make it work for every case.
                        > and i did not mean that we should stop using matlab today, but in an
                        > academic world we should aspire to do so.

                        Hell, I think everyone should aspire to stop using any proprietary
                        software. But not everyone has time to work on solving all the problems
                        that are solved by proprietary solutions. Some open source solutions are
                        up to par with their proprietary equivalents, or many times even better.
                        Others still have a long way to go.

                        If we take the database field for example: the most feature-full database
                        is Oracle, which is proprietary and costs quite a bit. Furthermore, Oracle
                        Corp. has much more man-power at its disposal than the equivalent open
                        source projects have individually. (and naturally, these people work full
                        time there and are getting paid to improve the product). Oracle costs
                        quite a bit, (don't recall the price, but it can be easily verified), but
                        a version can download a version for development for free, and would just
                        need to pay for a license to deploy it.

                        Now, generally we can assume that the cost of licensing a database product
                        would be relatively small to the development cost and general TCO, so many
                        customers will be willing to pay for it. So, Oracle still gets many new
                        licensees, and can continue the development so far, keeping ahead of the
                        competition.

                        That does not mean the functionality provided by the open source database
                        products is useless, just that there is a place for a high-quality
                        proprietary solution.

                        This is also the case for Matlab, (at least for now) and for Excel.

                        > I say this because in my opinion a university is an idealistic creature
                        > that looks for ways to increase scientific knowledge for the benefit
                        > of the community in 99% of the time.

                        You are right about that. In a way. I support fully privatized education,
                        where even K12 schools are private. (either individual schools or school
                        networks). What will be the behaviour of universities in such a scheme
                        remains to be seen, but they should still not be companies proper, or else
                        they won't be called universities.

                        This comment has the possibility of being a little flame-bait. Let's not
                        start a "privatized education - good or bad?" discussion here. It's
                        off-topic.

                        > however since we live in israel + in the real world, i would accept
                        > that the institution will allow himself to patent some of the work so
                        > they could fund further research, but i think its important not
                        > to loose track of the main theme of the university.
                        >

                        Right.

                        > >
                        > > Both of them may or may not be valid depending on the case, but
                        > > over-generalizing them is bad. In general my belief is that:
                        > >
                        > > 1. A course should teach using mature, well-proven tools, whether open
                        > > source or (with a lesser preference) otherwise. Open source programs are
                        > > not a panacea. A sub-standard open source program can waste a lot of times
                        > > for the students, and for the other staff, while a high-quality
                        > > proprietary solution will just work and give them what they need.
                        >
                        > agreed. just to remind that in my case the course application is
                        > experimental.
                        >

                        Right, which means it has no place in it.

                        > >
                        > > I can testify from my experience, that in EE Lab 1, my partner and I had
                        > > to work against a pre-configured circuit of electrical components
                        > > (hardware not software) that we had to analyze. In the middle of the
                        > > experiment, the case broke down and no one was able to fix it. To get the
                        > > score for this experiment we had to come another time and spend some good
                        > > 3 or 4 hours doing the experiment again.
                        > >
                        > > So, bugs, whether in software or real-world, always cost time. No one has
                        > > time to debug bugs in open source software in the context of Academic
                        > > studies. So, I think a course should prefer the solution that is known to
                        > > work best.
                        >
                        > right again. and to remind, they are testing the application on us and
                        > debugging it on our expense.
                        >

                        Right.

                        > >
                        > > 2. Regarding the course's staff and its treatment, I think it is very bad
                        > > that they treat you this way. By all means, answering "we are under NDA so
                        > > we can't tell you", etc. defies the purpose of Academic studies, in which
                        > > the staff aims to educate the students as much as possible, rather than
                        > > hide information from them.
                        > >
                        > > If this technology is problematic in this regard, then they should have
                        > > avoided and teach you something less proprietary.
                        > >
                        > > 3. Teaching Patented technologies sometimes cannot be avoided if the
                        > > university wishes to stay on the cutting edge.
                        >
                        > agreed, but aspire to lower this as much as it can and not take it for
                        > granted.
                        >

                        Right.

                        > >
                        > > 4. Regarding your point that because I don't have access to Excel's
                        > > source, I can't tell what its algorithms are. As far as Excel is
                        > > concerned, I can, because programming spreadsheets is well known with many
                        > > partial open source implementations. Even, if I don't know how a feature
                        > > works, I still know the formulas behind it (they are in the help file),
                        > > and can still do it by hand.
                        > >
                        > > Most able programmers can tell how to write most programs based on their
                        > > behaviour. The source code itself is useful for modifying the program when
                        > > the need arises, but is otherwise not necessarily a pre-requisite for
                        > > duplicating its functionality. (nor is it always very helpful if you need
                        > > to know how it works).
                        > >
                        > > Like I said, in a course that involves using a tool, you usually don't
                        > > expect the students to fix bugs, much less add features to the tool. (you
                        > > can't do it with physical tools, so why should you with software). Unless
                        > > of course, the entire purpose of the course is to extend this tool.
                        >
                        > maybe in bsc, but when in advanced courses you are expected to think
                        > of ways to generate experiments and create new models you need
                        > to know of functional side affects if there are any and perfomance,
                        > and how a certain algorithm will behave if you use a built in command.
                        > I agree that in simple courses there is no need for that because they
                        > spoon feed us.
                        >

                        You are right here. That's where open source can really shine.

                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                        Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

                        An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
                        doctors away.

                        Falk Fish
                      • Shlomi Fish
                        ... I disagree. If all students suffered abuse from the course stuff due to the proprietary, secretive and experimental nature of the software that was chosen,
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 26, 2004
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

                          > > Well, this is a problem in the course's staff rather than issues #1-4. You
                          > > may well be advised to file a complaint about it to the department's dean.
                          > > (perhaps a collective one)
                          >
                          > i will think about it, after the course is finished.
                          > and as for collective, this is the IE department not CS. no one here gives a
                          > rats ass about open source, except
                          > a small minority, somoe of them a member of this list and linux-il.
                          >

                          I disagree. If all students suffered abuse from the course stuff due to
                          the proprietary, secretive and experimental nature of the software that
                          was chosen, then they can all care enough to file a complaint together. It
                          has nothing to do with open source, and everything to do with proper
                          academics.

                          So, you should get your act together and file a collective complaint.

                          Regards,

                          Shlomi Fish


                          > >
                          > > Regards,
                          > >
                          > > Shlomi Fish
                          > >
                          > > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                          > > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                          > > Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                          > >
                          > > An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
                          > > doctors away.
                          > >
                          > > Falk Fish
                          > >
                          > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                          > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          > >
                          > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                          > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                          > >
                          > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                          > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          > >
                          > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                          > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                          > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                          >
                          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                          > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                          > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          >
                          >



                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                          Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

                          You are banished! You are banished! You are banished!

                          Hey? I'm just kidding!
                        • Tzahi Fadida
                          ... I disagree to the disagree, you don t rattle the boat you are in, or you might sink. Doing an msc is different from doing bsc where different laws of
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jan 27, 2004
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                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                            > Sent: Monday, January 26, 2004 5:25 PM
                            > To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: Collective Appeal [was RE: [hackers-il] usage of patented
                            > and closed source products in courses.]
                            >
                            >
                            > On Wed, 24 Dec 2003, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                            >
                            > > > Well, this is a problem in the course's staff rather than issues #1-4. You
                            > > > may well be advised to file a complaint about it to the department's dean.
                            > > > (perhaps a collective one)
                            > >
                            > > i will think about it, after the course is finished.
                            > > and as for collective, this is the IE department not CS. no one here gives a
                            > > rats ass about open source, except
                            > > a small minority, somoe of them a member of this list and linux-il.
                            > >
                            >
                            > I disagree. If all students suffered abuse from the course stuff due to
                            > the proprietary, secretive and experimental nature of the software that
                            > was chosen, then they can all care enough to file a complaint together. It
                            > has nothing to do with open source, and everything to do with proper
                            > academics.

                            I disagree to the disagree, you don't rattle the boat you are in, or you
                            might sink. Doing an msc is different from doing bsc where different
                            laws of physics apply. I talked to the lecturer and told him how i felt.
                            for now, this is all i can do. I also talked to others about related issues
                            and code of conduct in the academics.
                            In the end, after asking around i felt that most don't care about it so i am
                            dropping the issue for now.
                            I think the problem is a code of conduct that is essentially non-existent.

                            >
                            > So, you should get your act together and file a collective complaint.
                            >
                            > Regards,
                            >
                            > Shlomi Fish
                            >
                            >
                            > > >
                            > > > Regards,
                            > > >
                            > > > Shlomi Fish
                            > > >
                            > > > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > > > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                            > > > Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                            > > >
                            > > > An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
                            > > > doctors away.
                            > > >
                            > > > Falk Fish
                            > > >
                            > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > > >
                            > > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                            > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                            > > >
                            > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            > > >
                            > > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                            > > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > >
                            > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                            > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                            > >
                            > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            > >
                            > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                            > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                            > Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                            >
                            > You are banished! You are banished! You are banished!
                            >
                            > Hey? I'm just kidding!
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/
                            >
                            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > hackers-il-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            >
                            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                            > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            >
                            >
                            >
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