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Software clasification task

Posted on 2004-10-16
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I was given the task to clasify a list of 3,000 software products :(.
I was told to clasify according to these two categories, among others :

Licensing
- Commercial
- Freeware
- Shareware
- Public domain

Source availability:
- Open source
- No open source.

However, I doubt this is at all enough. For example, what about the GNU licensing, how does it fit here ?
How do I clasify "Opera", the browser, is it free ? I think I miss the "adware" clasification, same for Eudora.
Actually, I think I will have to break the software list into other list, where an item can be repeated, and therefore the same software could have more than one clasification, for example, again, Opera is both "adware" and "comercial". Am I right ? (i.e. have an n-to-n relation between software and licensing tables).

Now, respecting source availability, it get worse. There are software, commercial software, that gives you the source code for an additional fee. This is very clasical in the  Delphi's component market : one price without sources, other price with sources.
So, if a commercial software offers you the source code for an extra-fee, that doesn't convert it to "Open Source", right ? Stating that the code is provided for personal purpose without any single permission of redistribuition, nor redistribuite modified versions.
I think I even may need a third clasification ?

I am very open minded to suggestions, I have all the day giving rounds on this. If anyone can give an alternate idea, (but not to simplify the task) it is great too.
Also, if you can point a site where there's a similar clasification is acceptable, too.
The thing is to have a very serious software clasification for this list.

Thanks in advance.

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Question by:fischermx
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Caseybea earned 2000 total points
ID: 12331316
This should help you with the definition of open source for your classification:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

Yes, I agree that you need to classify the software with a Matrix.  (For example, some software is both "free" for the simple version and "commercial" for the good version (i.e., 3dmark, Sandra, etc).   And yes, they have not given you nearly as many ways to break down as you really should.

My suggestions?

Licensing:
=============
Free (no limitations)
Free (licensing limitations, i.e., GNU)
Free (with ads) = "adware"
Free (timed demo)
Commercial
Shareware (trust system)
Shareware (limited functionality = "crippleware")


Source:
============
Available free
Available for a cost
Not available

I think you may want to be careful about over-using "open source" and GNU definitions, since they will ultimately complicate your clasification system.   Also, those definitions really more apply to the licensing....    What I mean by this is, GNU software is free.   Yes, there's licensing information that has to be distributed along with it, but that's it.  I sort of added this above.     Try to think of this in terms of "is it, or isn't it?.

Examples:

Winzip:  Availability-  I would clasdify this as Shareware (trust system).   [because you can download it and run forever, but you're SUPPOSED to pay for it.]    Source?   Not available.

And so on.    Use Microsoft Excel, and a column for each classification.   Checkboxes for those that apply.     Again, you need to break down the classification of each item where you can EASILY answer "yes this applies", or "no it does not".    I mean-- you have several THOUSAND packages to classify....  :-)


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by:fischermx
ID: 12360251
Thanks much for your hints.

I have been researching more on licensing and it is become a very complicated topic. So, we'll take a more simple approach. Yours fit perfect.

Regards,
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by:Caseybea
ID: 12361038
You're welcome.  Good luck with the project.......

If you're clever, you could serve up a list of the software packages in an internal web page, and set up a bunch of "radio buttons" to check the various classification columns.    

Of course, EXCEL or whatever works equally as good (and allows you to "export" the data in a comma-delinieated format, for later importation into a database or whatever......)

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