08 August 2006

Reasons Not to Use Closed Source: No. 471

I've written a couple of times about cases that demonstrate graphically why closed source software is a Bad Thing, but even they pale somewhat beside this story.

The robot that parks cars at the Garden Street Garage in Hoboken, New Jersey, trapped hundreds of its wards last week for several days. But it wasn't the technology car owners had to curse, it was the terms of a software license.

A dispute over the latter meant that the software simply stopped working. And since it was closed source, nothing could be done about it. The results were dramatic:

The Hoboken garage is one of a handful of fully automated parking structures that make more efficient use of space by eliminating ramps and driving lanes, lifting and sliding automobiles into slots and shuffling them as needed. If the robot shuts down, there is no practical way to manually remove parked vehicles.

I bet the garage owners wished they'd chosen open....

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