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Paper: A Study of Application Development under Proprietary and Open Source Systems
Volume: 281, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XI
Page: 202
Authors: Stobie, E. B.; de La Peña, M. D.
Abstract: Our experience has shown that utilization of either proprietary or open source software systems for application development can be a very enabling experience. The systems in consideration are IDL*, a stable, commercial software package initially developed for astronomical applications and Python**, a younger, evolving, Open Source system whose use in astronomy is growing rapidly. We will attempt to show from our perspectives some of the advantages and disadvantages of using these systems for application development. Both systems are interpreted programming languages which provide the user with powerful, and easy to use, interactive environments. They facilitate rapid prototyping, have accessible graphics and GUI capabilities, support an array of numerical functions, and can interface to compiled languages. The fundamental differences between the languages are manifested in the breadth and/or maturity of the available capabilities, and the accessibility to the underlying language structure. Whether to choose a commercial or open source product is entirely dependent upon the risk model of an individual or institution. A mature system can provide a sense of stability and security in time-tested functionality; an evolving system can provide cutting-edge technologies on a rapid timescale. Our experiences have taught us that it is most important to be aware of the systems available, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, so that we can choose the appropriate technology for the problem at hand. * IDL Interactive Data Language, is distributed by Research Systems, Inc. (RSI), a Kodak Company. ** Python was created by Guido van Rossum, 2001 Python Software Foundation.
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