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David A. Wheeler: Wikis


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David A. Wheeler (born 1965) is a computer scientist [1]. He is best known for his work on Open source software/Free-libre software (FLOSS or OSS/FS) and Computer security.


Open Source Software

In 2000, Wheeler self-published "Why Open Source Software / Free Software? Look at the Numbers!"[2], a collection of quantitative studies where he argued that considering FLOSS is justified. This article has been cited in over 80 scholarly works [3] and in government reports such as the 2004 report of the California Performance Review[4]. Wheeler further discussed issues in gathering quantitative data (related to the webpage) in a interview.[5].

In 2001, Wheeler published a webpage[6] where he measured the source lines of code of the Red Hat Linux distribution version 7.1. By applying conventional cost-estimating techniques, he concluded that it would cost more than a billion US Dollars to develop this distribution by conventional proprietary means. This work has inspired at least one person to measure other FLOSS systems, the Debian distribution[7].

In 2006, Wheeler posted "Nearly all FLOSS is Commercial".[8] on his webpage. This is a critical issue in U.S. federal government acquisitions, because the U.S. government has laws and policies that prefer the acquisition of commercial items. He argues that FLOSS is defined as commercial software by the government's own rules, and believes that no one else had clearly articulated that before.

Other works

In 1999 Wheeler released the book-formated webpage "Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO" [9]. It targeted software developers (instead of security experts) and talked about the specifics of how to develop secure programs, including how to avoid buffer overflows and cross-site scripting (XSS) in widely-used programming languages.

Wheeler has also developed a webpage that identifies what he believes to be the most important software innovations. [10]. He said that "humankind has been impacted by major new innovations in software technology... but the number of major new innovations is smaller than you might expect". At the end, he was amused that his own criteria for "the most important software innovations" listed only things first implemented as open source software, and nothing that have been created by Microsoft (as he singled out).

External Publications

Besides posting writings on his webpage, Wheeler has had some work published in at least two occasions (none of those related to open source software):

  • Wheeler David A., Brykczynski Bill, Meeson Reginald N.,Meeson Jr. Reginald N. (1996). Software Inspection: An Industry Best Practice. IEEE Computer Society Press. pp. 293. ISBN 0-8186-7340-0.  
  • Wheeler, David A. (1997). Ada 95: The Lovelace Tutorial. Springer. pp. 292. ISBN 0-387-94801-5.  


  1. ^ Raphaël Bauduin (2001). "A 'Secure Programming' interview" (html).  
  2. ^ Wheeler, David A. (2000). "Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS, FOSS, or FLOSS)? Look at the Numbers!" (html). Self-published on David's own webpage.  
  3. ^ "Google Scholar, citations of Wheeler: Why Open Source Software/Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!" (html).  
  4. ^ Schwarzenegger, Arnold (2004). "Explore Open Source Alternatives". The California Performance Review. State of California.  
  5. ^ 'Roblimo', Robin (2004-04-07). "How useful are 'proprietary vs. open source' TCO studies?" (html). Retrieved 2008-09-14.  
  6. ^ Wheeler, David A. (2001). "More than a Gigabuck: Estimating GNU/Linux's Size" (html). Self-published on David's own webpage.  
  7. ^ Amor-Iglesias, Juan-José; Jesús M. González-Barahona, Gregorio Robles-Martínez, and Israel Herráiz-Tabernero (June 2005). "Measuring Libre Software Using Debian 3.1 (Sarge) as A Case Study: Preliminary Results". Upgrade (Novática on behalf of CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies)) VI (3): 13–16. ISSN 1684-5285. Retrieved 2008-09-14.  
  8. ^ Wheeler, David A. (2006-2008). "Commercial” is not the opposite of Free-Libre / Open Source Software (FLOSS)" (html). Self-published on David's own webpage.  
  9. ^ Wheeler, David A. (1999-2003). "Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO" (html). Self-published on David's own webpage.  
  10. ^ Wheeler, David A. (2001-2008). "The Most Important Software Innovations" (html). Self-published on David's own webpage.  

External links



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