Documenting kernel code provenance
Posted May 27, 2004 9:26 UTC (Thu) by james
Parent article: Documenting kernel code provenance
I don't think that these efforts are aimed so much at last year's war as a repeat performance in twenty or thirty years time.
Most hackers tend to be relatively young. I don't think anyone has done a statistical survey of hackers' life expectancies, but I suspect they're more likely to look after themselves than Joe Average.
So an average piece of code written by an individual for themselves will probably be under copyright for over fifty years of their lifetime plus seventy years (assuming the copyright laws don't change again).
It's hard to tell how useful current code will be then, but successful computer systems have a tendency to far outlive their creators' expectations, as we found out in the years before 2000.
On the other hand, statistically, some will die in the next twenty / thirty / N years (we've lost a couple of Debian developers in the past couple of weeks) and more will become difficult to trace.
It's probable that people will still want to be able to prove the provenance of code. These efforts will at least let them know the questions to ask.
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