Evaluating the Harm from Closed-Source Healthcare Software

Ben Collier | Radical Data | June 10, 2012

In a fantastic article on his blog at http://esr.ibiblio.org/, Eric S. Raymond, author of "The Cathedral and The Bazaar" goes to some lengths to quantify the damages and costs of using closed-source software in an organisation.

It stands to reason that some kinds of software carry more of a risk when you can't get access to the source-code. For example, you'd not be particularly bothered if you couldn't see the code which ran your microwave, but the code that runs (for example) communications software would be better off open - you don't want the original authors snooping on what you're up to.

I'd like to go over some of the themes which Raymond covers in his blog, and look at how they touch on the sphere of healthcare software. In his piece (go and read it!), the dangers of using closed source software are broken down into a number of groups...