FOSS 22

Recently I read an article “Unpacking the true cost of ‘free’ statistical software” in ORMS Today. I suspect this is on the web somewhere but behind a paywall. It’s an academic goat rope article, essentially one group of academics disagreeing with an earlier ‘cost’ analysis of FOSS stats (‘sadistics’)  software by another group of academics. The matter at hand is whether FOSS stats software (essentially limited to R by these objective academics) is really “cheaper”  than bought stats software (probably Minitab or some such.) 

There are lots of problems with this article. The context seems purely classroom and it never makes a good distinction whether the metric is the “teacher” learning the software or the students. But the main problem with it is that it misses the CATCH 22 of FOSS software:

FOSS software is easier to learn than paid software for people who know how to code, but may not be for those who can’t, the acomputate.

Do all college students know how to code? Probably not. All the nerds did in my day but that was almost exclusively STEMs. Nowadays, I am told, even UG STEMs can’t code. 

No wonder we are failing as a country, an economy, and a society.

Evidently this is something orthogonal to the minds of academics?

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