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April 27, 2023
The Open Source Argument

“Closed” source versus “open” source systems can be traced back to the Roman Empire (at least).

In ill-fated Pompeii, well-preserved chariot tracks demonstrate a closed-source approach. The gauge of the tracks was a standard which—as the tour guides will tell you—forced visitors to the city to rent a custom chariot to fit the tracks.

In our early days, SUPERSTRUCTURES used Pro 350 desktops computers made by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). They were technologically far superior to anything else on the market at the time, but their “closed” operating system limited available software.

DEC was soon eclipsed by IBM, whose PCs were slower, but with their open system, had far more software available. Not coincidentally, closed-source DEC is now defunct.

Unlike the IBM / DEC example, our open-source construction documents set the standard and are technically advanced as well. They’re “open source” in the sense that they’re readily understandable by any contractor worth its salt (a phrase of Roman origin, by the way).

This is essential for public projects which are open to any contractor that wishes to bid—not just the favorites of the design professional.

While we value the proprietary systems and technologies we’ve developed, such as SurfaceCaptureSM and our Asset Information Management (AIM) system, we favor open-source deliverables for the benefit of our contractors and clients.

From a purely business perspective, there have been advantages to both open- and closed-source technologies. But in the digital age with no chariots in sight, open source wins the day.

SUPERSTRUCTURES Engineers + Architects

14 Wall Street, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10005
(212) 505 1133


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