Water Resources Modeling Tools - Open Source Code versus Proprietary Software
The water resources engineering community has available an array of computer models that can be applied to support analysis, planning and design of water resources systems. Some models are software that reside in the public domain as open source code; some models are commercial software for which the source code is the proprietary property of its owner. In selecting a model for use in supporting their work, water resources engineers are therefore faced with a basic choice - to use a public domain model, or a model that is commercial software. There are many factors that must be considered when making this choice. Careful consideration of the relevant factors reveals that there are many benefits of open source software that favor the use of public domain models. In addition to the selection of software on an individual basis, there are also a number of factors that water resources engineers should consider from the broader perspective of the benefits to their profession in supporting the continued advancement of public domain models. The various factors that should be considered are identified and evaluated.
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