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Superdistribution: Objects as Property on the Electronic Frontier Paperback – May, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0201502084 ISBN-10: 0201502089 Edition: 1st

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Now that object-oriented technologies ranging from programming languages to graphical user interfaces to the WWW have made it feasible to manufacture readily transferable objects made of bits, what does it mean to buy, sell and own them? Brad Cox proposes "superdistribution" as a solution that allows software to flow freely without resistance from copy protection or piracy--a "charge as you play" model that will work well in a world of Java-like applets. A well-thought-out "modest proposal" from one of the founders of object-oriented programming.

From the Back Cover

0201502089B04062001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley Publishing Company; 1st edition (May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201502089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201502084
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,447,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
Superdistribution is the most important software engineering book of this decade. It is controversial, because it locates the difficulty of software engineering not in development processes or tools---the focus of 99% of the software engineering community---but in the way that software is bought and sold.

Cox's claim can be summarized in four points:
1. The reason that software is costly, of low quality, and difficult to construct is that we build it rather than assemble it from prebuilt components, the way that every other engineered
product is constructed. 2. the reason we build rather than assemble is that there is not a robust market for buying and selling components. 3. The reason there is not a robust market for components is that there is no standard mechanism for pay-per-use of components. 4. The reason there is no standard mechanism has to do with the difference between information and atoms

Get it? Neither did I at first. But I am conviced he is right about all four points.

Cox also offers a solution to this problem, a "superdistribution" mechanism that provides pay-per-use. But I think the real value of the book is its compelling explanation of the problem.

David Bridgeland

Powersim Corporation
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