Open source and the flow of information

July 25, 2008

Toli of Marketcetera makes an interesting point about open source trading system – that the openness of the code base means that end users can make changes without having to show them to anyone else, whether vendors or peers. If you’re developing proprietary trading features, that’s a telling point.

But I think Toli’s point doesn’t quite give us the whole story. How does an end user of an open source system get to the point where they can successfully hack the code ?  Quite often they’ll have to ask questions on a mailing list of peer developers. In the case of Marketcetera those peer developers will be Marketcetera’s own team as well as developers at buy side firms and dealers. Asking questions will reveal information to competing firms…


One Response to “Open source and the flow of information”

  1. I am Toli’s co-founder here at Marketcetera… You make a good point, in that at the end of the day, if you need more information, you need more information. You have several options for support, in addition to the public forums, we can provide commercial support that remains confidential, or if you have a trusted software development partner, they may be able to help you as well.

    But really I think the most important point is that you control the tradeoff between your investigation effort and disclosure to a third party. That is, because you have access to the source, often your questions can be much more targeted, and disclose nothing about trading strategies, or even asset classes. With most proprietary vendors, you’re locked in to describing every last detail of your bug report or feature request.

    And if you really want to get cloak and dagger, post anonymously from a free email account, use an anonymizing Tor network… we’ll still respond as quickly as we can.

    Thanks for your interest.

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