Thursday, March 01, 2007

Where Does All the Dead Code Go?

Tax time is approaching, and I need to get a letter out to the remains of a company I worked for in order to show the IRS an attempt on my part to get a W2 (a tax form saying how much I earned, and how much tax was withheld) from a company that refused to pay its employees after services had already been rendered, and would have provided the W2s long ago if it intended to do so. (Lawyers have requested the unpaid salaries, and have been flatly refused, with silly finger-pointing exercises.)

Anyway, it's got me thinking: What a shame that presumably millions or even billions of lines of code basically sit out their days in closets in companies that go under. Is there already a foundation to which such code can be donated or sold for pennies?

It's not like such code has any value to the companies that no longer exist, and any potential for selling IP after a bankruptcy quickly declines, because old code quickly looses its relevance. People reuse tends to be much more highly valued than code reuse.

But, why not metaphorically flush the code into the Open Source repository, where it might just possibly get harvested? I did hear of code making into Open Source after a company goes bankrupt, but is there some company or foundation that makes it easy, painless, and maybe publicizes it?


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