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David A. Wheeler

David A. Wheeler

David A. Wheeler (born 1965) is a computer scientist. He works on open source software, free-libre software, and computer security.

Open Source Software

In 2000, Wheeler self-published "Why Open Source Software / Free Software? Look at the Numbers!", a text where he argued that considering free and open-source software (FOSS) is justified. According to Google Scholar, this article has been cited over 400 times in other scholarly works and in the 2004 report of the California Performance Review. Wheeler was interviewed about his webpage by

In 2001, Wheeler published a study arguing that it would cost more than a billion United States dollars to develop Red Hat Linux—a FOSS—by conventional proprietary means. As part of his methodology, he measured the source lines of code of the operating system and applied conventional cost-estimating techniques. The work inspired one person to measure other FOSS systems, such as the Debian distribution.

In 2006, Wheeler posted "Nearly all FLOSS is Commercial" on his webpage. This is a critical issue in U.S. federal government acquisitions, because the U.S. government has laws and policies that prefer the acquisition of commercial items. He argues that FLOSS is defined as commercial software by the government's own rules, and believes that no one else had clearly articulated that before him.

External Publications

Besides posting writings on his webpage, Wheeler has had some work published in at least two occasions (none of those related to open source software):

Wheeler David A.; Brykczynski Bill; Meeson Reginald N.; Meeson Jr. Reginald N. (1996). Software Inspection: An Industry Best Practice. IEEE Computer Society Press. p. 293. ISBN 0-8186-7340-0.

Wheeler, David A. (1997). Ada 95: The Lovelace Tutorial. Springer. p. 292. ISBN 0-387-94801-5.


David A. Wheeler was born.


Further Resources

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