Unlike Facebook or Yahoo!, Google is loath to open source its back-end software. For many, this is a sore point, as the search giant has built its famously distributed infrastructure atop countless open source tools fashioned outside the walls of the Googleplex. But Mountain View does give back in less-direct ways. In some cases …
A good thing ?
"... for processing enormous online graphs, such as a map of the web itself, or of a social network, graphing relationships between people."
Who ordered this anyway ? It sounds like it might cause a bit of social upheaval in other areas.
(ducks, runs for cover screaming 'discuss, please, don't just do it!')
Google's 2010 paper
You included a link where you have to pay a fee to download the paper.
But the paper itself quite clearly states:
"Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page."
Is The Register on commission?
Download it for free for personal use at the following link:
You misunderstand academic publishing
It's an ACM paper (or rather, SIGMOD is an ACM conference). The ACM doesn't publish academic papers for the love of it, but as a source of revenue to support the organisation. At my institution, we subscribe to the ACM Digital Library (£££, but still less than subscribing to something like Elsevier's Science Direct).
Like it or not, the majority of the peer-reviewed academic literature is not free to access. Yes, open access journals and author/institutional self-archiving are making some inroads, but it's still completely acceptable for an article on the Reg to be linking to the *canonical* version of an academic paper.
"But Mountain View does give back in less-direct ways."
Like buying a codec in order to give it away?
I hate to spring to the defence of a company so obviously evil as Google, :), but credit where it's due (and a hundred million dollars is a lot of credit).
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