[Edu-sig] open net sci gov mil biz edu art

Jason Cunliffe jason.cunliffe at verizon.net
Sat Dec 20 14:23:34 EST 2003

Following the recent VB thread a little more..

It would seem that in science and Internet applications especially, open
source is the dominant model.
>From web servers to distributed biotech Genome libraries, open source and
Linux are becoming the natural best choice.

In showbiz, Linux is also hard at work, witness big budget special effects
rendering farms etc. [LOTR et alia].
Similar in many ways to Gnome collaborative data mining and visualization.

Both of these domains marry needs of rapid interoperability with often
proprietary cutting edge software development. FX houses may be using open
toolkits, but they guard their competitive edge and secrets closely. As do
the Biotech programmers. There is hot symbiosis where openSource academia
distances itself from often closed business.

 An article in latest Biotech World magazine is an interview with Zachary
Zimmerman a geneticist at Princeton:


-Learning the Language of Systems Biology-

"...We have always been writing our own software. The vendors have always
been lagging behind what we see as state of the art. Where we do use
commercial software, we have already worked out the algorithms and have
something that works, then for various reasons some vendor is motivated to
run faster, run on more platforms, etc. The axon scanner is good example:
GenePix is much improved and better engineered version of something that
Mike Eisen wrote in our lab. So the vendors make their money not from us but
the pharmas [pharmaceutical companies].
   To a large extent, their systems are weakened by being closed, not
open-source, and unnecessarily restrictive in access and by being expensive.
As a result, if you have the kind of tools for writing your own software,
[that is] the disincentive to pay a lot of money so one of your guys can
work on one terminal, on the kind of computer your don't really like to
support. So if you have bright students, who in a few days can work up
something pretty robust is C or Java, why would you use those (expensive
commercial) things? So we don't. Most state-of-the-art places don't use the
commercial stuff. It's also the same reason we made our own microarrays -- 
because we do better for less, and the really good stuff we just couldn't

It seems in the US, regular  business, Government and K-12 education are
still the weighty slow holdouts for MSwindows and often legacy VB use.

Science, Art, Internet and higher ed have all  moved to open platforms and
[python friendly] programming.

I wonder what the tools/platform US military mainly uses now, and what their
information architecture plans are?
[oops! Alt+Ctrl+Del the invasion]

Since Governments in Asia are now leading the Linux shift, higher and lower
ed will presumably soon be in sync, and many business will soon be well
motivated to follow.

Good days ahead for Python programmers [and similar] globally in schools at
all ages, and the general workplace.

- Jason

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