X-Windows, InterViews, and molecular biology software

Christopher Dow dow at presto.ig.com
Fri Feb 15 18:02:47 EST 1991

In article <1991Feb15.202358.1984 at cs.umn.edu>, brsmith at cs.umn.edu (Brian
R. Smith) writes:
> In <Feb. at presto.ig.com> dow at presto.ig.com
(Christopher Dow) writes:
> >	On the issue of C++:
> >	Currently, in most available implimentations, C++ is a 
> >translated language.
> Get g++ and gdb.  G++ is a native C++ compiler (NOT a translator), and
> gdb has c++ debugging support built in (recent versions, anyway).  See
> their manuals for complete details.
	Unless, of course, you wish to _eat_ by selling what you write
(my .sig ins wholly unambiguous).  The Free Software Foundation makes
it clear that they do not want, and can leagally prevent you from, 
using their software for commercial software

> >[...] Also, C code generated by C++ translators is not known for its
> >speed.  Searching a 30 MegaBase chromosome is not something you want
> >to do with a program that was written in C++.
> Depends on the program, methinks.  You can, after all, write straight
> C code and compile it with a C++ compiler if you like.  I'm of the
> opinion that well-written C++ should be *faster* than comparable C
> code - because the function disambiguation and subclassing takes place
> at compile time.  I don't have any numbers to back me up, though.
	I wont argue this point with someone whose .sig leads me to
believe he is a professor of computer science ;-).

> >	On the issue of X: 
> >X is a very large system (the Sever is about 2 MegaBytes on a Sun
> >workstation), so the number of platforms it can be ported to is small
> >(i.e., no 8080's and it won't work well with 8088's).
> Hmmm.  My server (Xsun) is only at 1.3meg right now.  That's smaller
> than my editor!  (GNU emacs, of course - ok, it's a little bloated)
> Still, that's not *large* for a Unix system.  No, it's not going to
> run on an ancient PC, but most Unix workstations being produced now
> can deal with it (and many have it pre-installed, in some form).
	Some in this thread have mentioned specific platforms which 
will not support X server software.  However, I do stand corrected,
as my X11R4 server is 704K (What did you do to make it so big?).
> >	On the specific case of InterViews:
> >	InterViews is a nice academic environment.  By academic, I
> >mean unsupported.  If something goes wrong either you have to fix it,
> >or wait until the author does (this is from experience).
> The same is true of the free distribution of X available from MIT.
> BUT, when you have source code (and when the software is that well
> written and tested), support isn't as much of an issue.  Also, if I
> remember correctly, the X Consortium is adopting InterViews as the
> default X-C++ interface.  I'm unsure of the exact details, but such a
> move would place InterViews right alongside X as a standard.
	However, it is much cheaper to purchase commercially developed
software than to hire a programmer to support it.  We are talking about
biologists, and I don't think too many biology-related curicula require
the coursework or experience needed to support such systems.

> >I hope that the two main groups working to standardize Unix and
> >Unix-like operating systems (Unix International and the Open Software
> >Foundation) will take the needs of users to be able to maintain the
> >system into account, and I know that NeXT already has.
> Funny, that: NeXT doesn't even allow you to use X as the default
> windowing system.  You have to run it (at best) in a window under
> NeXTStep.  I don't consider that very helpful.
	Never said it did.  I'm just saying that I believe they have
a better approach to running a unix-like system than others, and I 
wish that UI and OSF would make creating this type of system a 

> --
> Brian
> brsmith at cs.umn.edu                <This space intentionally left
almost blank.>

Chris Dow                             IntelliGenetics
Software Engineer                     700 East El Camino Real
icbmnet: 37 22' 39" N, 122 3' 32" W   Mountain View, Ca. 94040
dow at presto.ig.com                     (415) 962-7320

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