Draft of text for Sources instructions.

Foteos Macrides MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET
Mon Jan 13 10:54:00 EST 1992

>In general, I think software should not be distributed via USENET or
>straight email subscription lists either.  These files are so large that
>they really do constitute a burden on the network and should be sent
>only to users who want those specific items.  USENET was an answer to
>the bandwitdh problems created by many, many users (often clustered at
>particular sites) getting the same email.  The distribution of .sources
>newsgroups is the same problem, but on another order of magnitude.
>Before discussing further the merits of a BIONET subscription list for
>software, how about conducting a survey to determine how many
>subscribers are subscribed because they don't have access to USENET
>services versus those who don't have INTERNET access.  I would be very
>surprised if more than 5% of all readers have neither USENET nor
>INTERNET access.

        How many BIOSCI/BITNET folks are there with neither INTERNET nor
USENET access -- through no fault of their own -- don't write them off.

>                  It might be appropriate to have a BIONET subscription
>list *about* software:  what's new, where to get it, etc., but without
>carrying source codes themselves.
>Una Smith

        How about this suggestion.

        Dan earlier indicated that thanks to recent upgrading, the Gene-Server
now has "disk space to burn (at least this week :-)" but he would prefer that
it remain a primarily Email distribution site and that IUBIO and FUNET remain
the more comprehensive FTP sites for molbio and related software.  So, the
moderators could place the actual sources only on the archives, and instead of
sources, in a bionet/BIOSCI forum post only the README portion and an
indication of were to get the software, i.e., some or all of the FTP sites and
via Email from the Gene-Server.  Thus, everyone could subscribe to be promptly
informed about the software's availability and its nature (more detailed than
what you get with the server's INDEX command), and those presently stuck on
the BITNET "donkey-cart" or on Internet without FTP could use the Gene-Server
to get only that software they DO want -- which is a justifiable use of email.
Those on Internet with FTP can be expected to use the more efficent protocol
to get the software, and this method of getting it will increase naturally as
additional sites get on the Internet.

        If this were done, we could also create a bionet/BIOSCI "extension"
forum for discussing the software sources per se (i.e., from programmer's,
system manager's, hacker's and database developer's perspectives) without
bothering readers of bionet.software/BIO-SOFT who don't care about the inner
working of the software and details of database organizations  The only actual
code posted to the discussion forum would be short examples, if appropriate.

        Even if the current organization of bionet.software.sources is
retained, a "just the README portion and archiving locations (announce?)"
forum and the specialized discussion forum, both with Email homologs, would be
desireable (IMHO).


 Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
 MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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