Draft of text for Sources instructions.

Una Smith unasmith at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Sun Jan 12 14:28:54 EST 1992

Someone wrote:

>> My guess is that bionet.software.sources hasn't taken off as much as
>> we had hoped because it doesn't have a corresponding BIOSCI list ...

kristoff at genbank.bio.net (David Kristofferson) answered:

>hmm ... but there are e-mail servers at U of H and EMBL for this
>purpose.  The USENET software.sources group has already been
>criticized for excessive use of network bandwidth (although I think
>this group is defensible against that charge).  I'm not sure I would
>feel the same way about adding a mailing list when servers are already
>in place.

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.  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

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