James McIninch james at amber.gatech.edu
Thu Jul 28 11:23:18 EST 1994

In article dpv at netnews.upenn.edu, smoore at mail.sas.upenn.edu (Sean David Moore) writes:
>Here's a question....:
>	Why does it cost so damn much to get software for the PC (or MAC)
>to do DNA sequence analysis? --
>1)  Complex programs such as AUTO-CAD..far more complex than programs I've
>seen for sale commercially..cost 700 bucks TOPS!

That is for a single user license for non-commercial use. If you plan to
use Auto-CAD for multiple users, on a network, or for commercial (also
academic use), a site license for the software costs anywhere from $20,000
to $100,000 (actually, academic licenses are about 30% of that, still not
as cheap as buying it for yourself.

The situation is generally the same for DNA analysis software, though
they're more likely to be dealing with labs alone and not individuals.

i.e., I have a program I wrote available from the Georgia Tech Research
Corporation for DNA sequence analysis. For commercial users, a single user
license is $300, for academic users the cost is $10 (you have to prove
you're with an academic institution, the $10 covers shipping for the
disks and the school's administrative costs).

>2)  Less complex software..such as Word/Excel....Lotus...wordperfect...
>again probably as complex as those programs cost a couple of hundred all

Not if you bought them as part of a company or school (I think Tech pays
about $25,000 to put Excel on our local network). Even if you just put it
on one machine, the fact that it is used by an institution rather than
an individual makes it cost a fortune.

>- now i realize we're dealing with a small market...
>and it does cost quite a bit to have some group of programmers write
>software for a topic they have no interest in...

That is cheap, all things considering. You might note that most of those
companys give VERY large discounts to universities and people who enter
into technology exchange agreements with them.

>I think that the software industry is taking advantage of the
>grant-writewr's money...sucking up to places such as the NIH for large
>contracts...telling them that there is nothing better available....

This is standard practice not only in the software but in other
industries as well (for instance, corporate labs pay more for the same
equipment than universities).

>I think is should be stated in the funding contracts that the purchasing 
>of such  overly inflated....over-rated software packages be prohibited!

Won't work. Most purchasing departments and grant recipients are aware
of how the market works and where they fit into it.

>Sean Moore
>VAMC Philadelphia,
>Medical College of Pennsylvania,
>and the University of Pennsylvania...
>smoore at sas.upenn.edu

- James
  james.mcininch at amber.gatech.edu

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