DNA Workbench for X-windows

John Barton jjb at watson.ibm.com
Wed Nov 9 10:23:59 EST 1994

In article <39omfe$h6e at scunix2.harvard.edu>, robison1 at fas.harvard.edu (Keith Robison) writes:
|> mathog at seqvax.caltech.edu (David Mathog) writes:
|> >Looking the gift horse straight in the mouth...
|> >Speaking as a harried system(s) manager, would all you developers please make
|> >a real effort to not develop on top of layer after layer of semiportable
|> >software?  I get really tired of having to install 2, 3, or 4 pieces of 
|> >software just to get the desired program running.  More often than not, 
|> >the requisite version of one of the support packages won't work on one
|> >platform or another (yes, especially VMS).  
|> >I suggest that grant reviewers going through applications that include
|> >software development, make sure that the project employs the rules that are
|> >put forth below.  It will save us all some money and insure that any tools
|> >developed are available to the largest number of users. 
|> >Portable software, which is relatively ulcer free in terms of installation
|> >and porting, adheres to the following guidelines:
|> Any standards run the risk of being straightjackets.  I also find installation
|> horribly hairy, but as a programmer I also don't like such restrictive 
|> requirements.
    In addition, this suggestion could backfire: without support, new
approaches to software development will die.  "It must be univerisally
portable" would have killed the WWW effort at CERN and Mosaic could not
have been developed under such restrictions.  What's more, if you insist
on portable software, be prepared to switch to DOS/Windows/Intel: is
that what you want?

    Rather than attack the support of innovative software, wouldn't it
be better to support innovation in software that promotes portability
and to support money for adapting software to make it more portable?
Grant money flows for publications, rarely for software: when this
changes, portability will come quickly.


John J. Barton        jjb at watson.ibm.com            (914)784-6645
H1-C13 IBM Watson Research Center P.O. Box 704 Hawthorne NY 10598

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