michael.baron at bbsrc.ac.uk wrote:
: Dr. Duncan Clark wrote:
: > In article <530dgf$ptg at dismay.ucs.indiana.edu>, Don Gilbert
: > <gilbertd at bio.indiana.edu> writes
: > >My impression though is
: > >that Macintoshes remain the most widely used, and despite recent
: > >problems at Apple computer, Macs remain a very viable system that
: > >users of them find compelling. Wintel systems are catching up somewhat.
: > That may be the case in the US but here in the UK I know umpteen
: > academic labs with PC's but can only think of the odd one with Mac's.
: > just an observation.
: > This may be because many UK institutions are pressured to follow an
: institute policy, set by non-users. Our own site, like many, has
: to follow the official BBSRC line of using Wintel machines, despite the
: privately expressed preference of some of the IT staff for the MacOS
: platform. Such a policy probably originated years ago, simply on the case
: that a DOS-box was cheaper than a Mac, and the people making the decision
: had secretaries to use the machines (;-)). Once such policies are made,
: they tend to be set in stone.
Guess I'll add my 0.02c worth too! My experience in the US is that the
generation that is coming through now has been heaviliy influenced by
high school use of Macs, and they *really* often don't like to use PC's at
all in regard to lab work. Though I do come across pockets of windows
users, my experience is that most all the groups that I have worked with
or had dealings with are heavily Mac based. For this reason, the
availablity of good (and hopefully free) molecular biology software for
the Mac is very important. If I had a nickel for every lab that I had seen
relying totally on the use of an ancient copy of 'DNA STRIDER', I would be
a rich man. The problem with this apparent imbalance of platform is that
Windows has some really excellent software development tools written for
it, whilst the Mac relies on fewer (and in my experience less featured)
software IDE's. I can put together a relatively complex windows program in
a matter of minutes (OK, maybe an hour!) using a combination of VB and
VC++; The Mac has no such simple Software IDE (Though MS is threatening to
release such a beast soon). This is attested to by looking at the software
releases announced in this newsgroup by science groups; the majority of
this is Windows based.