Time Expired Software!

C. J. Fields cfields at gab.unt.edu
Sat Jan 25 02:46:33 EST 1997

> Listen, I am *really* not trying to piss anyone off. I think we agree on
> most things - actually, I'm not sure exactly how we *dis*agree...

The disagreement lies in the misconception that any lab can get these
programs.  The disagreement lies also in the fact that, in order to
publish in a highly regarded journal (Gene, J. Bact., etc.), your
results must be 'publishable', and most freeware isn't able to do this. 

BTW, the original message has nothing to do with the present argument
(i.e. you are right).  However, that doesn't diminish the argument
itself.  Commercial software, esp. for molecular biology is way too
overpriced (come on, $3000 for a program that can't be networked and
requires a passkey?).  The only package I've seen that seems to be worth
the high price is GCG, and even that is coming under fire (no source
codes are being released in the new version).  At least with GCG you can
network it for less than $10000 (I think about $4600, to be exact), so
maybe the entire school, and not just one lab, can benefit.  I'm truly
surprised that they don't dominate the market with their package.  

I don't disagree with the fact that if a guy sells a program for a high
price and people by it, he's taking advantage of researchers' needs
(they could always go elsewhere, if they know better).  I just don't
think that someone can justify putting a $3000 pricetag onto what is
basically a collection of freeware programs made "prettier" (even when
licensing is involved).

Justify the price for PC-GENE, which, to be quite frank, is a piece of
crap (in my humble opinion).  It costs about $2500 for a DOS interface
and graphics that are, for the price tag, substandard compared with
other programs, even the freeware programs.  Then maybe I'll change my
mind.  As for now, I'm recommending GCG for my department to use, so at
least others get a chance to use some good analysis software.
C. J. "I'm not a GCG saleman" Fields
Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences
The University of North Texas
Denton, TX 

email : cfields at gab.unt.edu

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