Weaknesses of Microsoft.

Brian Fristensky frist at cc.umanitoba.ca
Wed Nov 11 20:33:36 EST 1998

John Mihic wrote:
> In article <3648F07D.4DA70F50 at cc.umanitoba.ca>, frist at cc.umanitoba.ca says...

> Very interesting post.  I think that when it's all said and done, the major
> factor in whether a particular program or operating system works for you is
> whether or not it can do what you want done, without too much screwing around.
> For example, in my lab we do a fair bit of mutagenesis and then farm out
> confirmatory sequencing.  The first time I got one of those sequencing files
> back, I realized it was going to be a MAJOR pain to look at these by hand, so I
> wrote a QuickBasic (version 4 to boot!) program that takes in sequencing files,
> translates them and then spits out amino acid & nucleotide sequence files that
> my sequence alignment software can read.  Sure I'm still using a prehistoric
> language to write code, but I'm doing so because it works, and it's not worth
> my time to try and figure out Visual Basic or C++ [I'll bet my Chairman thinks
> it's a better use of my time to write grants :-) ].  This program is running on
> NT and I can't imagine it running any faster on any other operating system.
Development of a quick and dirty tool that does just what you
want, and nothing more, is something you can do on any system.
There are plenty of PERL programmers out there who would say that
it would have been just as easy or easier to do it in PERL.
(By the way, I'm pretty sure there are BASIC interpreters 
for Unix, although, interestingly, you never hear about
people using them.)

Those things being equal, there are a lot of other 'convenience'
issues that, in my opinion, make Unix the system of choice
for even these 'quickie' programs. For example, it helps to have
good command line tools,
such as grep, sort, sed etc. that let you test whether you
are getting correct output. Many of the multitasking issues
I brought up in my previous post also apply here. You have an
editor with your code in one window, run the progam in 
another window, look at output in another. Yes, you could have
multiple 'DOS' windows open on an NT platform, but the 
seemingly minor look and feel aspects of Windows makes it
flow less smoothly than it would under most X11 window
managers. If nothing else, with Unix, you have a choice
of quite a large number of different window managers (CDE,
OpenWindows, KDE, FVWM, GNU OpenStep, and more) so you
can make your own choice as to what constitutes a 'convenient'

> to answer your question, you can do science on NT (although my type of mol.
> bio. work is not nearly the most sophisticated).  NT may not be the most
> efficient operating system, and for comparison my Unix experience is limited,
> but I am somehow blundering along.
> So, looking forward to winter in Manitoba?  I grew up in Toronto, and don't
> miss the snow and ice storms one bit!
Looking _forward_! It's HERE already. But that's okay, because it
means that hockey season has started...

>John Mihic, Ph.D.
>Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
>Wake Forest University School of Medicine
>Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1083
Here's the funny part. I did a postdoc in Raleigh,
and my wife and I always complained about how we
missed having 'real winters'. Oy vey!

Brian Fristensky                |  
Department of Plant Science     |  
University of Manitoba          |  All kings is mostly rapscallions.
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2  CANADA    |  
frist at cc.umanitoba.ca           |
Office phone:   204-474-6085    |  Mark Twain (1835-1910)  
FAX:            204-261-5732    |

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