MolBio OS?

Brian Fristensky frist at cc.umanitoba.ca
Wed Mar 3 21:20:35 EST 1999

Andreas Milton wrote:
> Actually I have experience with many OSes, but I am trying to make a decision
> that impacts a large group of people.  I want to accommodate all the
> essential applications used in Molecular Biology.  The problem I'm having is
> that  this field tends to be Mac and unix based.  However, my gut feeling is
> to go with Microsoft products because of the global acceptance of the windows
> environment.
> I understand that file formats are text based... and while that does make the
> migration of data quite seamless,  I am still having a problem researching
> what platforms people prefer in the lab...  I prefer Linux and Netscape....
> but I want to make an unbiased decision.

When I did set up my lab in 1990, I decided that is did NOT want
to support multiple OSes, not just because of the knowledge
and time required to master and work with each different OS,
but also because I wanted to avoid fragmentation of data. That
is, I didn't want data scattered across different machines,
in different versions and formats. I wanted wanted things
to be easily accessible across a network.

I chose Sun Unix, and have been enjoying it ever since.
Our lab runs on the thin client model, where everything resides
on the server, and people login via X-terminals. There's
no such thing as hard disk crashses destroying data, no
competetion to get onto a particular PC that has important
data or programs. Anyone can do anything from any terminal.

I won't go into all the details for it, because I have
an entire Web site on the subject:


P.S. One response to this post suggested that it may not
be necessary to consider whether Mol. Bio. programs 
ran on your desktop OS, because everything was available
at Web sites anyway. I couldn't disagree more. Web
browsers are convenient for Web browsing, but the
Web interface is extremely limited, compared to a
fully integrated desktop. For anything other than the
most trivial tasks with a single sequence, you
need the convenience
of being able to work with locally-installed software
in your own directory hierarchy.

Brian Fristensky                |  What a vast abyss
Department of Plant Science     |  can separate falutist from cadenza
University of Manitoba          |  huffing maker from the vial made,
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2  CANADA    |  the lover and the kiss.
frist at cc.umanitoba.ca           |  
Office phone:   204-474-6085    |    Phyllis Janowitz (1996)  
FAX:            204-261-5732    |    His Apologia Pro Ratiocination
http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~frist/  THE LAUREL REVIEW 30(1) 

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