MolBio OS?

Rich Dudley rdudley+ at pitt.edu
Thu Mar 4 09:59:31 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.
> ---thanks for your assistance.
> Jeff

If you have a couple of computers you can use, I would call some software vendors
and get demos of their software.  Let all the PIs play around and go with what
they like the best.

I am partial to Windows machines, but I have extensive experience on Macs as
well.  Which way the wind is blowing depends on who you ask.  One thing's for
sure--don't look for a solution to carry you 10 years down the road.  In about
2-3 years, you'll have to completely replace everything anyway, since the
software and hardware will have improved so much.  Look past the emotions run
amok, and go with what suits your needs and the needs of the PIs the best.
Someone will always be hurt because their OS was insulted.  You'll get the same
crap about power drills, too.

We have a mixed department of Windows, Mac and Suns.  There isn't much trouble
transferring files between them using common formats and the network drives.
Mac's ANSI table is different than Windows, so you may have to go to a very low
common denominator sometimes--either way, you're in for a little reformatting.

I was fascinated by VectorNTI for Windows, as were a lot of people here.
However, since we get "free" access to GCG on the Pittsburgh Supercomputing
Center, we went with that.  GCG does have a WWW interface in the new version.
Haven't tried it yet, since PSC doesn't have it up yet.  They have a free demo,
as do a number of other companies.

Hope this helps.  If you need a few URLs for demos, let me know, and I'll passa
long what I've collected.


--- --- --- -- -- -- --- --- ---
Richard J. Dudley (rdudley+ at pitt.edu)
Research Specialist V
Dept. of Cell Biology and Physiology
University of Pittsburgh
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