*Actually the thinking was that we expected grants to dry up (and so we'd
*be out of a job) unless there's enough income to fund the development. So
*goal was simply to _secure_ the long term future of the package. OK so
*it completely GPLed would possibly secure the package even more (assuming
*anyone else wished to maintain it), but it certainly wouldn't secure our
*(only 1 person in the group has a permanent position). So there is indeed
*element of self interest here :)
*This isn't hypothetical either. Due to the funding shift from "sequencing"
*"analysis" (afterall we all 'know' that all the sequencing has been done
*and so it's not worth investing any money in it...) the group was infact
*unfunded for a few months as Rodger was finding it very hard to obtain a
*grant. (The typical response was "you're work is valuable, but we're now
*focusing on genome analysis".) The group would have dissolved and further
*development of the Staden Package would have ceased if it was not for
*(ie 'here') stepping in and kindly paying our salaries for a few months
*we obtained a new grant. I don't think MRC particularly like the thought of
*doing that sort of thing on a regular basis though - hence the
*commercialisation on Windows.
I am actually quite disheartened to see Staden package going in the line of
GCG. It has definitely the potential of becoming the defacto standard for
sequence analysis on a desktop, particularly when windows lacks a suite of
free, standard, dependable package. I guess some drastic measures like Amos
Bairoch did for Swiss-prot is required to keep it public domain. More
saddening part is that it has been there for quite a long time and funding
agencies should realize its importance. A government initiative should solve
the problem. But earlier initiative like *Prophet* lost the game on the way
and *Emboss* has a long way to go.
Sometimes I feel it is quite easy to get funding in countries like India,
where I must say government has been quite liberal in funding projects. My
only hope Rodger goes to *public*, literally for funding and initiate an
international effort to keep the project beyond the clutches of any control
and make it GPL. I guess a GPLed Staden will wash out any other commercial
sequence analysis program.
What we require is just a push and some strong intention.
Malay Kumar Basu
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
I N D I A
Dime: a dollar with all the taxes taken out.
curiouser at ccmb.ap.nic.in