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GCG user support

Eitan Rubin bcrubin at dapsas1.weizmann.ac.il
Mon Jul 22 09:11:42 EST 1996

In article <1996Jul16.190942.27653 at comp.bioz.unibas.ch>,
doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch (Reinhard Doelz) wrote:

   Being familiar with the "free-lunch" problem RD raises, I have to
disagree with him. I have been providing free of charge GCG support
through the internet inside BioMOO, where I have a GCG help desk. While
answering only few inquiries, I managed to organize a small group of
volunteers who are willing to supply free lunches to people. The room is
not aimed only as a support tool - I hope to make it a place for every GCG
user to come and exchange news and views, pick up (or drop) some tips,
etc. Farthermore, the internet is practically packing with information and
gadgets connecting to GCG and sequence analysis.
  I do agree that writing an all-in-one comprehensive manual is an
expensive task. I simply don't belive such a manual should be written by
anyone but the Wisconsin group. Site specific support should be given
in-house. More general info is, will be, or should be available through
the internet, through this newsgroup, or through the mailing list which
was purposed.
  I fully support the idea, although I do not have the *technical*
knowledge required to set it up.
   Eitan Rubin.

P.S. To get to the GCG help desk:
1. telnet bioinfo.weizmann.ac.il 8888
2. connect as a guest or as a BioMOO member (BioMOO is open to all biologists).
3. type: go GCG help
4. look around and talk to poeple (my name there is EitanR).

> Francois, 
> the need for customization of such a 'central' core documentation will make 
> it difficult to have the material collected. Some of us are on VMS, 
> some on UN**X, and a very wide range of add-ons, utilities and 
> site-specific scripts are provided which make 'life easier' - but are 
> not standardized. I have seen people getting quite confused as they switched 
> from one site to the other and recognized that their GCG as they knew it 
> is suddenly behaving differently - the core database was embl with genbank
> exclusion rather than the other way round, and the setplot was different, 
> and the x-server was another product, etc. etc ... all these small oddities 
> which make a tutorial handy suddenly didn't behave any longer. 
> Having realized this, I developed a language for getting site-specific 
> modifications in a C-similar syntax (it's just a set of site-specific files 
> that got included) and some simple structures for marking up text for latex, 
> html and rtf. The reference is on bioftp.unibas.ch in the survival directory
>  (please be patient and look around there, I am no longer working at this 
> site but I just checked and all the formats of the 3.11 version are still 
> there) or CABIOS 11 (1995), 224-226. 
> Despite the desire to get the colleagues of the community involved the 
> initiative was only partially a success as I added a "shareware" clausel
> which should enable private use for free but have site use charged for 
> $300 if approved for exposure in a site-specific fashion. Either 
> the money was found to be too expensive for the return or I (or the 
> publisher, in turn) got involved in rather nasty discussions and debates
> with colleagues who thought that there is a right to get a free lunch in 
> academia.
> I am currently writing on the new version and we'll see how the next 
> cycle develops. However, I strongly believe that writing tutorials 
> in a fashion which can be used by more than one site is a fairly difficult 
> (because expensive, in terms of resources) exercise. Unless there 
> is some refunding based on the success of a product there's little
chance that 
> the product can be maintained unless it is sponsored by public funding. 
> Having lived in that world for the past decade, we have to realize that 
> funding for infrastructural tools is more than difficult to obtain and 
> existing sites have a very hard time to survive. Any effort is appreciated - 
> if affordable, and unfortunately it is less and less affordable. 
> regards
> Reinhard 
> -- 
> Reinhard Doelz, Basel, Switzerland

Eitan Rubin, Plant Genetics, Weizmann Inst. of Science
Phone: (972)-8-9342421
Email: bcrubin at dapsas1.weizmann.ac.il
                  Shalom Haverim

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