Is 9.0 a net minus vs. 8.1?

Chad Price cprice at molbio.unmc.edu
Tue Jan 28 11:00:00 EST 1997

One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread and which I am
to be the case is that some of the  folks writing here seem to use GCG
a research tool in algorithms and basically support only themselves -
they have the inclination and need to constatnly twiddle with source to 
make their personal environment better. I'm not sure of this, but the
tenor of some of the comments makes me think this.

There are others, myself included, who support GCG for a large number of 
users - in my case several hundred - and for whom anything which can cut 
down on the repeated calls asking how to do simple tasks is a large time 
and hassle saver.

Assuming that my interpretation is correct, it seems like this
in approach would engender quite different reactions to changes in GCG.

Michael J. Weise wrote:
>         I did a test install on one of the nodes in our VMScluster (as I
> haven't had time to get license extension/config info from GCG, 9.0 only
> runs on my test node - and that's standing in the way of having any users
> get at it to help check it out).  I was aware that moving to GCG9 would
> require significant changes in the way we do things, but having a package
> without source has given me pause (I couldn't have added EGCG 8.1 without
> GCG source, for instance) 

Note that Peter Rice in a separate thread has indicated that he will be
releasing binaries for EGCG 9 (Jan 24th message). If nothing else, this 
puts a much larger burden on Peter and much less on us, the system 

> and the sudden switch to HTML-only GenHelp will
> inhibit any transition (because of having to deal with related config and
> training issues).  Overall, I'm more disgruntled than I'd like to be.

I've got both version 8.1 and version 9 running on the same system.  As
as you can put all of the data into a version 8.1 directory structure,
is not a problem: continue to run locally modified version 8 programs
version 9 data, and run version 9 for the upgrades and bug fixes. 

I've been a programmer in the comercial world in the past, and it was
extremely unusual to give source to customers without making them pay
a LOT for it. GCG as a company must survive in the commerical world. As
a result, a lot of the habbits that we in the University world are used
to are simply untenable. GCG must make enough $$ to support continued
program development or they will cease to exist.  I don't think any of
us want that.

> > :
> >Reasons to install 9.0
> >  1.  Better editor in Seqlab

If I could name one program which causes the most frustration and calls
support, it was seqed.  (What do you mean, the backspace key moves the 
cursor to the begining of the sequence?!)

The editor in seqlab is a major improvement!

> >  2.  Some bug fixes
> >  3.  A couple of minor programs.

I'd say the ability to patch in programs such as clustalw and phylip is
major bonus.  I can now get my users to use a lot of these other
which provide additional functionality that they were previously
to learn (to the detriment of their research programs...).

You can now patch into seqlab's menu your latest effort at a new
algorithm and
let your users try it.  You could also put all of your version 8
programs into your own menu as part of seqlab....

(Not that I've had a chance to do any of this yet. I'm still reading the
docs on how to do it. The docs could do with a few more live examples 
from both the Unix and the VMS world.)

>    4.  HTML-based docs

I find this a major bonus! I installed it on using our Web server and
access to local IP numbers.  Being able to use your preferred browser
and have
a gcg window up at the same time is a big bonus for a lot of users who
are not
as computer literate as one might hope.

> In principle, I like the idea of HTML-based help (especially since it again
> includes the Users Guide and has Datafiles added).  HOWEVER, experienced
> users will be disappointed to discover that commands like
>                 $ GENHELP BEST COMM  and  $ GENMANUAL MAP
> don't behave like they have for years (the first totally fails, the second
> sends you to the Map program docs instead of the Program Manual's Mapping
> chapter).
I find that I have very few "experienced" users for whom this is a
Those with the most computer experience are the least inconvenienced by
changes because they are the most adaptable. The users I have are mostly
pretty inexperienced. Their usual pattern is to work in the lab for 6-8
and then use GCG intensively for a couple of weeks, and then go back to
lab. For these people, any way of making it easier for them to _relearn_
GCG is going to make my support job easier.

> > :
>         I generally agree with the downsides David listed.  Overall, moving
> to GCG9 probably involves more changes than I can remember.  Dealing with
> that is likely to require an attitude adjustment.  I'm still working on
> mine.

Yes, there are a bunch of changes, and I called the GCG folks more than
with questions; but overall I like the changes. There are of course,
still needing to be made, but that is always true.


Chad Price
System Administrator
University of Nebraska
(Medical Center & UN-Lincoln)
cprice at molbio.unmc.edu
(402) 472-4527 (M-W-F)
(402) 559-9527 (T-Th)

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