[Biodevelopers] question on the business side of development

Joe Landman landman at scientificappliance.com
Thu May 23 00:52:39 EDT 2002


  As one involved in developing various scalable tools for informatics
computing, I am trying to understand a trend that I think I see
emerging.  This is specifically with regards to what tools people will
use in their own products (internal tools to support research).  I am
not trying to do market research here, just to get a reality check.

  There are high quality tools rapidly emerging onto the informatics
scene which are open source and hence free (in the libre sense, and in
the monetary sense).  What I am trying to understand is, for end users
or consumers of these products, what is really important about the
product... being free in the libre sense (the source code is available),
or being free in the monetary sense.

  I understand the need/desire to have a level of control over the
source so that your work will not suffer if the company goes poof
(imagine if someone built a business process or research process around
DoubleTwist and their tools for example).  In this market, in this
economy, such inclinations are wise.

  So I am asking this question in hope of some sort of discussion of the
pros and cons of the open source software in informatics may emerge. 
Some people are virulently one way or the other.  I always prefer to
have source if available myself. This allows me to fix bugs.  

  The problem as I see it is from a corporate viewpoint, I cannot point
to a single successful open source focussed software house in any market
(note: RedHat is a services company that happens to have the standard
linux distribution).  I know the folks at Electric Genetics are making a
run at it, and I wish them success.  But history seems to indicate that
this model doesnt work.  Or it could be that different models dont work,
and Electric Genetics have a sensible model.  I dont know.  I would like
to hear people's opinions of this.


More information about the Biodevelopers mailing list