GCG on VMS vs UNIX (was Re: future software directions)

Ken Baker BAKERK at FRIR.AFRC.AC.UK
Fri Feb 19 08:03:00 EST 1993


>From:   CBS%UK.AC.DARESBURY.DLGM::WSUVMS1.CSC.WSU.EDU::THOMPSON
>
>Hello molbio netlanders -
>
>I just can't let this one go by uncontested.
>
>In <9302180457.AA20119 at net.bio.net> Dave "KNECHT%UCONNVM.bitnet" complains
>about GCG:
>
>> ... and from my experience with GCG, I expect it to die a slow death that I
>> will shed no tears over.  I hate having to work with a manual open on my lap.
>
>I believe that Dave is terribly mistaken.  In my experience, GCG is THE BEST
>all around commercial package available in this field.  Their technical support

I agree with this entirely, GCG is a fine piece of software.

>
>> Some have heard that development at Los Alamos in regard to the Human
>> Genome Project is targetted at Unix workstations (Sun Sparc) ....
>
>Unix operating systems are obviously becoming the mainstay of this field and
>GCG has not ignored this important observation.  Their package has been

This is the bit I've got a problem with.
I (like everybody else in the AFRC) was trained to use VMS. I find UNIX
horrible to use in comparison, and would regret it if GCG went over to UNIX
entirely, not to mention the cost implications of retraining every GCG user
in the AFRC. I gather (correct me if I'm wrong) that the latest update to the
STADEN package is only available as UNIX. Why is there this facination for
UNIX? As I understand it, the major benefits of UNIX over VMS are as follows:
(And I should stress that I am not an expert, just a concerned citizen)
1] More flexible
2] Smaller instruction set makes it faster
3] Supports a graphical user interface

1] Does this matter to the average molbio user? The ablities to get
directory listing in multiple formats, command piping etc etc, aren't really
useful.
2] Does it really? We just borrowed an Alpha workstation (which uses something
called openVMS *or* UNIX) from DEC to try it out, and were very impressed with
the speed, but more importantly, people here are still arguing over whether it
was faster running openVMS or UNIX. I guess the latter, if it's set up
properly; but is that only true for heavy number-crunching? The time-consuming
bits of GCG are surely database searching, and the rate-limiting step here is
disk access times. 
3] OpenVMS runs a GUI.

I suppose what I am doing is to plead to whoever matters, please don't abandon
us VMS users. I know that UNIX gurus regard VMS with a kind of amused contempt
but there are a lot of us who can see advantages in keeping it.

Comments, anyone?
Cheers,

Ken.
I should add that I am not an official representative of the AFRC, and these
opinions are my own, neither do I or any of my family work for Digital.
*************************************************************************
Dr Ken Baker                              JANET : UK.AC.AFRC.FRIR::BAKERK
Department of Protein Engineering      INTERNET :  BAKERK at FRIR.AFRC.AC.UK
AFRC Institute of Food Research             TEL :        (+44) 734 357139
Reading                                     FAX :        (+44) 734 267917
Berks RG6 2EF
UK                          (AFRC = Agricultural & Food Research Council)
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