Sniping on the new (was: what software do biologists need?)

Philippe Lebrun plebrun at minf.vub.ac.be
Thu Mar 25 11:21:55 EST 1993


In article <1opd5pINN1s24 at rs1.rrz.Uni-Koeln.DE>, khofmann at biomed.biolan.uni-koeln.de writes:
>
|> - I think that far more software is written by researches all over the world
|>   that could be used by others. Why are such relatively few programmers
|>   willing to let others use their programs, too? 

	I think that most of the software written by researchers is of the "quick and dirty" type, ie, written in as little time as possible to be able to get on with more interesting work. This leads to quirky and highly personal programmes only the author can use. The problem is not that most researcher-programmers are unwilling to let anyone else use their software, but that most programmes are quite simply unuseable by anyone other than the author.

	I myself am as guilty as anyone else -  I have written two programmes to record and display animal evoked potentials, as well as calculating various parameters. The oldest one has a little on-line documentation - I had to add it because I could't remember the commands myself.  The user interface is nonexistant. Both read files of idiosyncratic format. The source code is tangled and difficult to follow. Tons of bugs remain despite four years of improvement. But I am the only user and know them almost by he


art, and they work well enough for my needs.

	I hearby release the source code of both of these programmes into the public domain, and would be more than happy to e-mail a copy to anyone who might want one :-).

-philippe




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