Commercialised programs

Adrian Goldman, BTK x8029 GOLDMAN at ALA.BTK.UTU.FI
Tue Feb 8 04:23:47 EST 1994

In <CKvBq5.BwF at> ortnerm at writes:

>             PROSA II - PROtein Structure Analysis
>             =====================================
>   You can get the demo version of Prosa II by anonymous ftp from ....
> You can use this version of Prosa II until March 27, 1994....
> Commercialized versions of Prosa II and its successors will be available
> in the near future. For further details please contact M.J.Sippl at e-mail
> address
>                       sippl at

This announcement, and the fact that the HKL suite of programs for the RAXIS
have to bought from MSC (for $1500(!)) made me decide to get other peoples'
reactions to the current trend towards commercialised programs.  As far as
I am aware most, if not all, of the programs being commercialised are
developed using government funding (Austrian, US, etc., etc.) and with a
committment to sharing "results".  If the results of some government funding
is a coordinate set, we are obliged to deposit it in the PDB for all to use
(sometimes without reference to the original work!).  If the result is a 
piece of code, that person feels the right to copyright it and charge
money for it -- which doesn't quite seem to me to be sharing.  

The logic behind this escapes me.  It's not that I don't appreciate the lure
of money -- but might I make a Swiftian suggestion?  Maybe the coordinate
generators should strike back by  creating a commercial repository of
coordinates and charging a royalty for each use?  

What do others think? - or am I being too old-fashioned?  When I started
as a macromolecular crystallographer some 13 years ago, all code basically
came free....

                         Adrian Goldman

Adrian Goldman                         |  Internet:  Goldman at Ala.BTK.UTu.Fi
Centre for Biotechnology,              |  Bitnet:    AGoldman at Finabo
P. O. Box 123,                         |  Phone:     358-21-6338029   
Turku, SF-20521                        |  Fax:       358-21-6338000   
Finland.                               |                              

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