[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [seul-sci] Introduction

>>>>> "x" == xcalbet  <xcalbet@inm.es> writes:

    >> I have some problems to do it, however.  First of all, my lab
    >> has seven researchers, 56 post-graduation students, 105
    >> sci/tech projects running, and -- believe me -- a HUGE amount
    >> of (guess what) MS windows data. For MS windows data I mean
    >> data analysed or published with winndows-only apps.

That is also a HUGE amount of money spent on MS software licenses.
With all that money they would save not subsidizing Gucci shoes at
Microsoft, they could hire a part time research associate to manage
their Linux machines and train users ;)

    >> I have a huge respect for Grace. However, I can't adopt it for
    >> three reasons, wich I see in many sci projects(and others, like
    >> LyX): user inteface, environment interaction and reuse of
    >> windows-data:

There are many graphical analysis programs for Unix, many which blow
the socks off anything made for a Microsoft platform, but these are
industrial tools and quite expensive.  Of course, they may be open
to donating a copy to your lab (so your graduates will know that
software when they move on into industry).

The best place to watch is Silicon Graphics.  SGI (www.sgi.com) have
been leaders in industrial graphics for over 10 years and are now
totally committed to Linux, so it is only a matter of time before
they can solve your problem.

    >> I believe scriptability and CLI are both power tools, but
    >> trainning near fifty chemists in something they are better than
    >> me(but they used to do it in another program), would be
    >> impossible.

You can use Python, Tk or any of many other programs to put GUI
wrappers around CLI programs.  This is a good project for undergrads ;)

    >> Yesterday, one of our chief researchers said that a great
    >> advantage of Word/origin use is that, if you just double click
    >> a graphic in word, it would open origin and your data. I just
    >> agree with him.

I'm not certain if StarOffice does this yet, but you may want to join
the staroffice newsgroups and make certain they know how you want to
use their software.  Another advantage with converting to StarOffice
is everyone in the lab can use the same software _regardless_ of their
platform, and in just a few months, publishing their research to the
website will be almost automatic.

Did I mention the money you'd save not spending (56+7) * $500 on
Microsoft Office licenses alone?  *Egad* I just noticed that's $30,000
with _another_ $10,000 every time there is a bug-fix (er ... an
'update').  Ok, maybe MS gives you software for free so you will be
slave to it when you graduate, but then consider the cost to those
businesses where you will work ... how long before they realize the
cost of Ms-tithes and switch, and then we have all these graduates
with obsolete computing experience! ;)

    x> Sorry for being so negative, believe me, I would love that all
    x> your Lab changes to Linux, but from my experience, unless they
    x> fully admit they NEED to change and they are ready for some
    x> problems and a learning curve (not necessarily steep) do not
    x> change to Linux.  

I will agree with this, but I will add that their change to Linux will
be _inevitable_ so you need not worry.  As SGI adds more graphical
power to Linux, as IBM adds more computing power to Linux, as the
price of Linux drops (it does more without customization) and it's
power increases (SMP, clustering &c) there will be no choice.

There is a saying "Old mathematicians never change.  They just die
away" meaning it is very rare for an academic to change the way they
do things; this is how the younger professors usurp control: Being
more fleet of foot with new ways of doing things, they out run their
predecessors and seize control of the department.  It is only very
rarely that a senior professor will swallow their pride and adopt a
whole new way of doing things.  (This is one of my favourite
personality characteristics of cosmologist Stephen Hawking: Each book
says "my previous book was completely wrong" and he goes forth from
there --- this is probably why he is so highly respected and so

Stay calm.  Be brave.  Wait for the signs ;)

Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@canada.com>  TeleDynamics Communications Inc
Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
Linux/GNU Education Group: http://www.egroups.com/group/linux-education/
"Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)