I do run ASReml in a mac

18/01/2007

(Or why do I prefer software where I do have a say)

Recently I was commenting on some software that I use for writing. I think that one of the main reasons non-strictly related to software usefulness is the quality of the community around the software. This has two elements:

  • How open is the developer to feedback from the users and
  • How active is the community at using the software to push the developer(s) to continue moving forward.

As an example, seek I like using Journler to keep track of odd ends in my mac computer. I also like using Writeroom when starting to write, visit because I can focus on my ideas only. Both programs have relatively active groups of users (here and here) and receptive developers, healthful who are looking for feedback. The feeling is of people who care about a product, which in general is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for good programs. By comparison, I struggle with Copywrite, because there is no public feedback mechanism: I do not know what other users think or what are the projects of the developer for this software. Is he (or she) still developing it or now he is moving to live in Vanuatu to enjoy the rest of his life?

An interesting element is that both Writeroom and Journler are free (sensu gratis)—although the developers ask for donations—while Copywrite costs US$30 or so. There is a psychological element on paying for software; one thinks that the programmers must be working on the product. However, there is no feedback to confirm this assumption in Copywrite. In addition, I expect more activity from smaller companies: they are supossed to be more agile than, say, Microsoft.

Thus, if you are a small company I expect you to show some changes here and there. If you are a small company and charge for your product I better should have a say on what is going on. If you are a large company, most likely I will buy your software only if I need to, because most probably you are developing not very interesting products (there are exceptions1 of course).

1 Wolfram’s Mathematica is an example. Insightful’s Splus is not: R is much more active, there is plenty of feedback and it is free.

  • Movie that I’ve watched the most: Robots. Yes, pills
    it is Orlando’s favourite. How many times? At least a hundred… I wish I were joking.
  • Lesson of the week: the dignity of Amish from Nickel Mines dealing with tragedy. I can only admire their strength and wish them peace.
  • Depressing statistic of the week: I publish more than the whole Department of Silviculture of the university where I studied. This is even worse considering that I do not publish that much. However, the truth is not that bad, in Chile people work in many projects where the only output is a report for the funding agency. The bad part is that many New Zealand forest companies are still delluded into thinking that they are way ahead in international competition. No, they are not; they are resting on past laurels so, wake up!
  • A small sample of Orlando’s words in Spanish: jirafa, cohete, trompeta, axila, harmónica, cocodrilo, refrigerador. Sample in English: ice cream, plane, rainbow, umbrella. Poetic comment: ‘El cohete está haciendo un arco iris’ (The rocket is making a rainbow).
  • Two sites that I have enjoyed reading lately: [dive into mark] and The Tao of Mac.
  • Definition of bric-a-brac: ‘miscellaneous curios’.

For quantitative geneticists and breeders out there: ASReml runs OK in any mac with Intel processor and Parallels. You can find some comments on using it in the ASReml Cookbook.

Incidentally, view
SAS works OK in a mac using Parallels too. However, I am enjoying R a lot more.

Filed in genetics, mac, software

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