[gmx-users] genius software

Mark Abraham Mark.Abraham at anu.edu.au
Fri Feb 24 02:13:22 CET 2006

Yegor Isakov wrote:
> Dear Daan van Aalten,
> There is a lot of respect of your work and work of others. It would be 
> even more respect, less questions, and more unbroken heads if you make 
> simple description how to use your genius software.
> Thank you for you attention.

Descriptions of how to use scientific software, if simple, are probably 
wrong. Using scientific software is rarely simple, for reasons including 
the following:

1) There are normally so many choices that there simply aren't any 
sensible always-applicable defaults so that you can hide complexity from 
the user.

2) There aren't enough users to justify the author's efforts, even if 
it's possible.

3) There aren't enough users who want decisions taken away from them.

4) These users are normally not generating much money relative to 
commercial non-scientific software.

5) The authors are normally scientists who developed the software to 
help them answer a specific problem or group of problems. They're paid 
to work on the problems, not to produce the software.


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