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This is a question to bionet.software, commercial issue.

David Kristofferson kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
Thu Jan 7 14:25:20 EST 1993

doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch (Reinhard Doelz) writes:

>With respect to the discussion going on about Maspar's posting on 
>the nicety of the BLAZE program, I would like to ask whether companies 
>like GCG woudln't have the same rights? They've been public domain for 
>a bit longer than BLAZE, and still each time I inquired about a 
>bionet.software.gcg newsgroup I was told by Dake K. that this is not an 
>issue (sorry that I don't quote the mail here, the last was already some 
>time back and I deleted them.) 

"This is not an issue??"  I frankly don't understand what I supposedly
said to you here.  Since the subject has been raised I will be happy
to elaborate.

Back when I ran BIONET, the NIH-sponsored timesharing service, I got
together with ALL of the commercial companies in the biotech software
business and created newsgroups for them all in an attempt to be
evenhanded and provide equal access.  The end result was that NONE of
the companies used the newsgroups, and it was a tremendous waste of my
time.  Since that time an INFO-GCG newsgroup was created independently
of GCG an the University of Toronto.  A couple of people have asked
about including it in the bionet hierarchy, but no one has sent me a
formal proposal along the lines needed to create a newsgroup.  When
asked, I responded that I personally was a bit hesistant to try this
again because of (a) the bad experience that I had had previously and
(b) I was not keen in getting involved in potential liability issues
if some jerk went off the deep end in their criticisms of a commercial
package.  From this standpoint I was perfectly happy that a list was
created for GCG at a university.  However, if I receive a formal
proposal for a newsgroup, then I will honor it and put it through the
usual discussion/voting procedures.

>Despite the full appreciation of the 
>beauty and beneficious nature of BIONET I start to worry whether there 
>isn't some bias coming in in interpreting the rules. There are hundreds 

I am not sure what you are implying here, and I must admit that I am
really starting to get pissed off at the use of innuendo here.  I have
stated the rules clearly.  They apply equally to all parties.  People
at, e.g., GCG, TextCo, ABI, etc. all read these newsgroups and are
free to act according to the rules.

>of postings in comp.sys which permanently reflect commercial issues. 
>So why not have the policy adopted for BIONET also? In USENET terminology, 
>BIONET still does behave a little different (just remember voting, email gw 
>etc), but wouldn't it be time to revise this fear of being commercial and 
>afterwards filter (other would call it censor) at the justice of 

BIOSCI/bionet is funded by NSF.  When I get an instruction from my
funding agency I attempt to carry it out.  I place a call to Steve
Wolff this morning and, as usual, had to leave a message because he is
on the road until next Monday.  I will also send him e-mail once

What most of you who don't deal with these issues on a daily basis
don't realize is that there appears to be a great reluctance for
decisions to actually be finalized in this area for several reasons.
Debates in Washington on these issues have dragged on for a long time
and the rules are still being drafted.  Because of the fact that many
different networks with conflicting restrictions are all
interconnected now, the regulations are a ruddy mess and all kinds of
conflicting events happen.  I am no happier about it than anyone else
and frankly far less so than others because I am put in a position to
defend what I think is a bad policy.


				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				kristoff at net.bio.net

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