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Using Linux Open Source for Bioinformatics

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/6/2008

We are all familiar with Linux and Red Hat software because we use them daily in our lives, having our computers either running on this platform or on other proprietary platforms. Bio Linux refers to the use of LINUX open software in bioinformatics.

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    We are all familiar with Linux and Red Hat software because we use them daily in our lives, having our computers either running on this platform or on other proprietary platforms. Bio Linux refers to the use of LINUX open software in bioinformatics.

    Bio Linux provides a variety of uses for this fraternity because as more and more institutions shift to Linux systems – due to its inherent openness, and therefore easily upgraded or manipulated, and of course because it is more or less free – to communicate with other researchers and institutions all over the world.

    There are many variants of the Bio Linux software used, and the most common of them is the Bio Linux programs that are written to quickly post research results on various scientific community sites, and also send out emails to a large number of researchers. It has become a de facto standard primarily because of its generally free nature, and since there are no copyright issues cropping up, researchers and biomed informatics personnel can transfer software as well to the institutions that would like to use that tool in their own research labs.

    Very many programs have been developed with Linux as the base, including the Red Hat, by the biomedical informatics practitioners, and thus, there is a growing volume of software packages using Bio Linux as its base. Due to its portability across the various institutions, it is found very useful, less costly, and more importantly spreads the software quickly, thus saving the whole research fraternity across the world a great deal of time, effort, and money, which they would have otherwise had to spend to get a program up and running.

    Thus Linux has found an unusual partner to help it spread.  For a list of the biomedical informatics software you can look it upon Wikipedia, which lists the very many software packages that have been developed for the scientific research community.