BioPerl, BioRuby, BioPython and other Open Source Projects Aid Bioinformatics

Biology
and science researchers the world over use different software based upon their
own convenience and ability. To bring them together requires software that is
freely available, easily adaptable, and above all, uniform in its sets and
subsets of principles of usage. It also requires that it be easily
manipulated based on the needs of the user, anywhere it may be implemented. Hence the need for an
Open Source Code for Software.

The main objectives of open source are as
follows:

  • source code should be free
  • licence must not restrict other software
  • free redistribution of the software
  • derived works are allowed
  • no discrimination against other fields
  • distribution of license should be provided

Most  of bioinformatic software is
open source software. This became a trend setter in bioinformatics because a person
working on particular software is allowing another to use and modify that software more effectively. With the success of bioinformatics, all the
bioinformatists started making their projects, software, or tools open
source. By doing so, they are giving
a chance to other programmers to write
their own required tool based on the original. This in turn becomes
available to others. Thus, open source code is making available all kinds of
software and tools to others, and it is constantly growing. This
started as a trend setter in bioinformatics as every company started making
their projects open source. Software such as RASMOL which is used for viewing
protein structure in bioinformatics is open source. BioRuby is one of the open
source library for bioinformatics. Many other software such as BioPerl and
BioPython also are open source projects.

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF), a non-profit and volunteer organization, is behind this venture, which
started this initiative on open source programming. BioJava and BioCorba
are also open source projects in Bioinformatics. Most bioinformatics open
source tools are freely available for download on the internet.

There are advantages and disadvantages as
well for the open sourcing of
projects. The advantage is that one may get the best tool after project modification by open sourcing. The disadvantage is that one can not make the
software under their company’s name. But it seems that the open source is the next
trend setter in bioinformatics.