> The professionals and researchers have software tools. Professionals
> serious money for a lot of them, so I assume that they must be happy
> well-served. The corporations do no pay any money to support me or Jmol
> (despite my requests), so I assume that they are not interested.
> It seems that the educators (and their students) get nothing more than
> few table scraps.
The latter states the problem in a nutshell, and Chime is a perfect
example. Although I doubt that some folks at MDL would appreciate that
comment, it has boiled down to that over the years. Chime is free, and
they cannot afford to put the kind of development efforts into it that
they originally did, if it is to continue to be free.
The point is, Miguel has been dedicated to remedying this problem in a
useful, intelligent way and is succeeding admirably. I guess it takes
molvis heroes like Miguel and Roger Sayle to make education a priority.
This is due to the way education is (not) funded, and is a problem
whose scope exceeds this forum, of course--except for the fact that
Miguel has taken extraordinary steps to resolve it with respect to
What should we "expect" as educators? Nothing? Table scraps? We don't
have the bucks to buy the good stuff, so our students suffer. Our
problem as educators? No, not at all. Everyone's problem-- that the
education of our students relies on educators making do with too
little, too late. Our students go on to be the professionals-- it will
be a *good* thing when we have the best tools to prepare them. But in
the present climate, adding features that lead Jmol to become a
commercial product will remove it from our grasp.
The inclusion of multiple models in jmol as described in the posts of
the last couple of days would apparently be a valuable addition to some
and might make Jmol more marketable to professionals who can pay the
big bucks. Would they be the most valuable things to add to Jmol now?
Are these capabilities fundamental to Jmol as a teaching tool? Probably
there are differing opinions on this, but for me the answers are "no"
Based on these same conversations it appears to be an immense amount of
work to incorporate multiple models properly. It should not supplant
Jmol's more immediate needs-- for example, implementation of surfaces.
Surfaces are essential for a Chime replacement and are eagerly awaited.
Miguel's points about the difficulty of learning chemistry via email
are well taken. So is the wonderful company described by Warren:
> Hmm...sounds like you might enjoy being a member of a multi-person
> open-source company comprised of individuals having different areas of
> expertise (chemistry, biology, compsci, and business), with funding
> industry and academia as well as from government grants, and with a
> base of users & customers: from individual students all the way up to
> multinational corporations.
> I don't think such a company exists quite yet, but perhaps it will
> before too long.
Sounds great-- sign me up! I could build tutorials to my heart's
content *and* get a regular paycheck! Let's hope Warren is right and it
is not too long in coming.
Our experience with standard commercial enterprises such as MDL shows
us that when a program like Jmol goes commercial, we as educators are
left with table scraps again. Better than nothing, yes. Good enough?
...Thanks, Miguel, for a real feast!
With best holiday wishes to all,
Frieda S. Reichsman, PhD
Molecules in Motion
Interactive Molecular Structures