NEW YORK, July 1 - Apple Computer has become the first member of a program launched by open-source advocacy-group Bioinformatics.org that aims at linking open-source developers with bioinformatics hardware and software vendors.
Apple's new Co-Lab program hopes to nurture industry involvement either by co-locating software projects at its SourceForge-based Open Lab project or by hosting and sharing those projects with developers at vendor sites via the web, according to Bioinformatics.org president and founder Jeff Bizarro. Bioinformatics.org currently hosts more than 30 software projects.
Apple has agreed to make a dual G4 server available to members of Bioinformatics.org through the program, Bizarro said. An Apple official confirmed the company's involvement in the program but was not immediately able to provide further details.
If they join the Co-Lab program, commercial entities will receive immediate access to more than 3,000 bioinformaticists worldwide who currently work on Open Lab projects. This set up might benefit software firms looking for researchers to "test drive" their systems before releasing them commercially, and hardware vendors who want to ensure that bioinformatics projects hosted at the site will run on their platforms, he said.
The program is loosely modeled on the Open Source Development Lab, which has secured corporate support from 21 companies, including IBM, NEC, Intel, Hitachi, Dell, and Fujitsu. The Co-Lab program differs from the OSDL in that it focuses on bioinformatics and the goal of executing applications as well as porting them.
According to Bizarro, Apple is very interested in having as many bioinformatics applications as possible ported to its OS X operating system. On the developer side, he said, access to additional servers and hardware platforms will be invaluable. Projects hosted at the site so far only run on Unix, so Bizarro hopes to see the project count grow along with new platforms.
Bizarro noted that the organization is "not asking for a donation, but for assistance in running a resource that would be of great benefit to both the bioinformatics community and the Co-Lab's business."
This article originally appeared in BioInform.