Perhaps that should read………………………………
Olex2, Should That be OlexSys, Three Years On
Since writing my blog piece on Olex2 back in August 2010 many things have changed. I am three years older, I have more grey hair and am currently a little bit thinner. Sheldrick brought out a new shelx and the price of crude oil has risen a lot - I don’t think there is a correlation there. Other things have changed as well such as governments and geography. Sadly I am not flying around in a hover car nor does my phone work like the computer from StarTrek or Ziggy from Quantum leap. We still have no alien friends visiting us nor have we put a man on the moon or Mars. However a lot has stayed the same. I am still using Linux and Olex2 is still my go to program for crystallography. But now it is not Olex2’s Olex2 it is a little known startup company OlexSys’s Olex2 and thankfully it is still cross platform on Linux, Mac and Bindows (I meant that).
Yes when all bets where that Olex2 would be lost into the ether, when the source would become part of some giant global multinational diffractometer empire - they stuck their heals in and carried on. True they are a bit smaller than before mainly being Horst Puschmann and **Oleg Dolomanov **on the ground floor with** **Judith A K Howard**** (the PI on the original grant) up in the towers and a new team member Beatrice Leigh - the Alan Sugar of the team. I’m not certain if that is not a tiny bit insulting to Bea or not?
OlexSys is NOT Olex2
Now I think I need to be absolutely clear that OlexSys is not Olex2. Olex2 is a product provided by OlexSys and fair praise on them still open source. The new company still maintains the codebase. I say maintains I should say updates, adds, builds and makes better the codebase. Yes, Olex2 is still in active development - thank goodness I hear you cry. It is has also grown and matured somewhat. There are still the same bugs and faults in places but with no Richard I get less criticism for finding them and significantly less “it works on windows” comments when I do report them. To be fair to Olex2 and the team I do run the most bleeding edge and unstable version of the code so it is like shaving with a samurai sword you are bound to cut yourself at some point. And yes I am well aware that is a rubbish example and yes I am aware that the cut is normally fatal being you cut off your own head.
Unlike the “Age Concern Grant” though OlexSys can offer other services to the community (check out their website for details). I should add whilst at Liverpool we needed some of their data collection services after our Rigaku got flooded by a leak in the roof four floors above it. A good service as well was had by all involved. Hmmm, I’m not certain if they have gotten paid for it yet?
So Olex2 is safe for “now” again. It is a hard world and tough economic times at the moment so it is good to see that Olex2 has survived in OlexSys. Now we hope that OIexSys survives and carries on growing stronger and stronger. Perhaps in the future they can grow their staff base (I think I would go work for them tomorrow - if I was made staff), start making money not just through their training program and custom services but also through producing commercial add-ons and modules. They already produce the brilliant autochem which I think is exclusive to Oxford-Varian-Agilent-Diffraction?
I’d like to see them adopt a little more of the Codeweavers model for a potential revenue stream through a priority support system. Not to mention a bolt-on for individuals so I could buy modules I want and need from them via an ecommerce site. But who knows how they are going to grow this commercial arm with respect to Olex2 in the future. The playing field is not as empty as it once was with there now being a newcomer who is also cross platform out there.
Then of course when they have grown sufficiently they can buy up Rigaku, Bruker and Agilent (Varian, Oxford Diffraction) all of whom’s data can be readily processed in Olex2 and become a super diffractometer company. In fact it would be nice if they got a hold of Rigaku and worked a little magic on the GUI, data collection and erm data processing parts of their product base right now.
So just like before I point my finger at you and whisper shame on you for not shouting and ranting and running about declaring your support for OlexSys and Olex2.
And with a sly smirk I get to say,
> > "o'you want training on Olex2 now" > >
and what is that you say?
> > "100 % of your department use it for making pictures and refining structures". > >
Sadly the workshops are not free anymore - that is the price of progress.