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Bika Mail 9. Born free. Open-source software in the recession

It's been is a year since the Economist wrote under this heading that "cost is not the only reason for Open Source software's growing popularity. Many firms no longer perceive free software as riskier". At the time other observers were dead bored with this kind of defensive denotation but perhaps to be expected from writers who had just observed their worlds collapse onto their junk bond foundations

They added that Open Source "offers more flexibility than proprietary programs" but might just as well have continued that "should your providers go under you'll have the program code and others in the community as security". Best be sure they were from real stock and not along for the marketing hype, without any public releases and no or closed community!

In Silicon Valley this discussion was already irrelevant and cloud bases the talk of the town. Many Open Source projects have indeed experienced big growth in the past 2 years and are emerging with even bigger user bases. Traditional developer passion seems to have endured with resilience - where money was not the driving force the recession had less grip

Nevertheless, at Bika, interest and inquiries shot up, as did downloads, nearly 10 000 in the past year, as well as subscriptions to our forums and requests for demonstrations

To handle the upswing we are expanding and building development and distribution partnerships – they all are already too busy to have supplied us with sound bites in time. If you are a Plone expert and have capacity to spare, drop us a line

In this newsletter:

Born Free

Bika Community

Bika Health micro sponsorship appeal

Bika at AWRI

New Releases


No other development demonstrated the synergy of professional open source better than the major SQL back-end contribution from John Yeko on the Bika developers' list: "Appropriate Open Source solutions play an important role in my ability to support my company. I also believe that I should be an active participant in these communities to ensure their continued success and future product growth"

A tested public release is the next objective, all feedback appreciated - OK, a full battery test will be even better, see the on-line Inkosi Bika SQL installation

At CICA in Costa Rica, Juan Chin and his team are implementing Bika with support from the IAEA, and are busy readying unified installers and a full Spanish translation. Juan presented Bika at several congresses and workshops in Latin America towards the end of last year and is planning a Spanish medium Bika forum. Watch his space...

Bika Health micro sponsorship appeal

Biggest need is for an Open Source public health laboratory solution, Bika Health  remains only partially sponsored by a government innovation fund

We at Bika pledged a 50% discount on the work required to produce a 0.3 Alpha release and an on-line installation to be piloted at the University hospital, Paramaribo, Suriname

In order to collect the remaining $5000, the Bika Health Foundation launched a micro sponsorship drive at If you have the worthwhile cause of HIV, Malaria & TB prevention and treatment at heart, please contribute, every drop helps fill the bucket

More about the Bika Health Foundation and this campaign at Health Alpha 0.3, LIMS for public health laboratories

Campbell and lemoene are already hard at work (for bandwidth, beer and bread;-) and published a functional specification for public review. An early installation is targeted for mid June


Bika for The Australian Wine Research Institute

The AWRI Tannin Web Portal is a new Bika LIMS-based application that allows easy analysis of tannin, total phenolics and total pigment in red wines and ferments, using only a spectrophotometer and Internet connection

Sample preparation is simple, results are available instantly and the hard work of maintaining spectral calibrations is taken care of centrally by AWRI. The method works for any UV-Vis spectrophotometer.

All historical data is accessibly archived and provides the basis for a benchmarking function to put individual results in context - the portal contains a database of more than 3000 Australian red wine tannin and total phenolics concentrations based on vintage, region and variety. Neat!

New Releases and Projects

And this is where the recession did get hold of us: a promised release of Bika Water 1, LIMS for water quality management, is not ready as sponsorship for the project dried up. Because of Water's sampling and preservation workflow, it was selected as code base for Bika Health. Bika Water itself requires smoothing of rough edges uncovered during its first production run before making its way into the wild

Bika Village – An Event and Membership Management System developed in Plone 3 for Bika CMS client SASEV will be bundled as first release of Bika Village. The plan is to develop this branch towards a community portal, with designs for Issue tracking, Academic Journals and e-commerce facilities amongst others. A plethora of Plone 3 add-ons is available for integration

A Bika Village and CMS implementation at the South African Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), apart from big content migration, also included Debtors, Survey and Temperature logging modules

Inkosi LIMS 2.3 featuring latest developments sponsored by Benchmark, Quantum Analytics and BBK, is targeted for release 15 July. This will include Analysis Categorisation, Dry and Wet results, Pdf certificates of analysis, easier configuration for SMS results notifications, Worksheet exports to Instruments, and Instrument import selection

Not the World Cup, but Bika CMS, in addition to Australian WRI, the South African Society of Enology and Viticulture SASEV, SA PPECB, SA Wine Lab Association SAWLA, now also hosts and sponsors SASS, the SA Spectroscopic Society


Enjoy the African FIFA WC footie, it is going to be a true spectacle, may the prettiest playing team win!

We got our tickets early and found the on-line rants during a recent day long issue failure very entertaining. Along the motif of this dissertation, here public comment stood out:

“***** crashes all the time, learn from Google and everyone else that scales... go open source!

Best regards
The Bika Team - Home of Bika Lab Systems, implementers of web based open source LIMS, Plone hosting and content management systems   Powered by Plone, the open source content management system. Customised and maintained by Bika Lab Systems