Erlenmeyer and cellar

Frequently Asked Questions



There are no license fees, the code base is achieved through the foresight of clients who want to see their investment strengthened. Labs source services, e.g. configuration, training and support, from their preferred providers, in-house or contracted


Sure, on site or server farm of your choice


Full ownership. Bika LIMS is Free and Open Source, users have full ownership and access to their code, sans licence fees or vendor lock-in. Bika can be used by unlimited users

LIMS is complex and you'll likely require assistance with configuration, startup assistance and interfacing Instruments. We recommend taking out professional support for prioritised issues


Through participation on public forums and user groups indexed by search engines, and hosting Bika on your own domain. Sponsors of new features get bigger exposure, in the community and through news Items and press releases


Professional Open Source, POS, has become better than closed systems for all its inherent benefits unmatched in proprietary environments and built-in quality control of open code repositories. Only standardised code including unit tests and documentation is accepted and thoroughly tested by early adopter community users


Using non disruptive shared tools and tracker to optimise capacity and budgets, a lot gets done per well managed support hour and tasks resolved very efficiently


Best practice is a dedicated LIMS server running Debian or Ubuntu. Quad core i7, 64GB RAM, 2 * 256GB SSD in RAID. Thin browser-only workbench PCs. Zebra desktop label printers and barcode scanners are robust and good value


LIMS remains complex but Bika’s configurability, simplified logic and modern browser based front designed by usability experts, raise the bar and cannot be compared to proprietary legacy systems

Most Bika and Senaite professionals will do server installations at discounted prices in order to grow the project. Big configurations can be imported from spreadsheets. Instrument results files can be converted to a generic format for import


Unfamiliarity - labs do not realise they can have tailormade industrial strength LIMS this affordably. And FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, a disinformation strategy by proprietary closed source systems


The Bika LIMS code, developed over 15 years from 2002 to 2017, forms Senaite’s foundation. In 2018, Bika 4 design, focussing on performance and maintainability, came into being as Senaite to resolve the naming issue of project and founding company using the same title, unfair to other participants

Bika Lab Systems, Cape Town, contributes to Senaite, but bulk of the code originates in Europe today. With near 20 years invested, we maintain the Bika brand independently, providing add-ons to extend the generic Senaite base with functions extra to its lean performance driven scope

In the spirit of liberty and Ubuntu, Bika traditionally strives for a more holistic delivery model, and value professionalism and honesty, telling it as it is


Bika is an isiZulu word, pronounced ‘beekah’ and means ‘to report’, or more colloquially, ‘Tell it as it is’. The name was chosen in the ethnic heyday of Ubuntu Linux, replacing the eurocentric Bach, Bika’s foregoing prototype for wine laboratories

Ingosi ‘chief’ Bika 2 followed, and Gaob ‘king’ Bika 3. Gaob is taken from Khoi San Nama, language of the world's first people