At the SeIUCCR Summer School in September I was asked a blinder of a question:
“How do I choose sustainable software for my project?”
Assuming an open-source context for this question, there are many things worth considering. It could be that the functionality of your software needs extended. Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, you’re looking for an appropriate library to provide that functionality. Or perhaps you have an analysis tool that outputs a certain data format that you need to post-process into an image. What should you look for in software?
It’s easy to reach for the first software package you come across that seems to do what you want. Perhaps it’s already installed in your target platform, or it’s the first thing you found on Google. But picking the wrong software can have expensive consequences if it doesn’t do everything you want or, even worse, development and support comes to a stop!
Taking a little time to make an informed choice is time well spent. So what questions can you ask about the software to find out if it’s suitable?
First off, and…