DELTA programs for the Mac?

Mike Dallwitz miked at ENTO.CSIRO.AU
Wed Jun 1 20:05:21 CDT 1994

                                                                    1 June 1994

Thanks to those who replied to my earlier posting on this subject. Here are
some extracts from those replies.

    > From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at>

    > I think it is an unfair statistic that you quote with regard to
    percentage of "PC" users that use Macs. The low figure you quote is more
    than likely the TOTAL number of PC users worldwide. I do not think you are
    marketing your keys to ALL users of PCs but to biologists, am I correct? If
    so, I think you will be surprised that the figure is much higher with
    regard to those who use or have access to Macs in their labs and -- most
    importantly-- those who would use your DELTA programs! Perhaps you should
    rethink your stance.

    > From: Don Reynolds <dreynold at>

    > Thank you for the explaination of why no Mac software from your group.
    The figures for Mac users vs. DOS based users are a little higher for a USA
    survey I saw, about 15%.

    > From: "Matt James" <matt.james at Sonoma.EDU>

    > I disagree that so few users are in the Mac world. Nearly *every*
    academic systematist in the USA that I know uses Macs. Because of this, I
    usually delete DELTA postings without reading them. Would love to try it if
    it comes out in a Mac version. I applaud you for your efforts, though, and
    wish you the best in your development efforts.

    > From: Keith Jackson <kjackson at>

    > MINORITY!?!?! - I think that MacClade and PAUP for the Macintosh are used
    by many systematists, they are cited extensively in systematic works. 10%
    is undoubtably a gross underestimate. Perhaps you should assess your
    audience more carefully. It might be a good idea to put a notice on Taxacom
    for users and potential users to mail you a simple email message e.g. I use
    a Mac. Developing on two platforms is not easy, but someone else might
    assist, if not totally translate the program for you.

Also, David Maddison posted a reply directly to Taxacom.

Yes, the relevant figure is the proportion of Mac users in the population of
potential DELTA users. I don't know what that is, but I suspect that it is much
less than 50%, especially worldwide. Most potential users, especially of INTKEY
packages, are probably not in academic institutions. The number of citations of
MacClade and PAUP (Version 3) may not be a good measure of the use of Macs by
systematists: in our Division, the systematists all have IBM-compatible PCs,
but we bought a Mac just to run these programs. Nor would Taxacom subscribers
be a good sample of potential users.

Whatever the proportion, the problem remains that we don't have the resources
to port and maintain Mac versions, unless this gets a lot easier or we get more
resources. The grant that is currently paying the third member of our team
specifically requires the development of Windows software. We would be happy to
develop Mac and Unix versions in parallel if we could obtain the extra
resources (staff, hardware, and software) to do so. Our new programs are
written in C++, using the Windows API and Borland Object Windows, so a
programmer working on Mac versions would also have to be familiar with these

Mike Dallwitz                                  Internet md at
CSIRO Division of Entomology                   Fax +61 6 246 4000
GPO Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia     Phone +61 6 246 4075

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