Help with corrupting Delta files

Mauro J. Cavalcanti maurobio at ACD.UFRJ.BR
Fri May 7 20:48:00 CEST 2004

Dear Jim,

- From: Jim Croft

> If CSIRO are no longer using developing or supporting the DELTA 
> system, why don't you ask them to put it in put public domain as open 
> source to enable development and support to continue in a 
> collaborative environment such as SourceForge, etc.?
> If enough people ask often enough, maybe they will make the noble 
> gesture...

Thanks for your (as usual!) prompt reply and for the good suggestion. 
But I think that it is the entire DELTA user community which should ask 
the CSIRO bureaucrats to put the programs of the DELTA system in the 
public domain (perhaps starting with the members of the former DELTA 
development team themselves). It is necessary to show them that *no one* 
can benefits from the current situation - the DELTA programs need 
maintenance and if there is no financial support for such, the best 
approach is to make these programs available as open source code to the 
community at large (protected, of course, by the GNU Public License). It 
sounds rather contradictory that the DELTA *format* is a de facto 
internationally recognized open format for coding descriptive taxonomic 
data, but almost every software package that has been developed for 
processing data in DELTA format follows the now obsolete (and, in my 
view, unethical) cathedral model of closed source, proprietary software 
(Gregor Hagedorn's DELTA Access standing as the sole exception). It is 
always worth remembering (especially for those younger boys and girls 
who think as Micro$oft and Windoze were *the only* ways to run a 
microcomputer) that, in its beginnings, the CSIRO DELTA programs were 
distributed as FORTRAN source code - in the best spirit of free software 
(indeed, Richard Pankhurst's PANKEY package is a direct descendant of 
those free sharing of source code with Mike D.).

As of myself, I started and maintain the Free DELTA Project 
(, just as an open source alternative to 
the CSIRO DELTA package. So far, this project has progressed rather 
slowly, but it is now about to be embraced and supported by a large 
Brazilian governmental scientific institution (our current government is 
very fond of Linux and Free Software) and therefore important progresses 
are expected soon. Contributors are welcome!

Always keep in mind that 'Open Source software survives its creators'.

Hope this helps.

With best regards,

Mauro J. Cavalcanti
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia,
Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro,
Quinta da Boa Vista, 20940-040, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
E-mail: maurobio at  Homepage:

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