Robert C. Leif rleif at rleif.com
Fri Nov 4 04:04:34 EST 2005

Hello Dave,

You are correct about "none of the third party software vendors have become
multi-millionaires off of selling flow software."  However, one of the
problems is that you or the end-user must first decode FCS.  In the case of
imaging, the Open Microscopy Environment (http://www.openmicroscopy.org/ )
has employed XML and other off the shelf technologies to create software
with a sufficiently low expense that they are giving it away.  One very
important component of OME environment is the interface to Matlab
(http://www.mathworks.com/), which is a general purpose tool with a
significant customer base. 

"OME 2.4.0-- released Mar 7, 2005, Analysis, Matlab Handler (interface for
analysis algorithms written in Matlab) "

The use of a data standard that permits the end-user to obtain an XML file
that describes the metadata (FCS Key words) and the binary data (list-mode
or image) as separate simple files will facilitate the creation of
interfaces to general purpose tools, such as Matlab.  XML files can be
imported to many relational databases.	One does not have to be an expert
programmer to work with simple binary list-mode files (1), which are a
storage form for a simple one dimensional array of records.  Images in
standard formats, such as TIFF can be directly imported into many commercial

Bob Leif

1. R. C. Leif, CytometryML, Binary Data Standards,  in Manipulation and
Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues II, D. V. Nicolau, J.
Enderlein, R. C. Leif, and D. Farkas, Editors, SPIE Proceeding Vol. 5699 pp.
325-333 (2005).


From: David Novo [mailto:david.novo at denovosoftware.com] 
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 12:36 AM
To: cyto-inbox
Subject: Re: FACS-software

Hello Raif,

As you may imagine, I encounter the question of the expense of flow
cytometry software quite often. I think that I speak on behalf of the other
flow cytometry vendors in saying that if there was any way that we could
make our software less expensive we would. Please consider the fact that the
total size of our worldwide market is probably in the thousands. Most people
seem to think that flow software should cost on the order of a few hundred
dollars, which is similar to products in other markets that have millions of
potential customers.

The fact is that in order to provide high quality,  high complexity,
software like flow software is expensive. We cannot just hire any
programmers off the street because programming flow software requires quite
a specialized skill set. If you also consider how many hours you, or your
staff, spend analyzing flow data I think that good flow software that can
even save you 10% of that time will pay itself back many times over. It is
always interesting that people will not even blink at spending $100/hr using
the flow cytometer, but find it expensive to spend perhaps $1000 for
software that they can use for years and whose graphics are often directly
included in their publications.

As with most things in this world, you get what you pay for. I know for a
fact that, most unfortunately, none of the third party software vendors have
become multi-millionaires off of selling flow software and that the price we
charge really does reflect the costs of doing business. Now, if we could
figure out a way for everyone to buy flow software for their kids during the
upcoming Christmas season, then I think that we could probably find a way to
lower the price somewhat.



David Novo


De Novo Software

dave at denovosoftware.com


phone: (310) 558-4955

fax: (310) 943-1489

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