An anonymous reader writes "There is a huge amount of largely overlapping but often incompatible medical imaging research software — funded by the US taxpayer (i.e. NITRC or I Do Imaging). I imagine the situation may be similar in other fields, but it is pronounced here because of the glut of NIH funding. One reason is historical: most of the well-funded, big, software-producing labs/centers have been running for 20 or more years, since long before the advent of git, hg, and related sites promoting efficient code review and exchange; so they have established codebases. Another reason is probably territorialism and politics. As a taxpayer, this situation seems wasteful. It's great that the software is being released at all, but the duplication of effort means quality is much lower than it could be given the large number of people involved (easily in the thousands, just counting a few developer mailing list subscriptions). No one seems to ask: why are we funding X different packages that do 80% of the same things, but none of them well?"
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