FW: [Transana-announce] Transana Development

From: Eugene Matusov (ematusov@UDel.Edu)
Date: Thu Aug 12 2004 - 08:21:19 PDT

FYI: Cry for help from our great colleagues....


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Thorn [mailto:cathorn@wisc.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 6:12 PM
To: transana-announce
Subject: [Transana-announce] Transana Development


I'm Chris Thorn, the principal investigator of the project that has been
sponsoring the development of Transana and its related tools.

For several years now, the Transana team has been working hard to create
and maintain a powerful tool for the transcription and analysis of video
data, yet make it freely available to users everywhere. The team and I
have been excited at the rapidly growing number of users around the world
and are deeply appreciative of the all the kind words and helpful feedback
we've received.

The great news is that a new and even more powerful second version of
Transana, that will also run on non-Windows computers, is on the verge of
being released.

The not so great news is that the modest research funding that has made it
possible to provide this exceptional tool to our users at no charge is
running out.

Of course we have been seeking additional funding and have gotten some
very good reviews on our proposals. Unfortunately, that hasn't translated
into enough funding. It turns out that in our area, education research,
there is not much money for the development of open source software for
researchers. Instead, they are expected to buy commercial software to
carry out their work. But in the area of video analysis and collection
management, such software is often too expensive or non-existent.

Originally, we had hoped a sufficient number of Transana users would
either join our open source effort and provide development skills or write
us into their grant proposals and support ongoing development financially.
 We've gotten some support, but not nearly enough. Without that support,
we will have no choice but to keep our developers employed by putting them
on unrelated, but funded, work. Don't worry, Transana will always remain
open source and we will continue to work on it in whatever ways we can,
but we won't be able to maintain our current pace.

We are currently submitting new proposals and are hopeful, but even if we
are successful, there will be a slow-down in Transana development.
Ironically, this comes just as we are releasing the beta of the new open
source version for Windows. More troubling is that as we were getting the
Macintosh alpha version ready, we discovered a serious problem due to a
change in a software component we rely on (more details here:
http://www2.wcer.wisc.edu/Transana/Develop ). I am confident we can solve
the problem, but it will require more developer resources than we
currently have available.

So, you may wonder, what can you do to help? Well, there are three

First, if you are submitting a new grant proposal that includes the use of
Transana, please consider putting us on it in order to support ongoing
development, get priority technical support, receive training, or speed up
the development of a feature you need.

Second, if you know of a grant or funding opportunity that would provide
resources for improving a tool like Transana, please let us know!

Third, if you are a programmer, consider working with us in the open
source model and contributing programming to our effort. Transana is
complex, but very modular and there is work for programmers at all levels
of experience.

Thanks again to everyone for your time and support,


Chris Thorn, Ph.D.
Researcher & Director of Technical Services,
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
1025 W. Johnson St., Room 370
Madison, WI 53706
Tel: 608-263-2709 Fax: 608-265-9300

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