We have shown that there is a considerable heterogeneous shape of Free Software in biology. The continuous updates of data and the addition of novel important tools for a general bioinformatics environment cannot be performed by a single maintainer. The adherence to a policy and the sharing of maintenance are basic technologies to allow inter-institutional software projects as in computational grids and mobile agent technology.

Debian and its special dedication to software in computational biology in Debian-Med, but also the technical infrastructure behind this community project renders a comfortable solution. The volunteers behind Debian-Med strive to support everybody's specific projects as best as they possibly can. It is the particular challenge of users of Free Software, to determine together with the community the available packages that already serve their needs or may be adapted respectively.

For Debian to become the race-horse for agents and computational grids, the respective Debian packages and respective policies need to be created. The authors have created a Debian-based installation and experimental packages of the NorduGrid in Rostock. In cooperation with Emanuela Merelli and Ezio Bartocci from Camerino the installation of the BioAgents [18] environment is addressed under Debian. The development of a Debian package of the JADE agent environment[2] is currently being addressed.

Explicit links between service descriptions in bioinformatics by MOBY-S and the Debian package management have not been implemented. Similarly, no efforts are known to combine it with the site selection in computational grids. Both seems technically feasible.

Whatever choice for an infrastructure is made, with Debian it is available to all collaborating sites almost instantly.

Andreas Tille 2005-05-13