"Linux and open source verteran, Richard Hillesley,
wonders if the much-used aphorism that 'information wants to be
free' is still prescient in the light of of current events.
"The preliminary work on the sequencing of the human genome was
completed on 22 June 2000. The Wellcome Trust had invested
£210 million in a public project led by British and American
scientists with the purpose of making the data available to
"The work, first begun in 1995, was complicated by a bid from a
private American company, Celera Genomics, to win the race to
assemble and patent the fragments. The public effort won the race
by a matter of hours, largely due to the efforts of Jim Kent, a
graduate student in biology at the University of California, Santa
Cruz, who wrote the vital 10,000-line program in a month because he
didn't want to see the genome data locked up by patents. Celera
Genomics was reputed to have procured the most powerful civilian
computer in history for its effort."