Letters to the editor
Computer Assistant discrimination
After reading articles in FCW concerning the special salary increases
for selected information technology personnel, I was quite interested to
see the discrimination applied to those of us who are locked into the GS-335
Computer Assistant series.
I believe that the 335 series tops out at a Grade 9. Anyone know otherwise?
That puts a damper on any career aspirations. Is a 335 equivalent to a 334?
Are we now eligible to get into another career series?
How they came to the conclusions they did I do not know. I am curious
to know how many other 335s fell through the cracks because of an antiquated
If you are one of those locked out in the cold, write to the editor.
I am curious. I also would be delighted to be a GS-13 at any time.
Jacqueline F. Knoblock
Make Nastran an open-source product
NASA (and American taxpayers) paid, and continues to pay, for the development
of Nastran, the premier structural analysis tool used by the aerospace industry
throughout the world.
The primary vendor for commercial versions of Nastran is MSC.Software Corp. The company's large-computer versions cost
up to $80,000 per copya high price for smaller corporations and structural
professionals to pay. MSC's personal computer versions are crippleware,
unable to perform certain advanced functions that the expensive versions
can, and they suffer deliberate limitations on the size of the problems
that can be tackled.
MSC recently bought two significantly less-expensive commercial
Nastran distributionsthose known as CSA/Nastran and UI/Nastranand
withdrew them from the market. This forces hapless users to pay what MSC
Right now, there is only one remaining non-MSC Nastran vendor, and I
worry about its viability in a market so distorted by MSC's policies. My
own employer is facing this situation, now that our analytical skills have
come close to outgrowing the PC version.
The irony is that MSC has recently gotten into the Linux business, using
the attraction of that software's low price and multitudinous capabilities
to sell hardware/software "solutions" that are optimized to run MSC.Nastranbut at the full price of MSC's own software.
While taxpayers continue to bankroll the ongoing development of the
NASA version, MSC gets a free ride while building itself a sweet monopoly.
NASA could do itself a huge favor by releasing its own Nastran to the
public as an open-source product. This would offer a curb to MSC's excesses,
encourage the re-entry of competition to the market and soften the price
point. A multitude of small- to medium-size businesses would benefit, and
new entrepreneurial opportunities would appear quickly.
SPACEHAB Inc. Oceaneering Space Systems