This is a brief history of ''massXpert' (for a chronological order, read this page from bottom up.)
author of massXpert, a Free Software package for mass spectrometry
In december 2006, I decided to make a full rewrite of GNU polyxmass. I planned this to occupy me for one year, and in fact in half that duration I got the first version of massXpert. As for the name of the software, I decided to "recycle" the massXpert name because this software is written in C++, as was its ancestor. Also, because the first MS-Windows-based massXpert project is not developped anymore, taking that name was kind of a "revival" of a lost project, which I enjoyed.
The first massXpert project was developed using the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), while for this new project I decided to use a fully cross-platform development toolkit: the Trolltech Qt libraries. Coding with Qt has one big advantage: it allows the developer to code once and to compile on the three main platforms available today: GNU/Linux, Mac-OS-X and MS-Windows. Another advantage is that Qt is wonderful software (Free Software).
During fall 1999 I decided to stop using Microsoft products for my development. At the beginning of 2000 I was hired as a CNRS research staff in a new laboratory and decided to start fresh: I switched to GNU/Linux (I never looked back). After some months of learning, I felt mature to start a new development project that would eventually become an official GNU package: GNU polyxmass.
The GNU polyxmass software that was much more powerful than the first massXpert, got published in BMC Bioinformatics in 2006 (Rusconi, F., GNU polyxmass: a software framework for mass spectrometric simulations of linear (bio-)polymeric analytes. BMC Bioinformatics 2006, 7:226; published 27 April 2006).
Following that publication I got a lot of feedback (very positive, in a way) along the lines: "Hey, your software looks very interesting; it's only a pity we cannot use it because it runs on GNU/Linux, and we only use MS-Windows and MacOSX!". While this was very disappointing because I had hoped that people would be capable of installing a GNU/Linux box in order to use GNU polyxmass, I also understood it: people did want to run the software on the same computer that drove the mass spec so as to be able to elaborate on hypotheses during ongoing mass spectrometric analyses.
When I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Ecole polytechnique-Institut européen de chimie et biologie (Bordeaux, France) I started a project aimed at doing simulations of biochemical reactions on proteins with subsequent mass spectrometric calculations. I named that project massXpert. It featured innovative user-defined post-translational modifications of polypeptides that was later copied by other commercial software packages.
The massXpert program was published in Bioinformatics (Rusconi, F. and Belghazi, M. Desktop prediction/analysis of mass spectrometric data in proteomic projects by using massXpert. Bioinformatics 2002 18(4):644-5).
At that time, MS-Windows was at the Windows NT 4.0 version and the next big release was going to be "you'll see what you'll see" : MS-Windows 2000, all along with the 2k year bug.
When I tried massXpert on that new version of the operating system (one colleague got it shipped with a new machine), I discovered that my software would not run normally (the sequence editor was broken, mouse-wise). The Microsofties would advise to "buy a new version of the compiler environment and rebuild". But Noooo! I did not want to continue paying for only using something I had legally produced!
The fine thing with massXpert is that years later I discovered that people still used it with Windows-XP doing everything with the keyboard instead of using the mouse!