The ease of distributing software and the increased need for collaboration between contractors, oil companies, and universities could, with a minimum of organization and money, lead to a free seismic software system.
Such a software collection might resemble the Free Software Foundation's GNU software. The free seismic software system would consist of a set of fairly independent packages, e.g. vplot graphics, I/O routines, and processing applications. Each package would be maintained by an expert somewhere on the web. The project's individual programmers would agree on a few initial standards, such as the seismic file format, or documentation and installation requirements. But otherwise, experts would be free to develop their area of expertise. New packages could naturally emerge and compete with existing ones. The various packages would be freely available at a few anonymous ftp sites. A newsgroup and perhaps a CD-ROM distribution would foster the development. As soon as a certain amount of software exists, more precise standards will emerge.