Bika LIMS really free?
There are no license fees, the code base is achieved through the foresight of clients who
want to see their investment strengthened. Labs source services, e.g. configuration,
training and support, from their preferred providers, in-house or contracted
Can we install Bika LIMS on our own servers?
Sure, on site or server farm of your choice
What do we get?
Full ownership. Bika LIMS is Free and Open Source, users have full ownership and access to
their code, sans licence fees or vendor lock-in. Bika can be used by unlimited users
Where's the catch?
LIMS is complex and you'll likely require assistance with configuration, startup assistance
and interfacing Instruments. We recommend taking out professional support for prioritised
we get better SEO visibility using Open Source?
Through participation on public forums and user groups indexed by search engines, and
hosting Bika on your own domain. Sponsors of new features get bigger exposure, in the
community and through news Items and press releases
So is it any good?
Professional Open Source, POS, has become better than closed systems for all its inherent
benefits unmatched in proprietary environments and built-in quality control of open code
repositories. Only standardised code including unit tests and documentation is accepted and
thoroughly tested by early adopter community users
About the expensive Support
Using non disruptive shared tools and tracker to optimise capacity and budgets, a lot gets
done per well managed support hour and tasks resolved very efficiently
Best practice is a dedicated LIMS server running Debian or Ubuntu. Quad core i7, 64GB RAM, 2
* 256GB SSD in RAID. Thin browser-only workbench PCs. Zebra desktop label printers and
barcode scanners are robust and good value
The Bika UIX sucks
LIMS remains complex but Bika’s configurability, simplified logic and modern browser based
front designed by usability experts, raise the bar and cannot be compared to proprietary
Where can we save?
Most Bika and Senaite professionals will do server installations at discounted prices in
order to grow the project. Big configurations can be imported from spreadsheets. Instrument
results files can be converted to a generic format for import
Why are more labs not using Open Source LIMS?
Unfamiliarity - labs do not realise they can have tailormade industrial strength LIMS this
affordably. And FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, a disinformation strategy by proprietary
closed source systems
How does Senaite relate to Bika LIMS?
The Bika LIMS code, developed over 15 years from 2002 to 2017, forms Senaite’s foundation.
In 2018, Bika 4 design, focussing on performance and maintainability, came into being as
Senaite to resolve the naming issue of project and founding company using the same title,
unfair to other participants
does ‘Bika’ mean?
Bika Lab Systems, Cape Town, contributes to Senaite, but bulk of the code originates in
Europe today. With near 20 years invested, we maintain the Bika brand independently,
providing add-ons to extend the generic Senaite base with functions extra to its lean
performance driven scope
In the spirit of liberty and Ubuntu, Bika traditionally strives for a more holistic delivery
model, and value professionalism and honesty, telling it as it is
Bika is an isiZulu word, pronounced ‘beekah’ and means ‘to report’, or more colloquially,
‘Tell it as it is’. The name was chosen in the ethnic heyday of Ubuntu Linux, replacing the
eurocentric Bach, Bika’s foregoing prototype for wine laboratories
Ingosi ‘chief’ Bika 2 followed, and Gaob ‘king’ Bika 3. Gaob is taken from Khoi San Nama,
language of the world's first people