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[Gnumed-devel] Re: Sent out emails to other EMR Groups

From: Allan MacKinnon
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] Re: Sent out emails to other EMR Groups
Date: Sat, 16 May 2009 23:17:21 -0300

Geez your away for the week and the email just piles up.  I may as well get this one out of the way...

Sebastian asked me to wrangle some of the EMR project admins and get a Debian package drive going.

What do you understand by "Debian package drive"?


  1. To push, propel, or press onward forcibly; urge forward: drove the horses into the corral.
In other words, to "urge forward" the creation of Debian packages.  Namely ones for EMR software.

sent emails out successfully to many groups and I have included a list of them and who I contacted on
an attached text file.  The only problematic one was the OpenPMS group whom I believe contacted the
Hilberts already so I suggest they contact OpenPMS themselves.  Their website was not helpful for
finding contact information.

If you ask me I would have considered it as a very good idea to CC the Debian Med
mailing list in every single mail.  

Would you believe I wasn't even signed up to the debian-med mailing list?  I am now.  I will pass the responses on after I send this email off to both gnumed-devel and whatever the debian-med on is.
Just keep in mind that running a project to
coordinate different large software projects under one technical base (like Debian
packages) with an acceptable quality (of original packaging and keeping them up to
date) requires a large man power, technical infrastructure and experience.  We just
gained this more or less in Debian Med (even if man power is always short).  So
my advise is to at least keep us informed to enable us to support your work.

As a man who runs a one-man operation at Linux For Clinics let me tell you I know the feeling of limited manpower.  Debian-Med should help me tons now that I actually registered for their mailing list. 

> Template email:
> My friends at the GNUmed project and I are wondering if
> you would like to join our drive to package as many FOSS EMR
> software suites as possible for Debian/Ubuntu.  In your
> case, your own project :)

I do believe this wanted more careful wording. GNUmed
certainly doesn't have the resources to help, say, OpenMRS
or Vista, to create Debian packages. One should not make
them think so.

Like telling an obese smoker that the doctor will now change
his adverse lifestyle habits in order to control
cardiovascular risks.

I didn't specifically say that we would help directly.  Hopefully, they would realize that they are not alone, are a part of something larger than themselves and will package their EMR or find someone who can.  I can only see us telling them where to get the appropriate information.

Making contacts and friends is pretty much what I was expecting from this.

> OpenMRS
>       - I'm having trouble finding the contact info. Their webpage is a                       mess.
>       - Weren't the Hilbert's already contacted by these people via an                        introductory message we couldn't decipher? If so, you guys                      can handle this one.  Maybe you can tell them to dumb their                     language down a tad so the native English-speakers can                  understand :P

Where, when ?


Couldn't have been more than 3 weeks ago.  I'm pretty sure it was one of you but it could have been someone else on the mailing list (I've long deleted the message).  The email was a buzzword-laden pile of manager-speak and it was sent over the gnumed-devel mailing list as a joke to see if anyone could figure out what the person was going on about. I'm almost certain it was from OpenMRS.

The idea is quite simple.

1.) let project managers know there is Debian
2.) contact them to tell them about Debian
3.) tell them about Debian and Debian-med
4.) sell the idea that is makes sense to package for Debian
5.) encourage them to package their software
6.) aggregate the packaged projects in some live CD or project
7.) spread the word on a CD/DVD that contains the latest FOSS EMR packaged for

Pretty much :)

Making a LiveCD containing all of the EMRs is an interesting prospect.  Once the EMRs are packaged I could easily make a flavour of LFC with this in mind.  I may have to remove packages so only the EMRs are showcased and to reduce the size of the image (which will likely end up being gigantic).

> The idea is quite simple.
> 1.) let project managers know there is Debian
> 2.) contact them to tell them about Debian
> 3.) tell them about Debian and Debian-med
> 4.) sell the idea that is makes sense to package for Debian

This may be the difficult part. EMRs are vertical apps.
Those that are backed by commercial entities do reach
"their" users via means other than generic Linux distros so
they don't see the need to "get into" any.

We do have that need, however, because we need to reach many
users far and wide because we don't have a well-defined
local user group.

You do have a point, but we need to build packages first before any progress is made.  Rallying behind  Debian-Med is the best way to get this done.

We really have a duty here to show the world that Linux/FOSS is a viable option because our success could encourage others to make Debian/Ubuntu flavours for other markets.  Word-of-mouth and geeks in high places will be our friends until we show how viable an option we can be.

We're doing important work here and you got to start somewhere.

I agree a generic linux distribution packaged with vertical apps may be a hard sell. 

I think there is merit to preconfigure a slew of the open source applications for the healthcare community to make it easy for them to load a distribution and then play with each application.

Precisely the thought behind both Linux For Clinics and Debian-Med.  There are other utilities out there with a medical focus (for example DICOM image browsers) and I plan to always include them in LFC releases.  Also, the Debian-Med website lists a lot of them.
It would be nice to show that we can play better together than commercial systems.  Each of the systems are fairly unique in their appeal to different users and we should try to complement each other.

I agree with this.  In fact we should really pool our resources as our association and projects mature.  We'll need a torrent server someday for some LiveCDs since downloading a +700 MB ISO isn't fun.  As long as our Debian packages are made following the Debian guidelines we should be fine repository-wise but to be truthful it would probably be a good idea to have one of our own so we don't have to wait for the green light from the Debian or Ubuntu people (which I believe Andreas mentions).

When you think about it, it makes sense to coordinate our projects.  We waste time doing the same task seperately, while other important tasks go untouched and we'll all probably do our own versions of those, too, when we get to them.  As inefficient as that is, since everyone specializes in different languages and so forth I'm not really certain on how we can complement each other.  That would take some major coordination and a complete re-write of our development plans.

Enabling the respective EMRs to understand each other's database is great, but I hope other functions can be seperated from the main projects and be useable by other EMR projects.  I think the FreeB billing backend is a good example where this has already inadvertantly occurred because I think GNUmed was planning to use it as well as OpenEMR.
Brotay can provide our own Debian packaging resources - in fact Cam has already setup a few DVDs that are plug and play distributions ready out the box with PatientOS.

Their experience is an asset.  Keep them happy :D

Also, can you tell me how you distribute the DVD images?

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