30 November 2007

The Virtues of PatientOS

It used to be a truism that the open source development methodology would only work for mainstream projects. Only for areas of interest to large user and hacker populations, so the logic went, could support the free software ecology. So a striking proof of the growing maturity of open source is its increasing appearance in vertical markets, hitherto regarded as unviable.

For example, here's the GPL'd PatientOS:

PatientOS is a free clinical information management system for hospitals and healthcare practitioners. Pharmacy, the laboratory, registration and other departments will be able to automate many processes when version 1.0 is released October 31st, 2008. A physician practice version will be released March 31st, 2008.

Pretty specialist - and pretty important, too. (Via FSDaily.)


ftrotter said...

Despite the enthusiasm of the poster for Open Source, PatientOS is largely a distraction to the larger Free and Open Source Healthcare Software community. PatientOs is alpha code, running live nowhere. There are several applications that are better funded, have more features and have larger communities. The problem with PatientOS is fully documented here. http://www.fredtrotter.com/2007/11/27/foss-sin-pointless-duplication-of-effort/

By starting a new project, PatientOS robs resources from legitimate projects. Someday, the PatientOS project might catchup and be a viable project. For the time being they are irrelevant but noisy.

Glyn Moody said...

I wouldn't presume to comment on the relative merits of the two projects, but I would point out that dissipative as they are, forks can be beneficial - and are actually crucially important to the health of open source.

They ensure that people have a choice, and that they get what they want, not what the coders think they want. Darwinian selection will sort out which project thrives.