CNET: LinuxWorld Shows Software Entering Adulthood

CNET has a good roundup of the views from this weeks LinuxWorld: ‘…The code-sharing, cooperative “open source” programming model that underlies Linux is a “better mousetrap” than the closed-source, proprietary methods employed by Microsoft, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown analyst Phil Rueppel and colleagues said in a 147-page report earlier this month. Specifically, open-source software naturally shifts priorities away from the companies that sell software–Microsoft and Oracle, for example–and toward the customers that use the software. “From its inception as a school project to its capturing of 30 percent (of server operating system sales) in 10 short years, Linux has proven beyond a doubt that the open-source model can lead to the development of robust technologies faster than in a closed-source model,” Rueppel said…’

Fresno III To Discuss Medical Open Source

A meeting of the medical open source minds will be occurring in Fresno, California this weekend at Dr. Pepper’s (his real name) house. Known as Fresno III after the first two meetings that occurred subsequent to the fall 2001 AMIA Conference, Fresno III will gather together some of the most active participants in the open source medical software revolution. Dr. Pepper of MedMapper fame writes: ‘…if anyone want[s] to come to Fresno and provide input we’d love it. The main development team is Alex Caldwell, Bob Shepard and I (three Family docs, all with 15+yrs experience and computer-programming skills) along with programmer Tim Cook from FreePM. Dr. Nicola Ellis from Britain (PhD in informatics) will join us for this meeting, we’ve had a British and Dutch contingent previously… One of the most intelligent things ever written about medical open source was by Fresno III participant Adrian Midgley on the Fam-Med list:

‘…I’ll say it again…the open source model of software development allows all users to acquire and use the most effective software. This promotes commonality of interface and back end software more than any commercial or governmental scheming can, and also tends to produce good software, maintainable by several support sources, and able to evolve as long as anyone wants it to. Your major risk in any other sort of software is of a forced change of software, or failure of support leaving you languishing. One leads to the other. Think very hard about this…’

Wired: Microsoft Crashes

LinuxMedNews was prophetic when it wrote about the inherent security risk closed source software such as Microsoft’s presents. The prediction that was made April, 2000 in ‘Closed Medical Software Poses Unacceptable Risk’ is still valid today and further bolstered by Wired’s article today about Microsoft’s recent Internet site outages. The Wired article states that ‘…most security experts agree that the network configuration problems that were revealed by Microsoft’s original blackout are far more serious than the company’s later fall to DoS [denial of service] attacks. Microsoft itself seems to agree with those sentiments, and has evidently asked for help in managing its DNS (domain name system) records…Greg Keefe, the owner and operator of DNS service provider, noted that the company had “frantically off-loaded the management of their DNS to another company today.”
“I simply can’t respect that move coming from a Fortune 100 company that develops and sells DNS software as part of their core business,”…’

MozillaQuest: Linux for Microsoft Windows Users

This is an article to bookmark from MozillaQuest which is more or less of a Rosetta stone for Microsoft Windows users interested in Linux. It references a number of articles that answer basic questions about setting up and interoperating with MS Windows. A great first start for Windows users interested in Linux. ‘Linux has come a long way over the past few years. Some Linux
packages (distributions) now are fairly easy to install and to use.
There is lots of software for Linux and it’s likely that you can do
everything you want to do computer-wise with Linux. All in all,
Linux now is a decent alternative, or perhaps more importantly an
excellent supplement, to Microsoft (MS) Windows…’

14th Computer-based Medical System Symposium

The Fourteenth IEEE Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems (CBMS 2001) will be held July
26-27, 2001 at the Natcher Center on the Campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). CBMS 2001 is
co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, and is now inviting the submission of technical research
papers from the NIH community. The conference Web site is here.
This symposium draws together experts in many fields to discuss the latest advances in medical systems based upon

PC Mag: Linksys Makes Wireless Affordable

PC Mag reviews LinkSys wireless Ethernet 802.11b standard adapter. What is noteworthy about it is the price: $130 for the wireless adapter and $250 for the access point. According to Bill Machrone, this is a steep decline from the days of $1000 access points and $500 adapters. What’s more, it can be used on either a laptop or a desktop. With costs declining so quickly, universal, affordable wireless data access in hospitals and clinics can’t be far off. At this price, technology like this in health care is likely to become as ubiquitous as telephones are now.

LMN Jobs/Classifieds/Career Section Opens!

Here’s my best go at a grandiose, ‘I am powerful’, hyped-up press release about something that’s good but not that big a deal: Houston, Texas: the leader in free and open source medical software news and resource information is proud to announce its latest contribution to the free and open source medical computing effort: LinuxMedNews Jobs/Classifieds/Career Development. This exciting new sub-site to the flagship can be found here and from the left of the LinuxMedNews home page by clicking the ‘Jobs/Classifieds’ link. Using the powerful Zope and Squishdot web publishing environments, readers can browse, search and post job listings, classified ads and career development information in easily searchable categories. Posts are viewable instantaneously. This classifieds section along with its Comprehensive Project List continues LinuxMedNews committment to help revolutionize medical education and practice through free and open source medical technologies.

Wired: Medical Privacy’s Tangled Web

Wired’s Donna Tappellini writes on some of the difficulties of HIPAA: ‘…When Congress mandated the standardization of all electronic health-care documents in
1996, it created the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It also opened
a Pandora’s box teeming with privacy and security issues.

HIPAA gave Congress three years to sort out the complex issues, and when it couldn�t
the mess was tossed into the lap of the Department of Health and Human Services. Last
month, HHS released its final list of standards and regulations on the privacy issues, with
security regulations expected this month…’

Wired: Tech Bucks in HIPAA Compliance

Wired writes: ‘…A treatise of federal rules intended to protect the privacy of health information could slam hospitals with
egregious compliance costs…The American Hospital Association estimates it will take a total of about $22.5 billion, so
companies who sell compliance solutions stand to do quite well for themselves. But the AHA says
hospitals should be cautious.

“We haven’t seen a killer app yet, and we are hoping hospitals will carefully examine the vendors
out there to find something that really meets their needs,” said Melinda Hatton, chief
Washington counsel for the AHA…’
With most health-care entities woefully behind in even basic clinical computing software, much less HIPAA compliance, I haven’t seen a killer app yet either, Melinda.