VistA VivA 0.1 Introduced

*Updated 1/26/04: That’s version 0.1 not 1.0, folks.* Recipient of the 2002 Linux Medical News Award, K.S. Bhaskar has announced that VistA VivA 0.1 is now available. It is a bootable CD which runs VistA. *’…A klunky first release of OpenVistA VivA, the OpenVistA Linux live CD is
available for download from the WorldVistA project at Source Forge
( This live CD is based on
remastering Morphix ( and is a combination of Morphix
and OpenVistA SemiVivA…* Read on for the full text of the announcement.

“Release early, release often,” is a mantra of the open source movement,
I believe attributed to Eric S. Raymond.

A klunky first release of OpenVistA VivA, the OpenVistA Linux live CD is
available for download from the WorldVistA project at Source Forge
( This live CD is based on
remastering Morphix ( and is a combination of Morphix
and OpenVistA SemiVivA.

To use it, download and burn the ISO CD image from Source Forge, and
boot an x86 PC (probably at least 128MB RAM and a Pentium processor — I
don’t know what the minimum requirements really are, but I have tried it
on a 256MB 700MHz Athlon PC and a 1GB 1.8GHz Pentium IV PC) from it.
This will put you in a Linux desktop. Caveat: a PC running off a CD-ROM
based compressed file system will run more slowly than a PC running off
uncompressed files on a hard disk.

To run VistA, the operating system (if any!) on the hard drive will not
be touched. However, since I haven’t yet figured out how to operate a
database on a CD-ROM (and don’t expect to any time soon!), the database
will need to be installed on the hard drive. Open a terminal window by
clicking on the terminal icon at the bottom of the screen.

Morphix does not mount hard drive partitions by default, so you will
need to mount the partition on which you wish the database to reside,
e.g. “sudo mount -o rw /mnt/hda1” (if you are not sure what partitions
you have, type “cat /etc/fstab” and look for names that look like
/mnt/xdy or /mnt/xdy# where x is one of the letters h or s, and # is a

To install the database and run it, to run a previously installed
database, or to erase a previously installed database, run “sudo
/usr/local/OpenVistA/vista” (UNIX/Linux users note: there is no
ampersand at the end of that command!). You will be prompted for
required input (and taken to a GT.M shell prompt for the initial
install, from where you will be able to type D ^XUP, D P^DI, etc.). On
an install, the dialog box telling you the database is being copied may
go away before the copy is complete. You should wait for the GT.M

When completed, logout of Morphix. You will be taken to a shell prompt
from where you can type “halt” or “reboot”. Since the CD-ROM drive
won’t open at that point (since the CD is still mounted), I find that I
need to type reboot, and then eject the CD as the PC reboots, and then
power it down. Awkward, but it works. If you type halt, you will be
able to open the CD-ROM drive only on the next boot, as the BIOS does
comes to life.

This first release is klunky and primarily aimed at friendly users. If
you are uncomfortable with a GTM> command mode prompt from where you
have a roll and scroll VistA interface, this is not for you. Remember
that from “GTM>” you can type “Halt” to exit to a Linux shell.

I have created a forum (
for discussion of any issues at the WorldVistA project at Source Forge.
You can also submit Bugs
( and Patches
( and ask for
Support ( at
the WorldVistA project at Source Forge.

Networking is supported by Morphix. So you should be able to configure
your network interfaces and run a CPRS GUI on a Windows machine against
OpenVistA VivA.


If your PC can’t boot from a CD-ROM, you can make a bootable floppy
( is
a 1.4M floppy; I believe there is a 2.8M floppy image on the CD). Use
the Linux dd command or the DOS/Windows RAWRITE.EXE (available on the CD
if you just mount it) to write the floppy images.


Only hard drives with FAT16/32 (Windows 95/98/ME and some Windows NT
PCs) and common Linux partitions are supported. Hard drives with NTFS
partitions (some Windows NT, and most Windows XP and Windows 2000) are
known to be not supported. I don’t know about partitions with Linux
file systems such as jfs and xfs, since I don’t have access to PCs with

The GT.M database is not configured here with journaling turned on. So,
if you power down the PC without shutting down GT.M cleanly (Halt from
the command prompt — unlike other M implementations GT.M doesn’t use a
daemon), you will get database errors (likely to be benign, but you
should repair them). Refer to the Administration and Operations manual,
available at Source Forge
( You will need to enable
and turn on journaling if you want more operational robustness.

OpenVistA VivA is set up as a demo. It comes with no warranty express
or implied. Use it at your own risk.

OpenVistA VivA was done by me as a personal project and Sanchez was not
involved in any way.

Never trust technical work done by a manager.

OpenVistA VivA is untested by anyone except me, and my testing too has
been cursory.

D ^XUP from the GT.M prompt results in a VistA application complaint
about a terminal device not being configured in the database. I have no
idea what to do about it.

The time reported by Morphix seems to be one hour behind the actual
time. I have no idea why.

— Bhaskar

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