Review: FOSS Project Management Software

An ideal project management software ideally should be Free and Open Source and have:

  • Web collaboration.
  • Export to multiple formats.
  • Cross Platform.
  • Robust enough to handle large complex projects.
  • Gantt chart, Pert chart and resource linking.There are several applications that could fit the bill, but in the end, one of them shines. 

    Among applications that are specifically for project management, there are two standouts: dot-project which is a web-based collaborative environment based on PHP and Gantt Project a Java-based, cross platform, stand alone application.


    Before we move on to the two contenders, a digression is in order to discuss the thought process. The obvious MS Project application seems like a lot of money to pay for a program that, while vital, doesn’t do that much. On a complicated project with workers widely dispersed geographically, the lowest common denominator comes into play which at first glance is simply a spreadsheet file. There are a multitude of hacked together spreadsheet bastardizations of project management. In addition to their cumbersome nature, many of them are expensive, over $100. A possible strength is that they may be easily intraconverted to other file formats, or not. There is also the likely proprietary spreadsheet application that it sits on.

    Dot-project’s strength is that it is web-based and can provide a truly collaborative environment. Its weaknesses are that it seems to has serious errors that we could not fix in our installation. This greatly limited its use. As well, it did not appear to have usable export capabilities from its MySQL back-end.

    Gantt-project is a robust application that provides an excellent cross-platform GUI experience. In addition, it exports to multiple formats: MS project, jpeg snapshot, pdf, html and is stored in a native XML format. The MS project export capability is attractive to management types who may want an ‘upgrade’ path. Drawbacks are that it is a single user file application that does not enable web collaboration.

    For our project, we chose Gantt Project because of its export capability and the ability of multiple users to download the application free of charge and view it even though they were unlikely to actually edit the document. Had dot-project not had a serious error that we could not fix and been able to export to external formats easily, it would have been the application of choice. Gantt project is working great for the present, but web-based collaborative applications like dot-project appear to be the future. With these two FOSS project management applications, there is simply no need for a spreadsheet project management kludge.

AMIA oswg releases Open Source EHR Review

The American Medical Informatics Association Open Source Working Group is presenting Review of Open Source Electronic Health Records (EHR). This review will cover the top Open Source projects that posses Medical Practice Management, Medical Billing Software, and Electronic Health Records. To start with, three systems will be evaluated; MirrorMed/ClearHealth, FreeMED and OpenEMR.

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FreeMED 0.8.2 and REMITT 0.3.1 released

The FreeMED Software Foundation is proud to announce the release of version 0.8.2 of FreeMED and version 0.3.1 of REMITT. These releases are stable releases in the FreeMED 0.8.x and REMITT 0.3.x release cycles. FreeMED is available here and REMITT is available here on sourceforge. Read below for more information about this release. (The original release is available at

    Some of the improved features and bugfixes are:

  • PDF Form Templating support
  • Appointments: now supports 5 minute booking increments, colorizing of appointments, tracking of templates
  • Translations: French, German, Japananese included in the release, fixed speed issue
  • Improved DjVu document handling
  • Prescriptions: support for templated refills
  • HL7 Interface: patient id handling fix
  • Billing: fix TOS and default fee handling for CPT codes
  • REMITT: improved PDF output, added GatewayEDI transport, fixed HCFA/CMS-1500 output
  • More interface and small bug related issues

PR: CodeWeavers, WorldVistA Collaborate On Linux Edition Of Public Domain VistA Health Information Software

Open Source Version Will Greatly Increase Appeal for Non-Profits, Developing Nations

ST. PAUL, MN � (February 20, 2006) � CodeWeavers, Inc., the leading Windows-to-Linux software developer, and WorldVistA, a U.S. non-profit organization, today announced a strategic partnership aimed at making low-cost healthcare management software more freely available worldwide. As the centerpiece of that partnership, CodeWeavers is porting the CPRS (Computerized Patient Record System) component of VistA, a free electronic health records software application developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for use on Linux open source computers.

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Software Project Success and Failure

Not exactly news since it was published in 2003, however, this article outlines characteristics of successful and un-successful software projects. An interesting allusion to another paper is: ‘…two attributes that appeared equally for projects that succeeded or failed. These two were: Use of Consultants, and Well Qualified Personnel. Equal numbers of successful and failed projects used consultants, and the same was true for well-qualified personnel. It is perhaps disappointing that these two attributes did not portend project success…’ Thanks to Cory for this link.

OpenEHR Release 1.0 published

Release 1.0 of openEHR (Release Notes) was published on 10/Feb/2006. openEHR is a set of public specifications, tested in implementation, for a distributed EHR/EHR computing platform and is designed for use at all levels of e-Health. It integrates with existing data sources, terminologies and is multi-lingual.

OpenEHR is an object-oriented set of specifications designed for implementation in real systems. Semantics include distributed versioning, the full cycle of clinical information recording, various levels of anonymity for the patient, a sophisticated model of time-based data, comprehensive data types and integration with workflow engines.

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GPL Violation in Austria’s e-Card System

According to this article: ‘The project has
uncovered and resolved violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in
the Austrian electronic health card (e-card) system.

Specifically, those license violations originate by SV-Chipkarten Betriebs- und
Errichtungs GmbH, the company in charge of setting up the Austrian electronic
health card system…”While there is nothing wrong with using GPL licensed software in commercial
products, it is only permitted under certain obligations, such as passing
on the license agreement, and making available the full corresponding
source code”, says Mr. Harald Welte, Linux kernel developer and founder of the project…’ Thanks to Tim Churches on the OpenHealth list for this link.

GPLMedicine sparks debates

“The GPL is the only license that is moral for medical or health-related software.” That sentence sparked a long and intense debate on the use of the GPL in health IT at
The GPL debate, is now linked to from
An earlier unpublished email debate with the author of X-Med has now been posted to the site. Both of these are part of an effort to publish more of my health GPL activism on the web.

First ImageJ User and Developer Conference

ImageJ is a public domain Java image processing program inspired by NIH Image for the Macintosh. It runs, either as an online applet or as a downloadable application, on any computer with a Java 1.1 or later virtual machine. Downloadable distributions are available for Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X and Linux. The author, Wayne Rasband, is at the Research Services Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
The first ImageJ User and Developer Conference will take place at the Centre de Recherche Henri Tudor in Luxembourg from the 18. – 19. May 2006. This conference is the first one that focuses on image processing with ImageJ.