Saturday, March 14, 2009

Open Source and Technology Choices

I have been reading about HealthCare IT; since it is the industry I have been focused on the past year or more (,,  Let me start off by saying I love the Open Source community--it amazes me, fascinates me and stirs up idealism that I so wish to realize and I am very grateful to all that contribute to Open Source (see earlier interview I did with KDE News site, now archived).  I have been following VistA and more specifically OpenVistA or WorldVistA as an open source Health Care EMR, so tonight as I was reading I found that Larry Augstin is on the board of MedSphere which has this technology stack that is kind of frightening (MUMPS, GtK, C#, etc.).  For those that don't check out the wikipedia link on Larry, or recognize the name, he founded SourceForge and is an Open Source genius!  But, what was that, he is also on the boards of Compiere (I did an install many years ago as a test, Java, thick-client, Oracle database, and I thought it had a lot of potential until I went through the install, and looked more closely at the User Interface); and not only Compiere, but Hyperic--Andy Danser and I were just evaluating Hyperic for IT monitoring and it didn't make our short list compared to Nagios and/or SpiceWorks (maybe we will have to revisit Hyperic, especially since I have a sales/followup person contacting me, and not only Hyperic but JBoss has Larry Augstin on the board.  I'll mention it again, "he is an open source genius!".  But, I was hoping Compiere, JBoss, and most recently Hyperic would work for my needs--but in my experience they seemed to be too far away from my needs, more technology complicated to use, distracting from my specific goals and needs.  I would love to find opportunity to work with them to improve them, but it is a contanst delima of having to first get over the initial need/goal and then being able to contribute to help improve.  I remeber submitting a patch to Tomcat back in like 2003 for the JSP Taglib code and it was fun, but I was already getting value from Tomcat, and it was easy to work with because I was already in the mix of it.  Seems like Compiere, JBoss, Hyperic, MedSphere haven't been able to pull me into the mix as of yet.  And, it makes me wonder how many more people are like me and can't get over the open source hump to be pulled into the project.  Maybe MedSphere will be the one that pulls me in, I do belive in Open Source Health Care IT--it is a great choice--if they wrap the legacy code (MUMPS) with standard web services maybe it can take off and I can get some immediate value from it--first thing, I would like to see is a Overview Guide... maybe I can come up with one... I haven't even come close to digest all that I need to that is already out there... seems very scattered, not centralized or clear.  Hopefully, I can help at some point but often times I am scattered and unclear also!

Just some random thoughts today about Open Source, Software/System Design, and adoption.  Really needs a few cups of coffee or a couple beers to talk through fully.

As always, love to hear comments and thoughts.

Best wishes!
Pete Gordon

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