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#1 2014-07-28 01:02:45

hadiyazdi
Member
Registered: 2011-11-13
Posts: 14

Arch-based medical distro

I started a simple project to build an arch-based distro for medical professionals

The base install is ready and my own-developed simple medical apps are in development to be included...

I was searching for more apps to include (medical image viewer, electronic medical records) and I found a lot of options, and have no idea what to include and where to start.. I never used any of them, (still a medical student), and I was wondering anyone could help in bringing birth to this distro?

Suggesting apps, or maybe helping in building and packaging apps not available in the official repo or the AUR? or even only testing?

Any interest?!

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#2 2014-07-28 01:06:58

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 13,509
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Re: Arch-based medical distro

<moderator hat off>

hadiyazdi wrote:

Any interest?!

Interest in creating a new distro rather than contributing to archlinux?  No.

Why create a new distro?  If there are several programs that would be good for a medical professional, you could certainly set up an unofficial repo without having to fork yet-another arch-based distro.

This way your users could benefit from the existing arch community and the existing community could benefit from you and your users.

What's the point of your new distro?  Can doctors not use arch linux??


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#3 2014-07-28 01:08:52

hadiyazdi
Member
Registered: 2011-11-13
Posts: 14

Re: Arch-based medical distro

Actually? no... without a GUI installer, preinstalled apps, they will mostly not waste time to learn starting from scratch... They need a system that will work out of the box, with everything ready to work

Last edited by hadiyazdi (2014-07-28 01:09:20)

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#4 2014-07-28 01:17:25

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
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Posts: 18,322
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Re: Arch-based medical distro

hadiyazdi wrote:

They need a system that will work out of the box, with everything ready to work

Then Arch is a poor choice. Ongoing maintenance and manual intervention (plus actually caring about what is going on with their machines) are all priorities which I doubt any of these professionals will have, will only mean frustration and an unjustifiably poor view of Arch. Why would you want to inflict this on them?


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#5 2014-07-28 01:20:07

hadiyazdi
Member
Registered: 2011-11-13
Posts: 14

Re: Arch-based medical distro

jasonwryan wrote:
hadiyazdi wrote:

They need a system that will work out of the box, with everything ready to work

Then Arch is a poor choice. Ongoing maintenance and manual intervention (plus actually caring about what is going on with their machines) are all priorities which I doubt any of these professionals will have, will only mean frustration and an unjustifiably poor view of Arch. Why would you want to inflict this on them?


Hmmm... maybe... I started this to learn more about archiso and then after having my custom arch image ready, I had this idea in mind... I guess I was a little over enthusiastic

Last edited by hadiyazdi (2014-07-28 01:32:19)

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#6 2014-07-28 01:40:14

nomorewindows
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Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 2,961

Re: Arch-based medical distro

There probably isn't even the slightest possibility that Arch would make in a medical office.  There have been some thin clients being used in some offices to look at medical records or something like this, but I doubt Arch would be a good pick.  And definitely not something that is mission critical.  There's kind of an irony here, because *nix is touted to run for years without being rebooted, but Arch is more hobby class and wouldn't likely make it in the medical office.


I may have to CONSOLE you about your usage of ridiculously easy graphical interfaces...
Look ma, no mouse.

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#7 2014-07-28 13:40:48

mrunion
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From: Jonesborough, TN
Registered: 2007-01-26
Posts: 1,549
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Re: Arch-based medical distro

FWIW (My "two cents"):

My wife works in a pediatric cardiology office. She is the office manager. That office uses Windows on everything. Why? Because the doctors don't do their own installations. Their EMR (electronic medical records) system is browser-based (Internet Explorer, of course). The EMR provider says "our authorized partner in your area is XYZ, and we only provide Windows versions of out software". XYZ only handles Windows installs and networks. The servers only come with Windows pre-installed.

Now, whenever there are machine problems (and that's not rare, mind you!), my wife calls me (I'm a software developer -- have been for 20 years - so her assumption is that I know the problem.) to ask if I can help. I try to answer as best as possible, but some things  (usually networking stuff) I can't help too much with. There has been more than one occasion where we go into the office on a weekend and try to narrow an issue for the support people. We usually get them close to the problem, if not tell them what the problem is and all they have to do is fix it.

Now fast forward. My family all use Linux at home. My 6-year-old uses it, the two older kids use it, and my wife and I use it. The doctors my wife works for have asked us to back up and rebuild their machines multiple times because they get viruses. They asked our recommendation. "Ditch Windows" is the reply. Last week, one doctor got another virus and was fed up. He asked us to wipe the machine, install Linux and he would try it out and see if he liked it.

My point? He asked US to install it. On his OWN PERSONAL laptop. While I applaud your efforts, doctors won't even know what Linux is, let alone touch it.


Matt

"It is very difficult to educate the educated."

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#8 2014-07-29 12:01:27

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 13,509
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Re: Arch-based medical distro

hadiyazdi wrote:

I started this to learn more about archiso and then after having my custom arch image ready, I had this idea in mind... I guess I was a little over enthusiastic

No worries - far better to be occasionally over enthusiastic, then never enthusiastic enough.  There simply may be more productive ways to channel that enthusiasm: more productive both for you, your would-be users, and the rest of the arch community.

First, let me highlight the real problem with spin-off distros.  You certainly could put together an installation iso with all the right stuff for a medical professional to put an arch-based system on their computer and start using it.  But are you going to commit to maintaining it and doing all the hard work that really comes with maintaining a distrobution?  If not, the best case scenario is that your distro would be a passing fad, and you'd get (probably less than) your 15 minutes of micro-fame.  The more realistic scenario is that your distro would be just a fart in the wind - and as a result, so too would be your enthusiasm for contributing in other ways.

In contrast to all this, there are very productive ways to channel any such enthusiasm.  A majority (if not all) of the great things about archlinux have come from one person scratching their own personal itch, then sharing the products with the community.  This way they are giving back to the community - but it is not purely selfless: they are appreciated by the community.  How small would be your target audience for the new distro?  You'd tell a few collegues, and maybe one or two of them would share it with a few of theirs ... pretty small.  But if you see software that could be useful to medical professionals that is lacking in archlinux and instead you make/improve AUR packages, or even set up an unofficial repo with the precompiled binaries, then any medical professional who searches the AUR can find your products.

Further benefits of this approach are that now your contribution will likely last much longer.  There will be more users to benefit from it, and more to appreciate your contribution.  And when you inevitably get too busy to maintain a few of the AUR packages, or the repo, there will be a much larger pool of potential volunteers to take over - thus preserving the 'legacy' of your contribution.

I suppose this all lends itself well to a parable of sowing seeds on different types of ground.  Suffice it to say that being a successful farmer may have more in common with being a successful archer than one would first suspect.

And in contrast to my initial answer of "No", I would be happy to help you get PKGBUILDs working for all the tools you would like to make available in the AUR or in a custom repo.  I also suspect many others here would be much more welcoming to this as well.


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#9 2014-07-29 16:10:23

Leonid.I
Member
From: Aethyr
Registered: 2009-03-22
Posts: 947

Re: Arch-based medical distro

hadiyazdi wrote:

Actually? no... without a GUI installer, preinstalled apps, they will mostly not waste time to learn starting from scratch... They need a system that will work out of the box, with everything ready to work

GUI installers are overrated and are not nearly as straightforward as arch install scripts. If I were doing "standard" deployments, I'd use a modified arch-bootstrap images (which are prebuilt rootfs, a.k.a cloud images), and develop a scripted installation.

What I don't understand is your definition of "medical". What specific software do you have in mind?

Last edited by Leonid.I (2014-07-29 16:10:59)


Arch Linux is more than just GNU/Linux -- it's an adventure

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#10 2014-07-30 21:58:09

MoonSwan
Member
From: Great White North
Registered: 2008-01-23
Posts: 873

Re: Arch-based medical distro

@OP, in case you missed it, I came across this package in the AUR and thought it might be of value to you (assuming you haven't seen it yourself) The Image-Guided Surgery Toolkit

And, for whatever it's worth, I am in complete agreement with Trilby's assessment of contributing to the Open Source Community.  He's a wise man so pay heed to his words.  smile

Last edited by MoonSwan (2014-07-30 22:02:12)


I'm torn apart between worlds. Basically, using vim in a highly visual environment with a lot of mouse features feels like soldering a lose wire to a motherboard with a Zippo and a needle, while working with ANY TEXT AT ALL with a "modern GUI" text editor feels like joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Magical Musical Mirror.  --Awebb

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#11 2014-08-17 22:57:08

doggone
Member
Registered: 2013-06-19
Posts: 49

Re: Arch-based medical distro

At the risk of going a bit too far off-topic: this discussion reminds me a lot of the elementary OS distribution. How much better off wouldn't they have been if they'd just made a distro-portable DE. Sigh.

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#12 2014-08-25 14:39:20

sjg
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2007-02-10
Posts: 61

Re: Arch-based medical distro

I am a doctor (hepatology and liver transplant), and have used linux for many years. The problem, as others have pointed out, is that arch is just not stable enough to be used in a practice setting. Most doctors (especially in the UK, but it was similar when I worked in the states for a short time) have no control over the systems they use at work. In the large hospital where I work now they are only just migrating (slowly) to windows 7 from XP. The chance of linux being adopted is zero.

I know other doctors who use linux at home, although I don't think there is a need for a medically-focussed distro for home use. 95% of my computer use at home is the internet, researching and writing papers, and writing presentations. I imagine that this is similar to people in other professions, The only medical-specific program I have ever needed was a DICOM viewer on a single occasion. I needed to make my own pkgbuild for that, and I agree with Trilby that maintaining medical-specific software for the AUR or setting up a medical repo would be the way to go. I thought about maintaining a medical repo myself a few years ago and there were a few people interested in this but I never found the time to do it. 

Good luck if this is something you pursue.

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#13 2014-08-26 01:00:51

mrunion
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From: Jonesborough, TN
Registered: 2007-01-26
Posts: 1,549
Website

Re: Arch-based medical distro

OK, I am a software developer (25+ years). My wife is a nurse and office manager for specialist cardiologists (almost 10 years).

Linux IS more stable than Windows. The doctors' offices crash ALL THE TIME. But (and here is the BUT), all the tech companies are Windows only. All the software is Windows only. To be honest, there needs to be OSX-based medical software. That'd be the ideal.


Matt

"It is very difficult to educate the educated."

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#14 2014-09-24 09:45:55

parchd
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 235

Re: Arch-based medical distro

I love Arch, since switching back to it after many years away I can't imagine using anything else on my home machines (not that I regret having switched, I learnt a lot in my years of distro-hopping).

That said, if you are interested in working on a medical distro, why not contribute to something like DebianMed instead? Choice is great, but I for one start to panic when there is too much of it.

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#15 2014-10-02 03:05:00

GI Jack
Member
Registered: 2010-12-29
Posts: 85

Re: Arch-based medical distro

No, this is a really bad idea.

Arch is simply not suited for this type of work. Even if you made a graphical installer, and management tools, the very fact that arch is rolling release makes it unsuitable for non-techies, especially not in the medical field where things have to be fairly fail-safe-ish. You can't guaruntee that the specific medical software will always work, or the amount of maintence it might require for new library or dependency versions. Medical software is likely to be propertiary and poorly maintained. Then imagine having to update lots of Arch Boxes like this.

For medical distros I'd recommend something like CentOS actually, that has a very long(read 10 years) lifespan, where you can guaruntee "just works" for 10 years worth of security fixes without ever having to worry if the hardware will be obsoleted, or new bugs cropping up. Especially for people who have other things to worry about than fixing their system.

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