A medical industry acclaimed open source distro, Debain-Med is pioneering Open Source Bioinformatics software that brings enriched medical software for licensed or free use. The idea behind FOSS or Free Open Source Software solutions for the Medical world is to offer Custom Debian Distribution for medical and biological issues, as non-proprietary software, which is cutting-edge, sophisticated and reliable.
The story of the special purpose distro
Debian-Med Project began in 2002, to act as a facilitator or bridge between high performing computational biology, medical imaging, medical informatics already available in the FOSS format and the medical world. This distro has proved to be the successful missing link between the end users in the medical world and software application developers.
As Debian was already, a platform in which these sophisticated software pre-existed Debain-Med became the logical extension. It was introduced in this scenario to offer comprehensive coverage as well as complete integration of the various package and to play the role of a package maintainer. The ultimate goal was to achieve an operating system that allows seminal medical research and practice with easy to use pre-developed packages that ensured faster processing of new research data and building of newer research/medical practices in terms of techniques, diagnostics etc. Further, Debain’s default compatibility with 11 platforms allows users greater freedom for hardware choice.
Debian-Med as a Pure Blend
Debian-Med has in a way delivered in a major development of free, affordable and quality software that encourages technology to sustain cutting-edge medical research. The general Debain-Med today is developed into Debian Pure Blends. These include Debian Edu, DeMuDi, Debian GIS and host of similar Pure Blends for each stream. Blend task pages with integrated information, for example scientific references, also offer software products specific to the domain thus preventing duplication and fractionization of packages.
Debian-Med Distro for Developers
The Debian consists of sets of meta packages that seek other Debian packages for executing particular tasks. Therefore, at apt-get install med-bio a meta package invokes the entire molecular biology and medical genetics applications. The meta package called med-bio-dev installs the programming libraries, tools for developing the applications related to the medical domain and these will include developing or contributing to the core library called the NCBI or the National Centre for Biotechnology information. The goal for developers is the creation of a single grid that calls several virtual organizations with the required cross grid functioning.
Issues Debian Med needs to address
The main issue that requires adequate focus is the integration of biological databases into Debian. Solutions will have to be explored, since maintaining multiple mirrors for EMBL DNA sequencing etc are too much of a burden on the system. Integration into main Debian distribution should be the logical solution.
Other Medical projects on FOSS
Debian-Med presently offers medical practice, patient management, hospital information systems, medical research, documentation, medical genetics, molecular biology etc. Besides Debian-Med there are several other medical projects that are very popular. The Kubutu Operating System Ubuntu-Med, is customized for EHR and other software. The Project EU Spirit is a good platform for European Open source software for medical experts while a Germany-based Open Med is very popular for free medical software support.