[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Gnumed-devel] Announcing the fork of Open Dental to create a new projec

From: Kevin
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] Announcing the fork of Open Dental to create a new project: GNUdental
Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 08:25:00 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Macintosh/20070221)

Hi Folks-

Dr. Jordan Sparks, DMD is a dentist and programmer who has written and maintained a very nice GPL'd project that he calls "Open Dental." The Open Dental website is and he has an active user base who is using the application in production even now.

Although the project switched away from v1.1 only some time in the past year or so, Open Dental currently depends upon version 2.0 of the .NET framework. OD currently runs only on Windows although Dr. Sparks claims that he intends to have it run also on other platforms using Mono to provide the .NET dependencies on these other platforms.

All of the OD code is licensed under the GPL.

Two days ago, I decided to make a fork of OD that I've named GNUdental. The website for GNUdental (or GD) is

My main priority for GD is to have it run on Linux and Mac OSX in the near future (less than two months).

Dr. Sparks has been advertising that he will have OD running on Linux as soon as possible for years now, but about a year or so ago, he made a design decision to move away from version 1.1 of the .NET framework, so just about the time that Mono 1.2 was released with a fully-implemented version 1.1 of the .NET framework, Dr. Sparks stopped using version 1.1 in favor of version 2.0 of the .NET framework for OD (which Mono has relatively poor support for currently).

OD community discussion takes place at

Dr. Sparks originally used SF to host his project <>, but apparently moved away from that at some point. According to SF, OD (originally termed Free Dental or FD) has has been active for a little over four years.

Dr. Sparks has never used any kind of automated source code revision control system for FD/OD (this he acknowledged recently to me two years ago and has confirmed recently), and there have apparently been only two or three programmers (I could be mistaken on this as I've gotten two different answers from Dr. Sparks on this question) involved in writing code for the project, including Dr. Sparks himself. All development has taken place in a strictly Windows environment.

So after donating about $2500 to his project two years ago in the hopes of accelerating his support in OD for Linux, I now find him moving farther and farther away from it. As of three days ago, Dr. Sparks had no interest whatsoever in supporting Linux with his OD project, in spite of fairly significant interest among the contributors at his discussion forum. If you read the top 11 topics at then you'll note some rather startling (and amusing) reversals in his position on Linux over the past couple of years.

Two days ago, I announced on his forum that I have forked OD and thereby created GD. After I made this announcement, Dr. Sparks announced that he would be racing to "beat me to the punch." He is strongly opposed to forking his GPL'd code. I know that his concerns are based upon diluting the development effort, but given his historical focus on strictly Windows and my focus on Linux and OSX, I don't think I'll be taking any developers from him with my fork, so I'm not sure why he's so strongly opposed to the fork.

Dr. Sparks got his first Linux computer about two years ago, though, so he doesn't have much experience with Linux. From general discussion with him in email and telephone, I get the impression that he uses only Windows operating systems for business and personal computing tasks, but he does apparently have his MySQL database server running on a SuSE box.

Given his track record, I'm not terribly optimistic about OD actually running on Linux any time soon, but the potential is definitely there, so I'm pretty excited to get moving on full support in GD for Linux.

So I'm posting here to let people know about this closely-related (to GNUmed) open source software project, the fork of it into GNUdental, and to see if anyone here has any direct interest in participating in the development of GNUdental.

I just finished putting up a Git repository online at

This repo contains Dr. Sparks latest release of code for OD as of today. It was released about two weeks ago, and although Dr. Sparks claims that OD depends on .NET 2.0, it's not clear just how much code depends on that, and how much would run fine in Mono. Miguel de Icaza of GNOME and Mono and Gnumeric fame just yesterday committed Novell resources to moving Mono in a direction that would aid this step, so there may be hope for getting even this latest code from OD running in Linux, so the prospects are pretty exciting.

I remain committed to this fork I made a couple of days ago, however, because I see exciting prospects for the long-term future of GNUdental (see that I know Dr. Sparks is not interested in (he's been managing his code in a directory on a Windows box for 4+ years now rather than any kind of revision control system and he's a Linux newbie by his own account). Instead, he's heavily focused on adding new features in a monolithic way to OD and that seems like the wrong approach to me, so I'm going forward with GNUdental.

Does anyone here wanna help?! Please email me at address@hidden if so. I welcome all input. I'll be starting a mailing list for GNUdental soon.


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]