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[Gnumed-devel] Announcing the fork of Open Dental to create a new projec
[Gnumed-devel] Announcing the fork of Open Dental to create a new project: GNUdental
Wed, 07 Mar 2007 08:25:00 -0500
Thunderbird 18.104.22.168 (Macintosh/20070221)
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 http://www.open-dent.com 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 http://www.gnudental.org
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 http://freedental.forumco.com/
Dr. Sparks originally used SF to host his project
<http://sourceforge.net/projects/freedental>, 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 http://freedental.forumco.com
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 http://www.gnudental.org) 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