Monday, February 22, 2010

The state of Dicom viewers for GNU/Linux

When you search for free Dicom viewers you get a bunch of them. The categories include:

1.) Free to use but no sourcecode
2.) Free to use and sourcecode but only on MS Windows
3.) Free to use and sourcecode but only on MacOSX
4.) Sourcecode but beta at best on GNU/Linux

This is sad. There are free PACS server and client, all open source. What I have yet to find is a Dicom viewer that can display angiograms and CT series, X-rays and the like on GNU/Linux. Most packages can handle single image dicom files but cannot handle cine loops.

Each day loads of CDs with dicom data are shipped between physicians. Most of them include a small viewer. But this viewer is Windows only. If you are lucky you can get it to run with wine.

In summary: As a physician running a GNU/Linux only shop such as e.g. cardiologists who constantly receive or send CDs there is no good option to view the data.

One option is to port an existing MS Windows only application to GNU/Linux. Another option is to start from scratch such as is trying to pull off. However I don't see that solution anytime soon.

The final question however is: Is there any demand for that or am I making this up ? Usually when there is demand a solution will come up. Not yet in this case.

Sebastian Hilbert, MD

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