Thursday, May 27, 2010

GNUmed electronic medical record 0.7.4 available for Ubuntu

GNUmed EMR 0.7.4 has released . This is a bug fix release. One of the issues
that are fixed is an issue that came during installation on Ubuntu Lucid server edition.

GNUmed 0.7.4 replaces the version that ships with Ubuntu Lucid. It is available from
the PPA.

Download and full instructions are available from the GNUmed wiki.

It is nice to see that so many Ubuntu users are reporting bugs which makes it easy
for us to release stable versions.

The next major release (0.8) will tackle handling of vaccinations as well as completing

There has been good progress with translations but we need ever helping hand we can
get. Translations are in launchpad and therefore it is easy to contribute to GNUmed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

GNUmed on Windows - what is in the box ? a Unicode font tale

Despite the fact that noone complained I recently found myself looking at boxes again. That means instead of nice Unicode symbols like a hand signing something the default installation of GNUmed on Windows XP will show you nothing but a box. Windows is pretty creative at showing boxes. It will simply show a box for every character it cannot display.

Who is to blame. Initially I thought python was to blame. I did everything to make the text aware of utf-8 encoding. Turns out it already is and nothing changed. I then thought the Windows codepage is to blame. I managed to set it to Unicode instead of CP850 but it would still show me a box. Then it (not the box) hit me. The font is to blame.

Default font on Windows XP is Arial and Tahona. Both do not have a character mapped to the unicode number for the signing hand. The solution is to change the font to a font that includes the signing hand.

Easier said then done. For a signing hand in the title of a Window you need to change the font via Windows system preferences in the Appearance section. For the signing hand in e.g. a lab measurement cell in GNUmed you need to tell wxpython and therefore GNUmed that you want another font.

Many hours later the real challenge was near. Which font to use ? Not many fonts that have all characters exist. Many look lets say special (ugly) and no user will activate it if the text looks ugly in GNUmed.

It boils down to:

MS Arial Unicode - almost complete, commercial ($99) font, ships with some MS Office versions, cannot be shared
Code 2000 - most complete one, Shareware, looks lets say ok, cannot be shared
DejaVu Sans - almost complete, ships with Windows , looks good.

Apparently the Linux version of DejaVu Sans is more complete then the Windows version. If this holds true and the Linux version runs in Windows I will optionally ship it in the installer.

A couple of changes to the GNUmed code are neccessary before you can finally enjoy GNUmed unboxed.

Take care,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

next stop: frozen boostrap, I mean frozen yogurt

Hi all,

Back in the days when GNUmed appeared for Windows. A number of user way smarter then me
managed to break it in unpredictable ways. Installation meant hit or miss. Later frozen binaries
came along. They have been a huge success. I decided that despite my careful cecking of installed
dependencies users would still find ways to break it. So for some time the only thing you can
download for MS Windows is a frozen client.

Gone are the days when someone mailed in that something went wrong during installation
of the dependencies. There simply are none anymore. One file to install. That is it.

Users have been happy so far and I have not heard of any complaints regarding the client
on MS Windows.

But every story has a dark side. Now that we did not have a way to keep users from trying
the client they started looking at local databases. Until now we have been hiding behind a
brick wall of depedencies for the boostraper. Users still managed to install GNUmed server
and bootstrap on Windows. A few releases back we started by catering for the Windows
users by not asking a single question. We would even supply the passwords for Postgresql.

What a horrible thing to do but noone complained. However one or the other smart user
still failed to cross our brick wall of python, mxtools and psycopg2 dependencies.

Those days are now officially over. From version 0.7.4 there is only one single dependency -
PostgreSQL. Thats is all. You want to bootstrap ? Go ahead. No more dependencies. After
installation of GNUmed-server you are ready to boostrap.

This is considered a great day for our users. I am afraid that now that client and server
installation is so dead easy nothing is holding you back from looking at the features of
GNUmed and letting us know what you think.

There are still a few things I would like to see implemented:
- handling of previously installed PostgreSQL during installation
- status icon for PostgreSQL
- a webbased configuration file editor

Take care,

Friday, May 14, 2010

GNUmed server on Ubuntu server 10.04

Someone from China recently tried GNUmed (electronic medical record) on Ubuntu. Actually
it was the GNUmed server on Ubuntu server AMD 64bit. He hit a strange problem we had not
seen before. During the post-install step there was an error regarding a missing group called

This led them to believe that the installation failed. That turned out not to be true. While
the root of this is yet to be examined here is the short guide on how to set up GNUmed
on Ubuntu server. There are a number of showstoppers so follow this guide to avoid them.

1.) In the default installation one cannot simply add a PPA to the server. The package
python-software-properties is missing from the default installation. It adds the command

Solve this by running:
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

2.) Add the GNUmed PPA to your system since the version shiped with Ubuntu 10.04 is outdated.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnumed/ppa

3.) Update your installation sources
sudo apt-get update

4.) there is problem with a missing group called gnumed. This seems to be the case only for Ubuntu server. For now add it with this command.
sudo addgroup gnumed

5.) Install the gnumed-server package
sudo apt-get install gnumed-server

6.) Create a GNUmed database with demo data (username/password: any-doc/any-doc)
sudo gm-boostrap_server

This will give you a working GNUmed database. However to be able to connect from other
clients on the network more configuration (for a secure setup) is neccessary.

This will get you started:

If you hit any problems don't hesitate to contact us (e.g. via the chat in the Wiki)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Billing / Invoicing applications for GNUmed

There is the ongoing quest to use GNUmed for billing. GNUmed is primarly used for documenting patient's healths or disease but a medical office is a small to medium business as well.

webbased, PostgreSQL (beta)
no interface we know of,
no Debian package,
project active
i18n capable

Amberdms billing system:
webbased, PHP, MySQL
no Debian package,
RPM package avaialble,
project active - run by webhosting company
i18n capable
press coverage

webbased, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle
no Debian package,
project active - run by a company
i18n capable ?

webbased, MySQL, PostgreSQL ?
no interface we know of,
no Debian package,
project active

fat client, written in C, PostgreSQL , yeah
no API, however python-gnucash
Debian package,
project active
i18n capable
does online banking

not yet considered:
openbill - pre alpha,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

GNUmed 0.7.2 on Ubuntu

A few days ago a person from Russia reported a problem concerning
GNUmed on Ubuntu Lucid.

We hope we have a fix for that.

GNUmed 0.7.2 has been released. It would be great if Ubuntu users could try it. There
are no Ubuntu packages yet. But I wonder if anyone would be willing to test if from the tarball we provide,

For the client there is a script called

Please run this as normal user.

in the subdirectory client. This will start the client 0.7.2. And in the
server tarball in the directory bootstrap there is a script called

which will now hopefully accept the Russian postgresql configuration. Please run this
as root.

Ubuntu packages will appear as soon as Debian packages come out. This can take
a couple of days.

Any help is appreciated.

GNUmed team

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

long distance GNUmed support via chat feature

It all about the end user.

The chat feature in the Wiki has been there for a while. I have not been

contacted that often but since Ubuntu released its new version 3 people

have showed up in the last 2 days.

There was a guy from Trinidad and two from Russia. The chat feature

helped to get one guy from Russia and the one from Trinidad on track.

Both had GNUmed running once I told them the secret password

for the public database :-)

The secret password for is:

user: any-doc

password: any-doc

The second guy from Russia hit a bug. He was very helpful by providing

log files and we should see a bugfix release soon. He worked we me on

this for over one hour which I appreciate. Turns out part of the problems

is there are virtually unlimited possiblities to get the whole UFT8. UTF-8,

uft8 and utf-8 thing for PostgreSQL wrong.

Judging by various sources I have people from all over the world are looking

at GNUmed. Indonesia, Russia, Argentina, Netherland, Austria, Germany,

Moldavia are just a few that looked at GNUmed during the last 24 hours.

Not all of them seem to be satisfied with what they find. A good number

of them are looking for billing solutions.

This could well be the beginning of a stable GNUmed community.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

GNUmed server packages (13.1) for Ubuntu in the make

GNUmed server packages (13.1) have been put on the Ubuntu build servers. There will be packages for Lucid, Karmic, Jaunty and Intrepid.

Go to to find out how to get GNUmed installed.