Debian-Med day @ DebConf 5: Sat, 16 July 2005

Debian-Med developer meeting and general CDD discussion at DebConf 5


Debian-Med can look back at a more than three years history. It started more or less out of nothing and developed to - well - a bit more than nothing. We are not yet able to answer the main question of medical stuff which is

"Can I run my medical practice using Debian-Med?"
or something like that. The bad news is that we will not answer this question positively for the near future but the good news is that we are not responsible for this in the first place. The main blocker is that there is not Free Software currently available which could be the answer to this question and thus we can not do much regarding packaging.

But what can we do for the moment? What can we do to help upstream to enhance this situation? This are the main questions we want to discuss at the Debian-Med day.

Medicine is not only done by your doctor

While many people think that medicine is done by their doctor there is much more to do in the whole field of health care. Behind the scenes we have done a quite good job. Looking at the Molecular Biology and Medical Genetics and the Medical Imaging section of our work experts recognize a large amount of the important stuff which is available in this field. So there is something we can be proud of and I want to say thanks to all who spended their time in making this true.

At Debian-Med day I want to exchange opinions how we can enhance this even more.

The web pages

The two links above showed some scheme of mentioning packages:

"nearly finished" = inofficial packages available which have to be moved to the official Debian distribution
on our todo list but no work done for the moment
will never be included for some reasons (not yet used, but is planned for the future
The traffic light symbolic was used obviousely. This work was mainly dony by Tobias Toedter (thanks Tobias).

My plan for the Debian-Med day was to discuss possible enhancements for the web pages. My own idea was to create these todo list semi-automatically and I have some ideas how this can be done. This would be useful for other Custom Debian Distributions as well.

The meta packages

I want to hear opinions how people think about the meta package technique. Is this comfortable for you or rather useless. What do you think about automatically created user menus. Any ideas to enhance this technique. How could we enhance the documentation to teach new users to dectect and use the meta package technique.

This discussion should provide reasonable input for the CDD Toolkit toolkit which will replace the cdd-dev package I wrote for common CDD meta package building. When I was starting with the cdd-dev package I mainly had the plan to catch some skilled developers to do some reasonable programming for me to make my work for Debian-Med much more easy. The plan worked so far and the new frame work will be much more sophisticated. But it seems to be a good idea to give input at the current state when things are in development state instead of just recognising that something is missing once it is released.

Some ideas about this will be covered in my Custom Debian Distributions talk. It might be a good idea to visit this talk if you want to join Debian-Med day. My plan is to get this talk scheduled in the morning of Debian-med day. According to the recent schedule this talk will be at Sat, 16 July 2005 10:00 but this might be a topic of change.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Last but not least I want to talk about the problems we face with upstream free medical software. I will have a BOF session about the type of software we can expect and the reasons why it is how it is. I would like to gather some ideas how to enhance the situation, how we can help and attract upstream developers and how we can spread the idea of Debian into the circle of developers of medical software.

I will report about discussions I had and how Debian-Med had to face real life which is a little bit different from our Free Software experience.

Preliminary Schedule

Provided that the schedule for the Sat, 16 July 2005 will remain stable I would suggest the following schedule:
10:00 - 10:45 Talk by Andreas Tille
10:45 - 11:00 Break and move to a reserved room for continuing Debian-Med day
11:00 - 12:45 Discussion about future software projects to include, work on our TODO-List
12:45 - 14:00 Lunch-Break, the break is adjusted so that attendees will be able the talk of Bdale Garbee: "Structural Evolution" in case they need no lunch.
14:00 - 14:30 Discussion about cooperation with other CDDs
14:45 - 15:30 Visit talk of Petter Reinholdtsen: "Debian Edu - Upgrading an preconfigured CDD"
It is expected that we can learn a lot from this talk for Debian-Med
15:45 - 24:00 Sort out the remaining things. :)
This schedule might change!

Thanks to all who want to join Debian-Med day @ Debconf. Further ideas or remarks can be sended to the Debian-Med mailing list or Andreas Tille in private.