Is Linux enough for open source medical advocates?

The idea is to give hospitals some of the savings you get from open source, without giving them the power to switch vendors which open source delivers naturally.

McKesson logoVery quietly McKesson, the largest of the proprietary vendors in the medical computing space, has been moving its product line to Linux.

It's reached the point where McKesson now advertises its Red Hat Enterpise Healthcare Platform.  

The idea is to give hospitals some of the savings you get from open source, without giving them the power to switch vendors which open source delivers naturally.

In the McKesson scheme of things nothing changes for users. Windows is still the front-end user interface. The change occurs on the back-end, where Linux is the OS, and where customers may even choose MySQL or Ingres as their database technology.

McKesson says 75% of its roughly 2,500 hospital customers have embraced the change, with Oracle as the company's current database of choice. "The best of both worlds" the company says.

Well, the best world for McKesson. Just because you're running an open source operating system does not mean you're running an open source application. These are proprietary products, to be developed by McKesson, for McKesson's profit.

Red Hat says hospitals switching their back-ends to Linux can save as much as 60% on their IT costs. That's initial costs. But if you're still locked into closed-source applications, those savings can disappear at the drop of a vendor's hat.

Even if it's a red one.

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