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The 'Ubunuts'

An area for OSCAR users using Ubuntu desktop for their office workstations. Jel Coward and Gunther Klein are leading this group.



 Ubuntu logo vertical stacked


Welcome 'Ubunuts' everywhere!

...we are NUTS about Ubuntu...




This page exists to encourage Ubuntu use in medical offices and to support physicians, midwives, physios, MOAs.....well just about anyone really, who want to run Ubuntu Linux on their workstations in their practice. Jel Coward and Gunther Klein lead this group and are fully fledged 'Ubunuts' with Ubuntu running all of their business processes, patient charting, scanning, printing  etc.

Jel and Gunther believe that an open source EMR system should run on a network that is entirely open source in all its components. The OSCAR servers already benefit from an open source technology "stack"  that serves as a platform for OSCAR: This includes Linux Ubuntu Server as the operating system, Tomcat as the web server, MySQL for database management.

On the network workstations OSCAR already makes use of Firefox as the open source application platform. We believe that it is only logical to replace the remaining pieces of the puzzle with open source components. Ubuntu Desktop is the one-stop shop to get this done. We call this the "All Ubuntu" solution.

And, by the way, our colleagues, locums and staff all love using Ubuntu too...


Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop screenshot

take the online guided tour at


Why Ubuntu?

Quite simply because it makes sense for our small businesses ... but 'why is it better'?


  • Well, it does everything that other operating systems do, only usually in a better, faster, prettier, elegant and more stable manner. This is why it is consistently ranked as one of the most popular, and certainly the easiest, Linux distribution available.
  • There is very little learning curve for users - if your users use Windows or Mac, they will be able to use Ubuntu within about two minutes - seriously (I just didn't tell my staff much other than that the computers had changed appearance a bit, and they seemed to not really notice!)
  • It is free, yes, you read that correctly, free, no charge, you can do what you like with it, no-one cares what you do!  There is no need to manage any software licenses. For the business/enterprise user these software license fees add up to a significant regular overhead cost.
  • it is stable (did we mention that above?). Long term stable (LTS) releases ship every two years with five years of guaranteed security update support.
  • Robust Security! Linux is by nature significantly stronger than Windows in terms of user and multi-user security. In addition, Ubuntu installs in a "pre-locked down" configuration by default, and uses centrally administered secure software repositories for new program downloads and updates, thus making the operating system highly resistant to attack by viruses, worms, trojans and other malware. Furthermore, the entire operating  system kernel updates itself every few weeks. Even though a small number of Linux/Unix viruses have been written (just over 800 of them, compared to the 400,000 + Windows viruses out there), it is actually very difficult to write viruses for Linux servers or desktops that have any real chance of survival "out in the wild". In practice the chance of encountering a real Linux malware threat is deemed low, which is why most people don't bother installing additional security software on Linux desktops. But if you are really paranoid about security you can of course equip your Linux machines with a capable open source, cross platform virus checker that is freely available. It is recommended that you run your Ubuntu security updates regularly.
  • Word-processing, spreadsheets, scanning, printing, email, messaging, graphics, presentation software etc etc are all included,  and are all free, naturally. You get the powerful open source LibreOffice suite pre-installed for free so you can keep working seamlessly with your MSWord and PowerPoint files. No need to pay real money for every single instance of MsOffice running in your office.
  • Files can be shared with Windows and Mac users, even on the same local network. It is generally very easy to set up networking and print sharing.
  • Beautiful and prominent checkboxes on your eForms by default
  • "...If it's good enough for Google..." Ubuntu is at work every day on thousands of desktops and laptops at Google Inc. Ubuntu is their choice of enterprise desktop OS on the strength of superior security and function.
  • Increasingly, multiple large corporate and serious business "enterprise users" are claiming the advantage of the free desktop with Ubuntu. Then there is German insurance company LVM Insurance, who have Ubuntu deployed on over 10,000 desktops; the global business consultancy firm CapGemini  deploying an Ubuntu solution for thousands of clients; Google, who have 10,000 Ubuntu-based desktops and laptops in use; and the Ministry of Defense in The Netherlands, who are using an Ubuntu-based client across a staggering 40,000 desktops. The municipal administration of the City of Munich in Germany has switched over 16 000 workstations to a custom modified version of Ubuntu some time ago and has saved tens of millions in license fees. Ubuntu is also big in Asia, with a dedicated Chinese version very popular and widely deployed. By running a free Linux desktop, the savings in software license fees and the gains in security for these enterprise users are significant. Ubuntu delivers these advantages in a convenient and user friendly package, that makes sense for smaller offices too.
  • With 20 million users around the globe in 140 countries and in 80 languages, Ubuntu is well supported by an active community. If you get stuck, a quick look at the Ubuntu Forums, or a Google search, answers just about all questions, and if not, well, that is what _we_ are here for!
  • And, finally, the most important point: Ubuntu is cool


For a quick look around, check out the guided tour of the Ubuntu operating system on the official Ubuntu site.



Just jump in! Ubuntufy your office work stations. It's easy:


  • Visit the official Ubuntu site to download your install copy of the Ubuntu Desktop operating system. The how-to instructions on the site are excellent too.
  • Burn an install disk  for your Windows or Mac computer.
  • With your freshly baked install DVD in the drive, restart your computer, hold down Esc (or F4, F9 or F12 depending on your make of PC - check the bottom of your splash screen during boot up) to access the boot menu, and pick "boot from CD/DVD", hit ENTER. If you get stuck there is more detailed help here.
  • Follow the clear and easy steps on the Ubuntu install wizard. You get the option to partition your hard-drive to keep your existing Windows installation.
  • Start using Ubuntu. It's intuitive. You already know how to use it. You'll be hooked in no time...



How to get help Ubuntu-izing your practice?   


  1. Look at the pages here, about optimizing Ubuntu for your medical office, and about more advanced tips and tricks.
  2. Join the OSCAR User Group list and ask questions there.  If you put 'Ubunuts' in the Subject line, we will be able to pick out your Ubuntu questions and get them answered faster.


Come on in, the water is warm!


 Jel and Gunther,  the Ubunuts!

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