Medicine is perhaps one of the last sectors of the U.S. economy to not find a place for open source software in its IT shops. 

The software's bona fides aren't the issue. During the past 10 years, open source software proved itself in the business world in corporations of all sizes, in federal organizations like the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense, and in more mundane agencies from all levels of government. 

No, it looks to be about money. More specifically it looks to be about attaching monetary value to solving problems. 

Open source software is inspiration freely shared with other people. A programmer runs into a vexing problem, whips up some code to fix it and freely shares the solution with the world. A group of like-minded people who coalesce around a particular application create an "open source community" to continuously refine the application and freely distribute it. 

Members of the far-flung community donate their time to the hard work of improving open source software. 


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Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor