NHoS Closedown - the final straw

I’ve never made a recording from my desktop, but apparently gtk-recordmydesktop can do this. I’m willing to help out.
However, does it make sense to make yet another set of videos that will produce yet another legal notice?
In my view, the rational way to proceed is to first rebrand in a way that NHS legal dept cannot possibly object. The letters NHS and the trademarked blue colour should be eliminated first.

I’ll write up a HOWTO on making the NHoS videos and post them to this
forum. Briefly, I used either recordmydesktop-gtk or the record video
output function of VirtualBox to capture the screens. To edit the videos
and to add the title slide I used kdenlive.


On the subject of colour, take a look at the NHS England Brand materials

The NHS blues are clearly specified in detail, with CKMY, Pantone and RGB
values. The blues we use are not the NHS blues. The NHoS blues are closer
to that of IBM or Facebook…

The primary font of the NHS brand is Frutiger with Aerial as secondary.
NHoS also uses a sans-serif font (as do pretty much all tech identities)
called Ubuntu.

Neither colour or font are sufficient to be used as a basis for successful
legal action.

Potential grounds for legal action would be that the use of a mark that
could be argued is similar to the NHS mark include obtaining financial
benefit by a perceived association and misleading consumers by an apparent

As to obtaining financial benefit, it is no secret that we have received a
grant from Apperta, the NHS Digital funded organisation which supports open
source in the NHS, and have been paid by NHS Digital for hack week
activities. As NHoS is released under an open source - free as in beer and
speech - licence, I can’t see a financial benefits argument being

As to misleading the market, well, I’d argue that the people who work in
NHS tech are sophisticated and technology literate and are unlikely to
misdirected by the NHoS identity. And while the NHS trademarks are
registered in the classes which include computer operating systems, to my
knowledge the NHS does not produce a computer operating system.

I’ll be asking Govt Legal to detail the specific actions they would like us
to take as the request for us to take ‘any such action’ has all the clarity
of bucket of mud and the hallmarks of an overreaching patent troll.


I love the name HealthOS. The world needs this!

Of course, I’m booked with my own projects, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find volunteers to go through the pain of the rebranding.

My community is in need of redoing/cleaning up our wiki documentation (an extremely painful and unsexy task - especially since most videos/images are using the old version of the software and have to be completely redone). We are thinking about having a weekend “doc-a-thon” event (kind of like a hackathon) to spin it positively, inviting community members and strangers to join together in a virtual room/google hangout in breakout teams.

Obviously, this concept is untested as we have yet to schedule/promote the event, but I wonder if you can employ a similar approach!



ukhealthos.org domain is available.

There goes that idea then!

Okay, let’s come up with a better name then :).




‘Linux Health’

as you’ll always be using the kernel

with a Mint Green livery (better than blue anyway)

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@vin Great idea!

If possible, one of the project leaders of NHoS should ask the Linux Foundation about “Linux Health” and if they’ll sponsor it. :slight_smile:

Could be a winner. As far as I can tell there isn’t an ubuntu flavour tailored for healthcare, specifically, so the NHoS guys were definitely on the right track. Shame that copyright issues thwarted it. Would be great for clinicians around the world (including UK) to have their own free open source OS to run programs on like your OpenEMR. I know that freeMedForms comes bundled with Zorin 12 ultimate, so that’s a good start at collaboration.

btw Linux Health could have any colour livery, not just green (don’t want to tread on Linux Mint’s toes!) as long as it’s not the disallowed nhs blue, of course.


r.e.: “Linux Health” and a functional Ubuntu-based healthcare distro:

My humble open source team put together https://github.com/GoTeamEpsilon/PersonaScripts (still pretty beta) to help bring a popular UX concept (personas) to the Linux desktop. I’d love to see if there is interest in building up the base persona “General” as well as “Clinician”. I suppose clinician is the weakest of the offerings at this time - it’s just a medical image viewer, link to install OpenEMR Cloud, and some electron webviews around popular clinical resources such as Pubmed and an ICD10 lookup tool.

With the advent of Flatpak and snapd (as well as the continued awesomeness of apt), a full-blown distro may not be needed. Just a thought - open to any and all ideas here!


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Hello Marcus Baw, my name is Tyler Torvinen. I’m wondering, will NHoS Linux make a return and how long until NHoS Linux is back? Do you have the final ISO of NHoS Linux for me to download and use on Oracle VM VirtualBox? Please reply whenever you can, please and thank you.

i’m wondering the exact same thing as Tyler, is there someone who can reply? i see this was written a month ago and still nothing. i also search for oral steroids for my health if someone is an expert here. but anyway if some can help that would be amazing. thanks

The project is closed, but the sources are still open, so, you may have some luck with this repository and it’s siblings.

Included is the NHSbuntu build helper build.sh , a wrapper for ubuntu-defaults-image. You can use this script to create the NHSbuntu ISOs for yourself. It is the same script used by Travis CI to automagically create the NHSbuntu ISOs.

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Closed? We are taking a nap…


Hi, just some general thoughts. I’m still finding the subject of an open source Windows alternative for the NHS interesting. I was wondering, if your project had been adopted by the NHS powers that be, who would have supported the OS? Seems like a huge task. If someone like Canonical approached the NHS with Ubuntu (dressed with an NHS skin) would that be seen as a serious alternative to windows, as it comes with larger scale support? I wonder if they ever did? Also, local IT support companies with NHS contracts only seem to have limited experience of/interest in supporting linux based systems (I don’t know - just a presumption). Microsoft still seems to rule supreme. I think that would be a factor as to why the NHS are so resistant to moving away from MS - lack of non MS skills. My impression is that other countries have embraced linux based systems much more readily than UK. The NHS are missing out. They need to be brave and at least consider other alternatives. I also wonder why more EMRs and healthcare apps are not browser-based (open source browsers of course!) so that they can run on any platform? Another idea I have is that the future of the NHS could be clinicians using Android tablets as a replacement for desktops, so that would at least be a Linux-based/open source alternative to the current expensive Windows, though not as cost saving as using Ubuntu.

That’s the nail. When I was at NHS Digital (albeit this was 4 years ago), Linux was very much an oddity - the only Linux boxes I was aware of were run by my very small group, and we got zero central support (which to be fair, suited us fine - we installed an SNMP agent on our servers to keep IT happy, and they left them the hell alone because they didn’t grok Linux).

e.g. If you wanted single sign-on for your Linux web application, you’d have to badger IT to get the Kerberos integration for your server sorted out in Active Directory. At which point they’d look at you like you’d grown a spare head and do nothing about it.

A substantial majority of IT dept. resources, as far as I could tell, while I was there, were consumed by

  • The project to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7
    • (which went on for yeeeeaaaaarrrrs, in no small part due to driver issues with the smartcard auth that, if they’d instead solved for Linux, they’d have solved forever)
  • Installing a whitelisting client on all the workstations
    • (and thus having to work to whitelist everything, while charging £5,000 a pop for custom applications)
    • This prevents “power users” from doing anything dangerous, subversive, or productive like writing batch files
  • Managing the SAN for the system that archived all your VoIP calls and fed them through a military SIGINT program.
    • Oh, I wish that was a joke.

Then you have…

  • All the Windows-only applications
    • The sheer number of “web apps” that depended on ActiveX controls, and thus strictly IE6, was part of what caused the Windows 7 migration to take so long
  • Not insignificantly, all the applications written as Office macros in VBA
    • This accounts for a large amount of “hidden estate”
  • And of course, just MS Office
    • LibreOffice is only a solution if you’re all using it. The only thing that’s even halfway good at being compatible with Office is (the same version of) Office.
    • The Cabinet Office suggested ODF should be universally supported. MS responded by
      a. Providing ODF filters for Office
      b. Withdrawing the NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement (which makes the job of replacing office into a war of attrition instead of the possibility of a bold single move).
    • Cloud office products might be a viable option if you could self-host them

It’s not all black. Web applications are pretty much the default now. And it’s eminently do-able to develop application clients that run everywhere - again, because the browser has become a universal platform and the tech that it’s composed of is now good enough for most purposes (viz. VS Code and Atom etc).

(never mind that in hospitals I still see a plethora of “greenscreen” applications that are clearly running on some VT-100 terminal mainframe, probably on an AS/400 in a broom closet, and that running clients for these on Linux is if anything, easier and better supported than Windows)

Many of those will be old Mumps applications (Pathology being a particular hotspot for those). To be fair those will be likely running on a reasonably recent (10 years or so :grinning: ) Windows or Unix server running Caché and using its legacy Mumps language support.

Good info. The time will come, one day. Not yet, evidently. As you say, more web apps running in decent browsers will make something like NHoS a reality. Maybe things will happen in small stages e.g GPbuntu to start with. You were/still are years ahead of the times. Times are changing, though.