OpenMRS Advisory Council Meeting 2016-11-02

Below is the agenda for the OpenMRS Advisory Council meeting set for next Wednesday, November 2nd @10am EST.


  • Ask for any other business
  • Questions from last call? (Hamish Goal#2: Reference Application) Notes from last call: (5min)
  • Follow up from last call: People looking to deploy the Reference Application may not have the clarity and focus those inside project feel they do. It is important we stay in contact and understand their concerns. (15min)
  • Discuss OpenMRS Community Goal #3 Distributions w/ Jan and Darius (30min)
  • OMRS Bios & Talk (5min)
  • Other Business (5min)


OpenMRS Strategic Goals 2016 Operational Plan Advisory Council Talk Category

Call In Information: Uberconference -

Notes for Session:

Hi @AdvisoryCouncil,

@janflowers and I are looking forward to getting your input into our work on OpenMRS Distributions. Here is some background…

This is Strategic Objective #3.

We think it’s a very good thing that as OpenMRS has matured there are more and more things built on top of its platform. FYI from OpenMRS’s operational plan:

Objective 3 - Actively encourage and support the development of additional OpenMRS Distributions, deriving and disseminating best practices and technologies from them

  • Objective 3.1 - The OpenMRS Community will support a process to improve access to and usage of downstream OpenMRS distributions by community members and other organizations

  • Objective 3.2 - The OpenMRS Community will provide a distribution evaluation system for community members to judge quality and appropriateness for use in their context.

  • Objective 3.3: The OpenMRS Community will incorporate technologies and approaches from distributions into the Platform and Reference Application, and share lessons learned and best practices.

  • Objective 3.4: The OpenMRS Community will help Distributions produce good products by guiding them to engage with community processes, leverage community knowledge, and share lessons learned and best practices.

What we have done

Jan and I have been working on this off and on, and on October 14 we introduced the Distributions Program. Read about it on this wiki page. This includes:

  • definitions, and types of distributions
  • an initial list of distros
  • criteria for being a distro
  • why you’d want to be an official distro

In writing definitions and building the initial list we did outreach to different developer communities, and we plan to continue this outreach/contact. This seems very helpful, and there seems to be latent interest to communicate more with OpenMRS, including from groups that are not technically distributions, but are still interesting things built on top of OpenMRS.

We advertised this on Talk, as a blog post, on Twitter, and on in the carousel at the top.

Some questions

  1. Going forwards, we may want to have some Endorsed distributions. If we do this, there’s a spectrum between (a) tough criteria giving a meaningful assessment of quality => only a few endorsed distros (b) loose criteria, easy to meet => most distributions are endorsed Do you have any advice on how we should approach this? (At the Implementers Conference in Kampala we will be canvassing opinions about what implementers want OpenMRS endorsement to mean.)

  2. We have identified many country-specific distributions, but few general-purpose distributions. What should we take from this? Should we fight against that and try to encourage more distros for general-purpose use cases? Should we go with the flow and just look for ways to get those country distros to collaborate at the margins?

Looking forward to getting your input!

1 Like