The small team behind an ambitious NHoS Linux project are calling it a day, citing receipt of a trademark infringement warning from the UK Department of Health’s (DoH) “brand police” as the “final straw.”
The raison d’être of NHoS was to identify a way to roll out NHSbuntu, a remix of the open-source Linux distro Ubuntu designed for the NHS. One key milestone of the project was supporting the 750,000 smart cards used by healthcare professionals to access 80 per cent of applications on millions of NHS PCs.
The volunteer force behind NHoS wanted NHSbuntu to replace the current smart card verification system that was running on Windows, and ultimately have the operating system replace Windows on the desktop as well. Smart card recognition was seen as a mile-high hurdle in this grand plan.
But yesterday that particular dream ended – for the time being at least – when Marcus Baw, cofounder of the Openhealthhub CIC, the firm behind NHoS, blogged: “We’ve finally reached a point where we’ve had enough.”
He attached a letter from the UK government’s legal department in which it told Openhealthhub and its project partner, open-source health specialist Neova Health LLP, to “cease using the NHS letters in your website domain name, your organisation, product name, your Twitter account, and the NHS logo in your organisation name and product logos.”
The name NHoS was chosen because Department of Health officials objected to the team using the term NHSbuntu. However, as is evident above, that change wasn’t good enough for the civil servants.