Installation Overview

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The documentation for VistA can be classified in several groups:


Other installers

Getting the software

Vendor pages

There are several vendors of VistA derivatives. Here are links to some of their information pages.

VistA Documentation Library

Other resources

(Note: Some of this information may be outdated).

The complete FOSS stack for VistA consists of VistA on GT.M on GNU/Linux on industry standard x86 server hardware. Although it is certainly possible to install this stack by downloading VistA, and installing it on GT.M on x86 GNU/Linux, it is much easier to start with a pre-configured software stack. There are (at least) two flavors of VistA, and two types of packages of VistA on GT.M.

VistA flavors:

  • Leonardo da VistA is FOIA VistA as enhanced by the VistA community. Leonardo da VistA is used here as strictly an interim, temporary, just-until-the-new-name-is-announced name. This software was previously known to the community first as "Hui OpenVistA", and then as just "OpenVistA". The subsequent grant by the US Patent and Trademark Office of a registered trademark of that name to a corporation has triggered a search for a replacement name, and Leonardo da VistA is used here until the new name is announced. Prior releases of this software at the WorldVistA project page at Source Forge are labelled "OpenVistA". Leonardo da VistA releases have numbers such as 0.4. This wiki has taken special steps to handle VistA Trademark Issues.
  • VistA VA Demo is a one-of release of a Configuration of VistA intended to demonstrate the CPRS GUI, but not to be otherwise useful, and not part of a family of releases.

In the future, it is hoped that there will be other flavors, e.g., VistA Office EHR.

Types of packages:

  • A SemiVivA package consists of VistA and GT.M bundled together and ready to be installed on an x86 GNU/Linux server.
  • A VivA or VivitApackage is a live CD (or DVD) that can be booted on any x86 architecture server to run the entire VistA FOSS stack. VivitA releases are created by mastering DSL and the VivA releases are created by remastering either Knoppix or Morphix.

SemiVivA packages expect to find Xdialog on the computer. To use a SemiVivA package, download it to a temporary directory (e.g., as /tmp/LeonardoDaVistASemiVivA0.4.tgz). Then, as root execute:

 cd /usr/local
 tar zxvf /tmp/LeonardoDaVistASemiVivA0.4.tgz

This will install VistA and GT.M. To use it, an environment with an initial copy of the database must be created with the command:

 /usr/local/LeonardoDaVistA/vista --install directory

In the above, substitute the actual VistA release name (e.g., FOIAVistA) for LeonardoDaVistA. directory is the full path name of a directory (without a trailing slash) where the environment with the initial copy of the database is to be created, e.g., /home/vista/myVistA. To subsequently run VistA, VivitAs again have an option from the mouse on the background. For VivAs, use:

 /usr/local/LeonardoDaVistA/vista --run directory

To use a VivA or VivitA package, read/write storage is required for the database. The current distributions can use a Linux file system (e.g., ext3, reiserfs) or a FAT file system (Windows 95/98/ME) but not an NTFS file system (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003). The live CD/DVDs have tools needed to partition a hard drive and create a new file system. The easiest way to proceed is to simply plug a 512MB or bigger USB flash or thumb drive (or a USB hard drive) into the USB port (USB 2.0 preferred) of an x86 server, and boot the CD/DVD. The instructions below are for USB drives, but apply equally well - with appropriate names for the read/write storage - for IDE and SCSI drives.

  • After booting the operating system, you will need to mount the read/write storage. For Knoppix based VivA releases, right click on the icon for the drive and mount the drive. This mounts it read-only. Right click again, choose Actions and change the mode to read/write. Note the name of the drive; it will probably be something like /mnt/uba1 or /mnt/sda1. For DSL based VivitA releases, there is a small window in the lower right of the screen with a mounting applet. Immediately after boot up, it will say floppy. Click on the arrow icons within the applet to choose sda1 or other read/write storage, and then click on the icon in the applet to mount the drive. For (older) Morphix based releases, execute:
 sudo insmod usb-storage
 mount /mnt/sda1
  • You will need to create an environment with an initial copy of the database. VivitAs have an option from the "start menu" from clicking the right mouse button on the background. On VivA releases, start a shell, and execute (as before, use the actual name of your VistA):
 /usr/local/LeonardoDaVistA/vista --install directory
  • To subsequently run VistA, VivitAs again have an option from the mouse on the background. For VivAs, use:
 /usr/local/LeonardoDaVistA/vista --run directory

When the GT.M Prompt (GTM>) appears, you have a VistA environment that is ready to start configuring.