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Linux and Mac

The information below is useful to those interested in running Open Dental in a Linux Server or Mac OS environment. For update instructions see Update.

Open Dental on the Server

Your Open Dental server can always be Linux (tested) or MacOS-X (not tested).

The server needs to be able to host the MySQL/MariaDB server and the image files, but does not need to be able to run Open Dental itself.

  • Unlimited computers can connect to the database on an ordinary Windows workstation in spite of the 10 computer limit.
  • To get around the 10 computer limit for the A to Z Folder, simply get a network attached hard drive.
  • Windows 7 and 8 also get around the 10 computer limit because they have a higher limit of 20 computers.

Running the Open Dental Client on Workstations

At times in the past, the Open Dental client program has been run successfully on Linux clients. However, current versions do not run on Linux or Mac OS. If someone was interested in making it work with Linux, it would probably only take a few months of programming effort. We are not interested in doing this programming. So it will either require using our plugin framework, or possibly a fork. There are significant disadvantages to forking as discussed on Programming Resources.

Mac users may be interested in these tools that run Windows.

  • Parallels: Run Windows in a virtual machine inside Mac OS.
  • Bootcamp: Boot up your Mac with either Mac OS or Windows.

The most recent version on which Open Dental was running on Linux was 5.6. The information below is from that time period and has not been updated. It only remains here for programmers who might be interested in Linux development.

Open Dental runs on the dotNet Framework, a Microsoft technology. It will also run on the Mono framework, an adaptation of dotNet for Linux. So you will need to install Mono before installing and using Open Dental. The flavor of Linux shouldn't matter, but we tested it on Suse 10.3 with Mono 1.2.6. You will need to use that version of Mono or later. See www.mono-project.com/Downloads, or you can use the instructions here for a different way of updating Mono: mono.doc.

Installation of Open Dental itself simply involves copying all files in C:\Program Files\Open Dental from a Windows computer directly into a folder on a Linux computer (we used /usr/local/opendental/).

Launch Open Dental like this: $ mono OpenDental.exe

Try these tricks:

  • Make sure FreeDentalConfig.xml is present in the same folder as OpenDental.exe. You might have to edit this file manually to define the connection.
  • Use an ip address at the choose database window if the computer name isn't working.
  • It won't be able to find the A-Z folder on a remote computer. Your choices are:
    1. Use Samba, mount a local directory, and point it to the real A-Z folder (at least that's the theory). You'll need to put two paths in the Path box, separated by ;
    2. Check the box to not use the A-Z folder at all. This applies to all computers for now.
    3. Use a dummy A-Z folder. Add that path to the Path box (Paths).
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