Open Source License

See About

What is Open Source software?
It means that the source code, the original text of the program, is available for anyone to download. Any programmer with a moderate level of skill can turn this source code into an (almost) fully functional version of the program. Open Dental is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the standard open source license. This license ensures that the software code will always remain free. Open Dental is Copyrighted by Dr Jordan Sparks to prevent anyone from turning it into a proprietary system.

Almost fully functional?
The full version includes copyrighted CDT content, including the ADA claimform, and the ADA procedure codes. Because this content is copyrighted, we are not allowed to include it freely on our website. So the CDT content will not be present in versions that are not purchased from us or from another licensed reseller. See the Distributors page for information on how to apply for a CDT license to distribute this content.

How much does it cost ?
See the support and fees section for prices. You can have an unlimited number of copies running on the computers at your office without any licensing restrictions or dongles (hardware-enforced limits on the number of copies of a program).

Why is it so inexpensive ?
Two factors that have driven our costs down are the powerful open source MySQL database, and the very efficient C# programming language which lets us produce more features in less time. We also choose to operate on a small profit margin in order to promote usage of Open Dental. It is very important for the dental community to quickly move to an open software platform.

Why is it open source?
Because we want this software to become the world standard dental software. We want to make it easy to access and share data. We are tired of the restrictive policies of the current dental software companies. We want the user to always have total control, not the software company. And most of all, we want software that just works well.

What if you go out of business?
If we go out of business, the situation would be very different than with any other dental software. Since anyone has the freedom to develop and support Open Dental, and since there is already a large existing customer base, there will always be plenty of incentive for various companies to build on what we started. But, of course, we don't plan on going anywhere. We see it as a resource for the dental community that can never be taken away. Since it cannot be bought out in the sense that other dental software can, it should always continue to grow and benefit everyone.

What is the advantage of having an open database?
The structure of the data is available for all to see and use (the data is still very secure). It is totally different than the proprietary format used by many other dental software programs. Other programs frequently only export certain fields. In Open Dental, you have access to and control over every single bit of data. Your data will never need to be converted again.

What restrictions does the license impose?
If you don't modify the program, there are no restrictions other than those of the CDT license. If you are a programmer, you can look in the Developer's section for details on exactly what is allowed. Basically, any modified versions of Open Dental must also be made available under the same GPL license.

Who is doing all this work?
Dr. Jordan Sparks did most of the original programming, many thousands of hours in his spare time. The current development team at Open Dental consists of a number of additional fulltime programmers. You can expect the rapid pace of new features to continue.