[URL]http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/25F72F231ABF8F5ACC2573630083A579[/URL]\nThe Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand (Pharmac) has developed\nan open source solution for publishing the Pharmaceutical Schedule online.\n\nUsing TeX, an open source typesetting system, Pharmacâ€™s IT department built\na solution which enables the schedule to be published in book form,\ndirectly from the same XML source that is used to process subsidy claims.\n\nThe project actually started using proprietary software, says John Geering,\nPharmacâ€™s IT manager. After initially being told by local typesetters that\nautomatic typesetting was not possible, he managed to find a proprietary\n3B2 typesetting solution from a UK-based company.\n\nEven though the system turned out to be incredibly complicated, Pharmac\nstuck with it, Geering says. Geering and his team went on a three week 3B2\ntraining course, but they did not feel confident about maintaining the\nsystem after the course, he says.\n\nâ€œ[The system] looked pretty ugly under the hood,â€ he says.\n\nHowever, when the project was nearing its end, the UK company was acquired\nby another company, and Pharmac lost contact with the developers in the\nprocess. It was like the company â€œpulled the plug on usâ€, says Geering.\n\nWhile Pharmac was working on the 3B2 solution, Geeringâ€™s son, a programmer\nstill in school at the time, said that he could build a better solution\nusing TeX.\n\nGeering decided to give his sonâ€™s idea a go. They came up with a\nproof-of-concept, and it worked, says Geering.\n\nGeering and two IT staff developed the whole open source system in-house,\nreducing the cost of the project to a fraction of what the 3B2 solution\nwould have cost, he says.\n\nThe team used Python, libxml/libxslt and TeX, running on Debian GNU/Linux,\nand the open document standards TeX, XML, MathML, XHTML, and Xlink, says\nGeering.\n\nThe Tex schedule project went live in April. The schedule book is printed\nthree times a year â€” April, August and December, but because the project\nhas been successful, Pharmac is now considering publishing monthly, says\nGeering. \n\n__EOP__\nIn house programming building on top of the OSS solutions already available.\nNote: when the closed source solution had a [fairly typical] change to its\nbusiness structure all of Pharmacs existing investment went south.