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LinuxMedNews.com--Just What the Doctor Ordered

The (Un)Likely Marriage of Linux and Medical News

  • May 5, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

Dr. Ignacio Valdes is celebrating five years on the Web with LinuxMedNews.com, a site that covers Linux and open source software stories related to the medical community, and averages about 25,000 unique visitors a week.

During a recent interview, Dr. Valdes shared some of the secrets of running a successful specialty news site. He also spoke about some of the effects of free and open source software on the medical community. As you may have guessed, he's a big fan of Linux.

Combining Linux and medical news was really just a natural evolutionary process for Dr. Valdes.

He started out at Texas A&M, receiving a BS in Computer Science in 1986. After working at IBM for five years he went back to school and received his MS in the same major. After a short stint at Compaq, now HP, he enrolled in Medical School at the University of Texas Southwestern, in Dallas. He ended up back in his hometown of Houston, Texas for his residency in Psychiatry.

Several revelations, along with his professional career choice, led up to the present day LinuxMedNews.com.

"The Internet entered my life in 1989 as a graduate student when the Net was mostly populated by a bunch of geeky computer scientists and had a command line interface only," Valdes explained, "Still, it was an epiphany for me after using IBM's SNA network for years to find something that was so much better basically lying on the ground. Epiphany two came when I did my Master's thesis on the Unix Network File System caching on Sun workstations. What IBM was selling at the time was a joke compared to those Suns and it was shocking to me."

"Ten years later, I had another 'moment' like this when the week after I received my license to practice medicine, I installed Redhat 6.2 on my home PC and thought: 'My PC is better than a Sun workstation and it is right here in my house!'," he added.

These days Valdes is a NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) research fellow doing brain imaging research on substance abusers using functional MRI. He also has a Psychiatry ER (Emergency Room) practice at night. In between the two jobs he is the husband of Cory Valdes and father of their two sons, Thomas and Luis. Naturally, he spends time running the LinuxMedNews site, too.

Now that we know a little more about the man, let's find out about what it takes to keep a busy specialty web site going.

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