System Requirements

Spinnaker has been tested on and will install to the following operating systems: Windows 7 all versions (Home, Pro, 32 and 64 bit), Windows 8 all versions, Windows Server 2008 (all versions), and Windows 2012 (all versions). It will even install to Windows XP, but if you’re still using this, then shame on you!

Is it a full version?

The version of Spinnaker available directly from our website is the full and only version of the software. There is no “lite” or “trial” version of Spinnaker. All users have the same, full version. All users can benefit from free updates as they become available. These download directly from our internet based repository (see Help, Updates within the software).

Screen resolutions

Spinnaker will run on any screen resolution, but it will not be fully usable on screens with a vertical resolution of less than 1024 pixels. This is typically some earlier, smaller widescreen monitors, and many older laptops. The lack of vertical space means that some areas of the software (especially the clinical module) are not fully visible. A large, widescreen monitor is recommended for Spinnaker.

Support

Dental IT Ltd develop, support, and install the Spinnaker software. We also offer training and integration. We encourage you to download and try out the software. If you think that it will work for you and your practice, please contact us for a quote for professional support and backup. Dental IT Ltd is also a well-established Dental IT hardware support company, and we can offer you hardware and software support together.

How much does the support cost?

Please contact us for a quote, so that we can establish more information about your practice, what support you require, and provide a customised quote. There are a lot of variables here (the size of the practice and the number of computers, the size of the database(s), whether or not there is DI (digital imaging), what other software and hardware you use, whether you need hardware/software support, whether you require remote backup and remote monitoring services.)

What’s the catch?

There is none. As with many Open Source solutions, we expect that many customers will recognise the benefit of having good hardware and software support available, and pay for this. We also charge for SMS usage, and for backup of your data if you require. But you do not have to use these services.

Why are you releasing open source software?

Spinnaker is free and open source software. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License. Because we believe that it is a time for the UK dental market to experience the disruption of a genuine alternative. The industry is dominated by large commercial operators, with expensive software, costly support contracts (that you are tied into for NHS and other updates), and a fragmented hardware/software approach.

Is this cloud based software?

No it isn’t. The database element of the software runs on a local server in your practice. Cloud based software is not necessarily a panacea; if you have digital imaging, that data is probably local anyway, so you will have data in the cloud AND locally, which isn’t ideal - and of course reliability will be dependent on your internet connection. Some practices will also have concerns about the security and ownership of the data. But there is a demand for cloud software, especially from smaller businesses, and there will be a cloud capable version of Spinnaker, expected later this year.

What if you go out of business?

We won’t. Dental IT Ltd existed before Spinnaker, as a mature and capable IT support company, helping practices across the UK with their IT, with an excellent reputation for the quality and integrity of our systems and support. Software is not our only product or service. That said, in the unlikely event that we did go out of business, as the code is entirely free, any other company could take over the development, support and maintenance of the software.

Is the database also open?

Yes! It is an industry standard MySQL database. It is your data. The software and database is entirely “open” (note, it is open, it is not insecure). So if you want to access the raw data you can. We don’t hide areas of the program or the database behind developer or “superadmin” passwords.

If I want to add functionality to the program or change it some way, can I do this?

Yes you can; any programmer or agent you employ could download the software code and rework it. Note that, if you do this, the program is no longer certified for NHS transmissions using WebEDI. You would need to apply and recertify the software yourself to do this. Collaboration is best, although we currently do not have systems in place to handle third party developer contributions.

Use of WebEDI and registration with Dental IT Ltd

Spinnaker is fully certified for NHS transmissions using WebEDI. At the moment, this is tested and developed for general practices in England only; support for Welsh practices and orthodontic practices will be added in due course and as demand arises. There are currently no plans to support NHS functionality for practices in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In order to use Spinnaker for NHS transmissions, you need to register with Dental IT Ltd. This is because the NHS BSA (Business Services Authority) currently issue a small invoice to the software supplier not the end user, if you start using the software for transmitting claims. This is an absurd situation (the customer uses our free and open software, we receive a bill!) but this is how the system is at the moment and seems unlikely to change any time soon. As a result, we have had to introduce the ability to track and register sites that wish to “switch on” and use the NHS EDI capabilities of the software, in order that we can pass on the charge from the NHS BSA when we receive it.

Where can I obtain a copy of the code?

Here