As part of our efforts to support the fight against the coronavirus
pandemic, we today announce the release of the first version of the
Python plugin for Orthanc! This plugin can be of great help
to anyone wishing to automate her imaging workflow, to design/train
new machine learning algorithms, or to deploy AI systems directly in
clinical setups. Given the huge need for medical imaging in order to
COVID-19, we hope this contribution will prove
to be helpful.
Thanks to this new plugin, you can very easily extend Orthanc by
creating scripts using the intuitive and
expressive Python programming language. You just have to
the dedicated plugin, to set
the PythonScript configuration option, and you're ready
to extend Orthanc in a few lines of code. Your Python
script has full access to third-party Python modules, as well as
to the major features of the Orthanc plugin SDK.
The Orthanc Book
provides samples about some of the many
possibilities offered by the Python plugin. Python scripts can
easily extend the baseline REST API of Orthanc, listen to changes
occurring in the Orthanc database,
call pydicom onto clinical DICOM images, or apply
imaging processing algorithms using
the Python Imaging Library. The full ecosystem of
Python modules is at hand: It is easy to create bridges with HL7,
NIfTI/BIDS, or machine learning tools (such as PyTorch or
This development was announced
2019 on last December, and was supported by Osimis, the
commercial partner of Orthanc.
MySQL and MariaDB support
July 17th, 2018
Today, we are excited to announce that the Orthanc project
officially supports the highly popular MySQL and MariaDB
databases through dedicated,
free and open-source plugins! This new development expands the
functional scope of Orthanc even more, as a large number of PACS
administrators in hospitals are more familiar with these database
with PostgreSQL. This is a
nice milestone, just 2 days before Orthanc celebrates its 6th
This development was triggered last year
by Osimis, the
commercial partner of Orthanc, that launched
a crowdfunding campaign to this end. Because the
goal of the campaign was not met at that time, an industrial user
of Orthanc has fortunately decided to help Osimis by funding this
development. We wish to warmly thank this great partner for its
Besides the "index" plugin that was the topic of the crowdfunding,
a "blob storage area" plugin for MySQL and MariaDB has also been
developed in order to store the DICOM files directly into an
enterprise-ready database (a similar possibility already exists
for PostgreSQL). Simultaneously, the
PostgreSQL plugins have
been rewritten almost from scratch in order to share as much C++
and SQL code as possible between all the database
engines. Furthermore, the PostgreSQL plugins were optimized
alongside, leading to their 2.2 release that was also released
today. Thanks to this intricate refactoring, introducing support
for new database engines will become a much more easier process
(don't hesitate to get in touch with
Osimis if you want to fund such a development ;-) ).
As always, all this code is shared as free and open-source
software to the benefit of the worldwide community of medical
imaging: Check out our download page!
Note that the Windows
installers now come bundled with all the MySQL and PostgreSQL
Orthanc Turns 5, New Release Available
July 19th, 2017
Exactly five years ago, on July 19th, 2012, Orthanc was
publicly released for the first time. To celebrate this
birthday, version 1.3.0 is now available for download! This
contains many bugfixes and improvements.
As of today, the entire Orthanc ecosystem consists of more than
140,000 lines of code, all released under a Free Software
license (GPL/AGPL). Over the last year, two new components were
added to this ecosystem: A plugin to bring support of DICOM
for whole-slide microscopic
imaging (digital pathology), and an innovative
rendering engine for medical images that is
called Stone of Orthanc.
Stone of Orthanc was notably demonstrated to be the first toolkit
to render a PET-CT fusion in a Web browser using
The Orthanc/Osimis joint effort reached its climax today, as shown
in this photo of myself (Sébastien) together with the core
developers of Osimis working together to create the 1.3.0 release:
Over the following months, besides maintenance tasks, the Orthanc
project will essentially focus on stabilizing the Stone of
Orthanc. Our vision is indeed that Stone is a very important
contribution to the medical imaging community, as it will make
possible to create a whole new generation of DICOM viewers that
are truly cross-platform: Indeed, thanks to the Stone of Orthanc,
Web sites, mobile apps, and heavyweight clients that render
medical images could all share the same C++ codebase.
In a nutshell, the history of Orthanc is only at its very
beginning... now, let's see what can be accomplished with five
more years! :)
Thanks to all the Orthanc community to make this success possible, Sébastien-
October 22nd, 2016
The Orthanc project is delighted to announce that it now provides a
reference, lightweight implementation of DICOM for whole-slide
microscopic imaging (digital pathology).
Our implementation is made of three components: A command-line
tool to convert digital pathology images into DICOM, an Orthanc
plugin to display such images, and a command-line tool to export
DICOM whole-slide images as standard hierarchical TIFF images.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first free and
open-source implementation of DICOM for whole-slide imaging.
Check out the dedicated section
about digital pathology on our homepage for more information!
Stone of Orthanc
October 14th, 2016
A new companion tool to Orthanc has just been released! This free
and open-source tool is called the Stone of Orthanc. Just
like a palantír, Stone is a means of seeing medical
images in Orthanc servers.
More precisely, Stone of Orthanc is a lightweight, cross-platform
C++ toolkit for the CPU-based rendering of medical images. It
notably features support for MPR (multiplanar reconstruction of
volume images), PET-CT fusion, and accurate physical world
coordinates. Stone of Orthanc is similar in spirit to two other
by Chris Hafey, a
browsers. However, contrarily to Cornerstone, Stone of Orthanc
is written in C++, and can be embedded into native, heavyweight
by Kitware, a C++ toolkit for scientific
visualization. However, contrarily to VTK that relies on
graphics processing units (GPU), Stone of
Orthanc is entirely focused on software-based rendering. Within
Stone, 3D volumes are handled as sets of 2D slices.
Check out the dedicated section
about Stone on our homepage for more information! We hope this new
tool will contribute to the development of new, innovative, free
and open-source applications for the viewing and analysis of
First Stable Release of Orthanc
December 16th, 2015
After four years of intensive development, we are very happy to
announce the release of the first stable version of Orthanc
By "stable", we mean that the feature set of this version of
Orthanc is considered as complete. No new feature should be
added. If important bugfixes are necessary, they will lead to
subsequent releases 1.0.x. Future development will take place in
branches with versions above 1.1.0.
The latest important feature to be included in Orthanc was the
support of DICOM modality worklists, both as a client and
as a server. Serving worklists is done through the plugin
infrastructure of Orthanc. The rationale for using plugins is that
worklists are generated by mechanisms that live outside the DICOM
world (e.g. HL7 or FHIR messages), and that are specific to each
clinical workflow. Creating plugins allow to make the Orthanc core
independent of these mechanisms. Note that for basic uses, we
worklist plugin, that reads its worklists from some directory
on the filesystem (which mimics the "dcmwlm" tool from DCMTK).
We are now starting to work on future evolutions of
Orthanc. These evolutions will notably span more specialized
applications (e.g. the support of DICOM-RT for radiotherapy and
nuclear medicine, or the support of DICOM for digital pathology),
more advanced user interfaces (as the
built-in Orthanc Explorer only
targets administrative, low-level purpose), and
smoother interfacing with external computing environments (e.g. a
revamped native C++ SDK,
a virtual FUSE filesystem, an embedded FTP
server, or extensions to well-known tools such as OsiriX or
Slicer). These are just a few tracks, and most of them became
possible thank to the introduction of the
rich plugin infrastructure inside Orthanc.
Once again, we want to thank the entire Orthanc community for your
interest, for providing great feedback, and for helping us to
validate the product in real-word environments. If you want to
further support Orthanc, please fill the short
survey below. We are also ready to discuss about possible
Survey: Who Uses Orthanc?
July 31st, 2015
The Orthanc project is continuously growing. To support its
development, we would love to hear which hospitals, universities,
companies and organizations take advantage of Orthanc. Please let us
know by sending a short mail!
To put weight on future grant applications for
travels/hardware/servers/..., we wish to gather a list of
institutions that use Orthanc for production, for quality
assurance, or for R&D purpose. These
institutions will be publicly listed on this Web site, in a
separate "Orthanc Users" section.
If you wish to support Orthanc, please use the following
pre-filled mail, ideally attaching your institution's official
The Orthanc project is now three years old. The last year was
exceptionally rich for this free and open-source project. It's time
for a short survey!
Since July 2014, 8 releases of Orthanc have been successively
published, jumping from version 0.8.0 to 0.9.1. Besides many
extensions to the REST API and massive refactoring, here is a
brief summary of the main features that were integrated over the
A lightweight Web-based viewer of medical images is
as a plugin to Orthanc.
The University Hospital of Liège won
eHealth Project Award for the Orthanc project from Agoria,
the Belgian federation of the technology industry.
The Orthanc roadmap continues to be strongly influenced by the
feedback from its growing community. Nicely, the feature set for
the long-awaited stable 1.0.0 release is now getting well-defined.
This release should be available in the next few months.
Thanks for your support,
Illustrations of Orthanc in Action
Februrary 2nd, 2015
Following our talk
at FOSDEM 2015 about free and open-source software
for medical imaging, discover some media illustrating Orthanc in
Click on the image to show screenshots of Orthanc.
Demonstration of the upcoming plugin that extends Orthanc
with a Web viewer of medical images.
Tutorial that shows how to import DICOM images using the
Web interface of Orthanc.
Medical physicists can import DICOM images directly from
Orthanc into ImageJ. Learn more.
Experimental viewer of nuclear medicine images that is
built upon Orthanc. Learn more.
Orthanc Celebrates its Second Birthday
July 18th, 2014
The first public release of Orthanc was on July 19th, 2012. Today,
we are ready to celebrate its second birthday! It is time for a
brief review of the past year.
Orthanc is an open-source, Web-based DICOM server for
healthcare and medical research. Its target audience primarily
consists of the network administrators of an hospital, of the
researchers in the field of biomedical imaging, as well as of the
computer scientists that develop software for the automated
analysis of medical images. Orthanc comes from the research of the
Department of Medical Physics of the University Hospital of Liège
Technically speaking, Orthanc is very different from the other free
and open-source PACS software around: It is written in C++, it
is lightweight (which allows it to run even on Raspberry Pi), it
does not depend on any external database or framework (which makes
its installation fast and trivial), and it provides a custom RESTful
API. Thanks to the latter API, Orthanc can easily be driven
from any computer language to automate parts of the imaging
workflow that is very specific to each hospital. Thanks to its
lightness, a cohort of Orthanc servers can also easily be deployed
in a hospital, for instance one for each medical imaging flow.
During the past year, the most visible change to the Orthanc
project was the introduction in January 2014 of its new official Web
site. But many other important milestones were achieved:
In July 2013, Orthanc 0.6.0 introduced the Orthanc Client
library to call Orthanc from C++ native applications (such as
of medical images).
Since October 2013 and release 0.7.0, Orthanc can act as a
DICOM Query/Retrieve server.
In May 2014, Orthanc 0.7.5 introduced the creation of DICOM
images with AJAX calls and greatly improved
In June 2014, Orthanc 0.7.6 featured the decompression of
JPEG and JPEG-LS DICOM images.
In July 2014, Orthanc 0.8.0 introduced the Plugin SDK,
the Lua-based routing of images, and the support of
Apple OS X. A CodeProject
article explains how to turn Orthanc into a WADO server thanks
No later than
this week, our development team is proud of having been selected
by the Microsoft Innovation
Center of Mons (Belgium) to take part in their SoftLab Summer
Camp, a hackathon to help SMEs and public administrations to
launch innovative open-source products.
Since the development
roadmap is continuously shrinking, Orthanc is now heading
to the major release 1.0.0. Expect it to be ready for about Q4
2014. In the meantime, as almost no major feature will be
introduced (except for Query/Retrieve SCU), please challenge
Orthanc and help us finding paths for future improvements!
Thanks for your interest,
Orthanc to be Even More Open
June 19th, 2014 (updated on July 11th, 2014)
Orthanc 0.8.0 features the possibility for external
developers to create and distribute plugins for Orthanc, thanks to
the Orthanc Plugin SDK.
We have indeed been contacted by several developers who would like
to contribute to Orthanc by extending its core system so that it
better fits their needs. Here are some of their various wishes:
Add support for JPEG2000.
Add support for WADO.
Develop a reference implementation for standard DICOM
RESTful services (WADO-RS, QIDO-RS, STOW-RS).
Develop a reference implementation of the DICOM-RT file
format for radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.
For all these reasons, we have been working hard on creating a
plugin interface for Orthanc. This interface allows external
developers to create shared libraries that can be loaded into the
Orthanc server to meet their specific needs. Such so-called
plugins can register callback functions to react to
incoming REST calls. These callbacks can in turn access the
Orthanc database to retrieve information about the stored DICOM
Here is some technical information about this development:
Plugins must be written in C or C++. They are of course allowed
to call external libraries that are more suited to their needs
than DCMTK (such
The Orthanc Plugin SDK is defined
C header. Please note that this header is licensed under the
GPLv3, which notably forbids the distribution of closed-source
Orthanc plugins. You can type make doc at the
command-line to generate its documentation using Doxygen.