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* Where to get?

The latest distribution is here available.


* What do we need?

- Machine OS: Linux/Unix (the port to Windoze we do for you)
- Compiler : gcc (GNU C Compiler)
- Utilities : make (GNU make)
- Packages : The graphical user interface requires some extra libraries:

If you have Gnome installed you're lucky, otherwise you'll need to download and install the above libraries and all associated dependencies.


* How to install?

All information can be found in the README file within the distribution. You should read the REMARKS file about format and site specific code settings.

            $> ./configure
            $> make
            #> make install 

Now make sure the libraries can be found and the executables are in your $PATH.


* What to do with problems?

Send your e-mail to enlf(at)


* Why (X)MedCon?

As a novice system administrator on a nuclear medicine site, we spended some time in the search for that specific tool to do this proper conversion between those formats. Hey, at the time we needed (and still need) other things to read/learn/edit/configure/debug/install/patch/hack/tune/play. With proper we mean: conversion between commonly used formats in (freely available) research tools, while preserving valuable medical parameters like patient information, slice orientation, voxel dimension and pixel quantitation.

After trying some utilities we decided we would be better off writing things ourselves in order to meet our requirements. At the same time, the world wide web helped us tremendously in our network administration tasks through the availability of profound documentation and handy tools. We felt we owed the web, therefore the time came to give something back to this Internet community.

We hereby hope to lower the conversion barrier in many research projects.


*Can (X)MedCon convert my vendor 's format?

No. And we don't want to. Our focus is on conversion between widely used medical formats. Now many vendors are capable of exporting to DICOM or InterFile. In those cases there is a chance (X)MedCon will be able to read your files. And if you haven't heard of the dicom3tools yet, then you should take a visit at David Clunie's site now for more vendor specific conversions.


*Can (X)MedCon do backwards conversion?

If all you need to do is going from point A to B and then come back to A, you 'd better stay in A. Always preserve your original image format. Ofcourse, a reconversion is possible but even between the small number of formats (X)MedCon supports, no two formats have a one to one relation. In the cases where a backwards conversion is necessary you should consider that each conversion will result in the loss of information. Here are a few examples of format incompatibilities:

 Dicom 3AcrNema 2.0InterFile 3.3Analyze(SPM)ECAT
centre-centre slice separationyesyesyesnono
quantitation factorsslope & interceptone globalnoneone globaltwo for each image
slice thicknessyesyesTOMO onlyyesyes
different time framesyes (PT)noplanar onlyyesyes
modality distinctionyesyesyesnoyes
patient nameyesyesyesnoyes

Tabel 1.: (un)available features for most common formats.


* How come (X)MedCon's GUI is based on Gtk+?

First of all, we were all too lucky to be surrounded by tough UNIX machines on which we did the initial development of our command-line version. The use of notorious Xv had some serious limitations. So we were looking for a way of displaying the images ourselves. On proprietary UNIX machines this required learning something like Xlib or Motif. A first glance at a daunting X Window System version of "Hello World" discouraged us immediately. No way we were going to type all that! In our search for an easier way to deal with image display we came across the Gtk+ toolkit and its promising specifications: C, free, open and ported. After the easy unpack, configure, make, install sequence, running the 'testgtk' program was a true revelation. Displaying images wasn't that simple yet. Here the formerly used GdkImlib library written by Rasterman was our saviour in need. In less than three days we got a working GUI front-end without any previous knowledge of X-programming, rendering or callbacks. That still speaks for the *lousy* code. ;)

The use of the open source Gtk+ toolkit is a true blessing: others are porting your code. Gtk+ is probably available on every Linux distribution. But the best proof however is the amazing GtkWin port made (originally done by Tor Lillqvist) which enabled us to compile our UNIX utility on to the Windoze platform at a "minimum" of efforts. Ofcourse, our previous decision to use the widespread and free GNU C compiler on any UNIX flavour at our disposal, made this transition even smoother.


Page last modified on March 30, 2016, at 10:40 PM