An up-to-date look at free software and its makers
Small Steps to Success
A single application such as Gnome Voice Recorder is unlikely to convince PC users to change their free desktop preferences. However, it is the small utilities in particular that make working with a PC that much easier and reduce the frustration that newcomers can experience. Of course, if utilities are missing or cause usability problems they can just as easily frighten off potential converts.
If users are forced to launch a feature-rich application like Audacity  just to record some noise because of the inadequacies of Gnome Sound Recorder, the computing experience will suffer. The program interface does not have the same look as the desktop, and controlling the versatile audio tool can mean a fairly substantial learning process. On the other hand, if users immediately find the right tool for a minor task and quickly achieve the desired results, they are likely to feel more at home in an environment.
The moral of this story is that even smaller projects should introduce a structured approach to programming. This includes following the lines that Bons has taken: Start by sketching the interface, solicit proposed improvements, and continually improve the sketches before starting to code. In line with this, the Gnome Voice Recorder developers invite users to contribute more ideas and help the project move along. When this issue went to press, a lively discussion was already in progress on Bons' blog.
- Gluon: http://gluon.tuxfamily.org
- Karicat: http://gitorious.org/gluon/karicat
- Mii: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mii
- OpenAL: http://connect.creativelabs.com/openal
- Box2D: http://www.box2d.org
- Open Dynamics Engine: http://www.ode.org
- Gnome Voice Recorder: http://www.bomahy.nl/hylke/blog/gnome-voice-recorder
- "Free Software Projects" by Carsten Schnober, Linux Pro Magazine, July 2009: http://www.linux-magazine.com/w3/issue/104/094-095_projects.pdf
- Banshee: http://banshee-project.org
- F-Spot: http://f-spot.org
- Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net
Symantec says Linux-Darlioz burrows in through PHP.
Dell renews its quest for the ultimate developer machine.
Innovative back door looks like normal SSH traffic.
One of CeBITs most successful forums opens the new year with a new name. The popular Open Source Forum continues in 2014 under the name Special Conference: Open Source. This year, the forum will be bigger and offer a wider range of possibilities for sponsors.
New release offers better graphics drivers and expands filesystem support.
New mail protocol will shut out the NSA and prevent snooping on metadata.
A new web application helps users visualize distributed denial-of-service attacks.
Ubuntu 13.10 takes a step toward convergence, with lots of mobility, but Mir only partly here.
Galileo board is targeted to embedded developers and educational institutions.