'OPN pledge' promises no lawsuits, assuming Google not sued
Perhaps trying to appease the US Federal Trade Commission and other governmental agencies concerned about patent abuse, Google is "taking a stand on open source and patents" and pledging to not sue "any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked." Ten patents initially identified are related to MapReduce, a computing algorithm designed to efficiently deal with large-scale data processing.
Extensions for Sony SmartWatch made open source
Two extensions for the Sony SmartWatch have been released as open source in an attempt to foster app development for the device. The 8 Game extension, a simple game based on sliding tiles to reorganize a picture, shows potential developers how they could create their own titles that can run on the timepiece. The Music extension permits the accessory to control music playback on the linked phone through supported media players, letting existing programming teams add SmartWatch functionality to their software.
Parties interested in developing for the $150 SmartWatch can download the SDK from Sony, with a further request from the electronics giant to suggest other extensions to release as open source.
All Q.Bo orders scheduled to ship in Fall
As previously reported, developer The Corpora has commenced pre-orders of its Q.bo open source robot. Ten individual items are available for pre-order, including three models of complete robots either assembled or ready-for-assembly, along with seven individual components available separately for the hobbyist. All orders are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Group formed by Interoperability Strategy team
Microsoft has reportedly formed a new subsidiary that will focus on open-source projects and open standards. The subsidiary, labeled Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. and formed by the company's Interoperability Strategy team, is said to be staffed by a group of 50 to 75 employees and headed by Microsoft executive Jean Paoli.
Upgraders should uninstall 1.2 first
Growl, the popular open-source third-party notification system for Mac OS X, has undergone some serious changes in its new 1.3 update: it's now Lion-only, a menu item instead of a system preference, and exclusively available through the Mac App Store, among other features. It's also now a paid app (at $2), which the developers hope will ensure its developmental future. The upgraded app also sports a new "rollback" feature similar to iOS 5, and a history log.
Move seen as win for open source
A consortium of several companies, including Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle, has backed away from its plan to buy a large number of Novell patents. The companies had submitted a plan notifying German regulators of the decision to establish CPTN Holdings and purchase 882 of the patents, however the group withdrew its filing on December 30.
Open-source browser takes on Firefox, Safari
Google has finally released a beta version of its Chrome browser for the Mac platform, following a year of availability for Windows users. The open source software is designed to compete with other popular browsers such as Safari and Firefox. The latest release offers many of the same features as the Windows version, although the early Mac beta still lacks several capabilities.
67TB of storage for $7900
Backblaze is in the business of providing online backup service and, by extension, wound up in the hardware business. Upset with the high cost of storage devices, the company designed and built it's own 67TB storage modules for about $7867 (materials alone) each. Now, CEO Gleb Budman says Backblaze is giving away the design, hoping the open approach will lead to improvements or inspire a separate company to build the boxes so Backblaze doesn't have to.
Microsoft may adopt WebKit
Microsoft's well known Internet Explorer web browser may have an open source sibling on its way based on WebKit, of Safari and Google Chrome fame, if statements made by CEO Steve Ballmer are indicative. TechWorld writes that Ballmer, speaking in front of developers in Sydney, answered a question posed by a student, on why Microsoft insisted on dumping money into the rendering platform, rather than adopting a faster open source model. Ballmer thought the question to be "cheeky," but provided a humble response.
OpenMoko explores Android
Open source handset manufacturer OpenMoko is expected to unveil plans to adopt the Linux-based Android as early as November, under an alleged project name called GTA02. AndroidGuys reports that the project will launch on a similar handset to the Neo FreeRunner, offering users a 400 to 500 MHz processor, with 128MB of SDRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash, as well as A-GPRS and a four-in-one "laser pen".
If you need an office suite for the Mac, your choices used to be limited to Microsoft Office 2008 or Apple’s iWork. Unfortunately, neither option offered a complete solution. Office 2008 can share the latest file formats with Office 2007 for Windows, but the Mac and Windows versions of Office neither look nor work exactly alike. If you’re already familiar with Office 2007 on Windows, Office 2008 for the Mac will seem different enough to frustrate and confuse you. Apple’s iWork is the only other office suite solution, but it lacks a Windows version. For a true cross-platform office suite, you can now rely on the open source OpenOffice 3.0.
Java art app and updater
Google Chrome browser
Samsung sell Symbian share
The last hurdle in Nokia's attempts to buy out the Symbian software firm and make it into an open source group has been passed, as Samsung accepted Nokia's offer to buy out its stake in Symbian, says a Tuesday report. Back in June, Nokia announced it would buy out the shares of the other shareholders for a total of $410 million and then make the Symbian cellular phone operating system open-source, making it available without royalties to members of the Symbian Foundation founded by Nokia.
If you’re interested in writing a screenplay, a teleplay, or a stage play, you could use an ordinary word processor. Unfortunately, each script style requires different page margins and formatting conventions. You could take the time to define these formatting styles yourself, or you could just use a special scriptwriting program that does this for you automatically. Rather than pay $200 or more for a commercial screenwriting program, try the open source Celtx scriptwriter instead.
Android and HTC Dream
Android is allegedly closer to release than previously believed, according to one insider who foresees a September 17th, 2008 pre-order date. The news comes after many in the industry pushed the highly-anticipated Google-produced open source operating system back to 2009. T-Mobile is expected to see Android via the HTC Dream (G1), which will supposedly ship in white, brown, and black finishes, and will sport a 3G data connection.
Adeona asset protection
A development team at the University of Washington recently unveiled Adeona – named after the Roman goddess of safe returns – Open Source security software that parallels functionality of paid services such as LoJack. The dev team claims that the software is privacy-preserving, in that no one other than the owner of the device can track a stolen computer through Adeona. Users are merely required to install Adeona, and do not have to rely on a third-party service to track the device.
Front Row meets Twitter
For the past six years, a group of developers scattered across the globe has been quietly working to reinvent the way we watch movies and listen to music. The result is Boxee -- a media player based on the XBMC Open Source platform -- released in alpha form this month initially on the Mac. The developers says Boxee was born of frustration over what they saw as the somewhat clunky way computers gather and display content. Separate applications are needed to display photos or play music and movies, and content is often delivered in formats requiring proprietary media players. The ambitious end game for Boxee is to become the “one-size-fits-all” media center that works with any kind of content on any platform.
First Look: Firefox 3
For years, Internet Explorer defined the standard for web browsers. After years of neglect and security flaws however, the browser grew less popular, prompting the release of a number of rivals. Perhaps the most successful competition has been the open source Firefox browser, which emphasizes security foremost. Now with version 3, the browser also boasts faster speed along with a host of other improvements.
Though servers offering the software are currently buckling and inaccessible to many users, Firefox 3.0 on Tuesday has made its debut with the Mozilla organization looking to set a record for browser downloads. The major new release of the open source Web browser is available today in approximately 50 languages, and is purportedly three times faster than its predecessor, offering "15,000 improvements" including a smart location bar and malware protection. The new Firefox 3 smart location bar, dubbed "Awesome Bar" by Mozilla, adapts to user entries over time. The Firefox 3 Library archives browsing history, bookmarks, and tags, where they can be searched and organized.
OsiriX 3.2 image viewer
OsiriX has released version 3.2 of its open-source medical and scientific imaging software, boasting improved performance and a host of new features. Based on the VTK, ITK and decmtk software development kits, OsiriX is fully natively compliant with the DICOM standard for medical images, as well as JPEG, TIFF PDF and AVI. In addition to an already extensive feature set, most notable developments in version 3.2 of the software include 80 percent faster rendering speed than previous versions and the return of 64-bit support on PowerPC G5-based systems. The full list of new features as documented in the release notes, is as follows:
Tuneconnect 2.1 released
TuneConnect 2.1 is a re-written revision of the open-source 'iTunes remote' software for Mac OS X. Written in 100 percent native code, Tuneconnect 2.1 uses a 'specially developed 'neural iTunes HTTP API' called
Tunage to allow many different types of devices to share iTunes information, offering almost complete control of iTunes across a network. Version 2.1 of the web-based utility fixes some of the bugs that cropped up in the initial release and adds support for a small handful of the most-requested features from users.
xVM VirtualBox 1.6 update
Sun Microsystems on Friday introduced a new update for xVM VirtualBox, adding support for Mac OS X and Solaris, making it the first open sourcevirtual machine to support both operating systems. According to The Inquirer, Sun is offering both a free open source version which has no usage restrictions, as well as a free licensed version with more features for individual home users. Business customers are required to pay for licenses, should they want the full version.
GRASS 6.3.0b adds features
The GRASS Development Team today unveiled GRASS GIS 6.3.0, a beta update to its popular geographic information system, adding hundreds of new module features, among other inclusions. The developers say that the version is merely the first step to a stable v6.4, and the impending v7.0. GRASS 6.3.0 introduces the wxPython user interface, the first change from the VAX 11/780 interface used since 1983. GRASS is open source, and is available from the project website.
Lockdown 1.0 encrypts data
Northern Softworks recently unveiled LockDown 1.0, its new software that allows users to encrypt their files and data. LockDown makes use of OpenSSL to provide six encryption ciphers, which the developer claims are "industrial strength". Users simply drag-and-drop their data onto the application, and LockDown can even function with the clipboard. Northern Softworks is currently selling Lockdown 1.0 for $10 from its website.
Bosco's Screen Share 3
Hutchings Software today unveiled Bosco's Screen Share 3, an update to its free cross-platform screen sharing software, adding Universal Binary code and various improvements to the clients. In addition, a number of performance enhancements were made to both Mac and Windows clients. Bosco's screen share is designed to make setup and usage relatively simple; the author points out that most open source screen sharing utilities require complex setup. Hutchings Software is currently distributing Bosco's Screen Share 3 for free from its website.
OpenEDA Toolkit 1.0
ReyesSoft has introduced its OpenEDA Toolkit 1.0, bringing open source electronic design automation software to Mac OS X as well as Solaris and other UNIX-based platforms. The software includes Alliance CAD, Icarus Verilog, FreeHDL, the gEDA suite, GTKWave, Gerbv, PCB, Electric, and NG-SPICE support. OpenEDA Toolkit 1.0 is priced at $100 for the basic version, and the company offers subscriptions as well as user support for additional fees. OpenEDA Toolkit 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Swift3D 5.0 released
Electric Rain today released Swift 3D 5.0 for Mac and Windows systems, enabling users to export to the Papervision3D file format. Papervision3D is an open source 3D engine for Flash that leverages ActionScript 3.0 and the Flash 9 player to draw true 3D and allow for real-time user interaction. Swift 3D 5.0 is priced at $250, with upgrades from previous users available from $80. The application requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Google developer playgroun
Google recently unveiled the Google Mac Developer Playground, a website for open source projects and demos. The Mac team of engineers uses the area to host projects that they build, from experiments to useful tools, as well as "just for fun" titles, something that they reportedly spend around 20-percent of their time on each day. Statz, for example, was created by Dave MacLachlan – one of the engineers responsible for the Mac version of Google Desktop – in his spare time. The program allows you to update your account status across many different messaging services.