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Posts tagged with 'open source'

Prakash

After Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, OpenOffice was forked to create LibreOffice. Since LibreOffice is derived from OpenOffice, they have all the feature of OpenOffice plus more.

Here is full list of features and few useful ones:

  • Import SVG pictures* into Draw and edit them interactively.
  • Import MS Works, Lotus WordPro and Wordperfect files.
  • Presentation view extension bundled by default.
  • OpenOffice quick start available. This loads the basic libraries in memories thereby speeding up startup time.
  • And lots of language packs.

Ubuntu 11.04 will bundle LibreOffice.

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Prakash

This article has a nice list of 50 open source applications for science education.

Open Source: Astronomy and Space Exploration

1. Celestia

A perennial favorite, Celestia allows users to view the night skies from any point on earth at any time or to see how the sky would look from any point in the known universe. The interface is simple to use, and it uses real telescope imagery of stars, planets, asteroids, and other objects in space whenever possible. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

2. Stellarium

Stellarium is like having your own personal planetarium on your computer. In fact, it’s such an accurate depiction of the night sky seen with the naked eye or simple binoculars that it’s used by many planetariums. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

KStars

KStars offers the same functionality as Stellarium, plus some tools for amateur astronomers, like an observing list, FOV editor, altitude vs. time tool, and more. It comes with a default catalog of all stars up to magnitude 8, but you can expand it with a catalog of stars up to magnitude 16. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

4. PP3

An excellent tool for teachers, PP3 creates star charts that are detailed enough for use in PowerPoint presentations or books. Note that in order to use it, you will also need LaTeX. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

5. Cartes du Ciel (Skycharts)

Another option for creating star charts, Cartes du Ciel uses data from 16 different catalogs. Don’t let the French name scare you off—there’s plenty of English documentation. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

6. Open Luna

If looking at pictures of the sky isn’t good enough for you, Open Luna is an open-source project dedicated to sending actual spacecraft into space and eventually the moon. The group’s first mission is scheduled to launch next month. Operating System: N/A.

7. DevelopSpace

DevelopSpace has an even more ambitious goal—developing the necessary technology to enable a one-way trip to Mars in the near future. Students and others who get involved can contribute directly to solving the technical challenges posed by a mission to Mars. Operating System: N/A.

See the complete list.

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Prakash

When I was looking at getting a new wireless router, I started looking at what users had to say about their experience. The first user reviews said the ASUS RT-N16 Wireless-N Gigabit Router is an excellent hardware with poor software. So it suggested to flash the firmware with DD-WRT.

So I decided to get this router and the first thing I did was to load DD-WRT.

Here is what I like about the router:

  • 4  Gigabit Ethernet Ports 10/100/1000Mbps
  • 1 WAN Port
  • 802.11n (Draft)  supports 300Mbps wireless (your device also has to support this)
  • 3 Antennas for extended range
  • 2 USB ports
  • Power adapter works on both 110/240 volts
  • 480 MHz processor which can be overclocked to 533 MHz

The DD-WRT firmware is very easily loadable using the router browser front-end. Its an open source firmware, it makes the router fully customisable and is extremely easy to use. You can plug in a USB hard drive and convert the router into NAS server. Or can be used to share a printer. You can read the documentation here on how to load DD-WRT.

It can also be used to share 3G connection. You connect your 3G dongle on the USB and you need to do some scripting on the router. (If you are not comfortable with command line stuff, this is not for you). You can load the scripts through the web based front end and run them or you can also telnet/ssh to the router. There  are a lot more features you can explore once DD-WRT has been loaded, like you can convert the router into a VOIP server by installing Asterisk. Happy Hacking!

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Prakash

AirJaldi is an organisation which has pioneered the art of creating mesh WiFi networks. They have managed to reach Internet to the hills in Dharamshala, where connectivity is a challenge.

Here is a full writeup about them. Some interesting quotes :)

The open-source community has also dabbled extensively in it, creating a suite of free software. Most of AirJaldi’s work, Ginguld says, was made possible by “standing on the shoulders of these open-source giants”.

“I hope we’ll be remembered for adding some beauty to this place, not as someone who bought the silicon valleys of Pamela Anderson to innocent Dharamshala,” Ginguld says. For him, the Internet is a basic freedom—as important as security, water or electricity.

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Prakash

The London Stock Exchange has said its new Linux-based system is delivering world record networking speed, with 126 microsecond trading times.

The 126 microsecond speed is “twice as fast” as its main international competitors, the London Stock Exchange said. BATS Europe and Chi-X, two dedicated electronic rivals to the LSE, are reported to have an average latency of 250 and 175 microseconds respectively. Netiher company immediately provided details. But many of the LSE’s older and more traditional rivals offer speeds of around 300 to 400 microseconds. Nevertheless, Linux is now standard in many exchanges.

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Prakash

Nginx (pronounced as? engine-X) is beating Apache as a web server in terms of performance. Its being used by WordPress, Hulu and SourceForge. As per recent Netcraft survey, its already the number 3 web server after Apache and Microsoft with 6.62 percent marketshare.

In a test carried out by Linux Journal, Nginx beat Apache by nearly double performance with less than 1/2 the resources. Its able to do this because of its architecture and yes its open source.

Web Server Worker Processes CPU Utilisation Memory Used requests served
Nginx 1 15% 1MB 11,500
Apache 4?? (threaded mode) 30% 17MB 6,500

To know more:

Official Web site

Wiki

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Prakash

If you want to jazz up your open office presentation, you can install openoffice OpenGL transition library to get very cool 3D transition effects.

On Ubuntu, just install this package

openoffice.org-ogltrans

Now you will have these additional slide transitions which you can use. You would find these at the end of the list of slide transitions.

  • Flipping tiles
  • Outside turning cube
  • Revolving circles
  • Turning helix
  • Inside turning cube
  • Fall
  • Turn around
  • Iris
  • Turn down
  • Rochade

Have Fun :) and impress your Powerpoint friends.

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Prakash

The good old X Server is finally getting a replacement. Wayland will provide a replacement but can co-exists along side X Server for compatibility and features. It will also reduce the complexity today where for 3D effect, we are running Compiz.

The X architecture has been around for a decades now. It has gone through many iterations and improvements, however it still suffers from complexities and performance issues. These become bigger challenges when you are working on smaller devices such as phones, where X becomes an over head.

The X Server provides a network layer which is useful when you are running application on one device and output is displayed on another. Such as in thin clients setups. However even there X has been replaced by NX, VNC etc. The Qt team ???created Qt Extended (formerly known as Qtopia) which made direct calls to the frame buffer and eliminiated the need for X. This was a useful for embedded devices, however was limited to applications that used pure Qt APIs and didn’t make any X calls, which means all X applications were out. This limited its use, and never became a replacement for X.

Now Wayland is been designed to be a replacement for X and you should see it in your favourite distribution in the next 12 months.  Hold your breath, this would still require applications to be modified to use Wayland APIs instead of X APIs.

X Architecture today.

Wayland Architecture.

Full explanation of the Architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions.

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Prakash

Came across this interesting list of:

50 Awesome Open Source Apps You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

Note: Most of the apps are Windows based..

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Prakash

Malsow’s 5 Hierarchy of needs is commonly know to people, this was updated to 8 a while back.

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Cognitive needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.

6. Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-Actualisation needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

8. Transcendence needs – helping others to achieve self actualisation.

I found the 8th one inspiring and probably answers one of the reasons why people create open source software. It further says:

Inherent in the nature of humans is the desire to improve and better ourselves. This process of going  beyond our current limitations is often referred to as “self transcendence.”  Self Transcendence can apply to any aspect of our being; the physical self transcendence of running faster; the mental self transcendence of going beyond our purely egoistic thinking.

However at the heart of self transcendence is a spiritual concept that we are growing into a more illumining nature and gaining a wider perspective of our true self.

Self transcendence is not competing with others. Self transcendence is a personal journey of self discovery. To practise self transcendence we need personal effort, willingness to change. However self transcendence needs to involve an awareness that our success doesn’t just involve our “little I”, but also the universal self (or bigger  “I”).

Spiritual seekers have experienced self transcendence as the grace that allows them to be aware of the infinite consciousness of inner delight. In this spiritual self transcendence the different religions and spiritual practises converge on the common teaching of going beyond the limitations of the ego and being aware of our higher Source. This Higher Self is called by many different names, but ultimately is beyond any metaphysical concept.

The practise of Self transcendence is not limited to those who are overtly religious. Any human being who strives for greater perfection and a higher perspective is practising a form of self transcendence, and it is this self transcendence that gives us joy.

Here is the above Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs diagram in OpenOffice format if you need to edit.. If you make it better, send it back to me.

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Prakash

The US Department of the Interior is looking for a mailing solution for its 88,000 employees.

Their tender asks for “Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS-Federal)”. They justify by saying:

“Based on extensive market research, the Department determined that although many companies can provide messaging services in general, they either cannot provide services that address the complexity of messaging requirements within DOI, or they could not meet the degree of security required by DOI”

Google points out that BPOS-Federal is a new product, and that there are no case studies or known customers who have implemented this product. In addition, BPOS-Federal has not been properly certified by any government agency at any risk level. Despite all this, the DOI still demands this tool.

This is a good move, it will encourage the US and other  government to consider open source and stay away from proprietary solutions. To find an 800 pound gorilla [read Microsoft] , you need an elephant [Google] :)

Q: Why is an elephant big, grey and wrinkly?
A: Because if it was small, white and hard it would be an aspirin.

Read more on OS News.

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Prakash

If you are planning to run torrent on a remote computer which you want to control using a browser, then TorrentFlux is for you. It allows multiple users to use one system as a torrent server.

I am running TorrentFlux on the Plug Computer, it works well. Its also easy to use and manage. Its available on standard Ubuntu repository so you can set it up on any desktop/netbook running Ubuntu.

Once Installed, just go to the IP address of the computer where Torrent Flux is installed. Eg.

http://192.168.0.1/torrentflux

Where 192.168.0.1 is the IP address of the computer where TorrentFlux is installed.

Here are the list of features.

  • Upload Torrents via URL or File Upload
  • Start, Stop, and Delete Torrents with a click
  • Advanced Torrent start options (encryption, ports, speeds, etc.)
  • Multi-user interface
  • RSS Feeds, download Torrents files with a click
  • View Download Progress of all torrents at a glance
  • View drive space at a glance
  • View Torrent file meta information
  • Built-in User management and Security
  • Private Messaging between users.
  • Themes (selectable per user)
  • Upload History
  • Detailed User Administration
  • Admin Searchable Logs
  • Advanced Torrent Search (many major sites included)
  • Cookie support at the user level for private trackers
  • Queue Manager
  • Maketorrent — supports making torrents
  • Language Support
  • Open Source (GPL)

TorrentFlux official website.

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Prakash

While looking for presentation tools, I came across PDF Cube. To use this, you need to convert your presentations into PDF. OpenOffice.org already has this feature of exporting your presentations as PDFs.

You also need to install this utility. On Ubuntu its already there in the  repository, for other Operating system you can download it.

Once your presentation is in PDF just go to terminal and type:

pdfcube filename.pdf

Replace filename.pdf with your actual file name.

Now the keys to use to see the effects during the presentation:

c : Will go to the next slide using a cube transition effect.

z : Will zoom in the center of the slide.

h : Will zoom in the top left part of the slide.

j : Will zoom in the top right part of the slide.

k : will zoom in the bottom left part of the slide.

l : will zoom in the bottom right  part of the slide.

The application is under development and expect to see more effects in the future.

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Prakash

Broadcom which until now refused to open their Wi-Fi  drivers, has released their Linux WiFi Drivers under Open Source.

This is great for Linux users, as Broadcom was one of the few chipsets for which there were no open source drivers. While you could use Windows drivers on Linux using NDIS wrapper, it had its share of problems.

This should also help Broadcom as people can improve their drivers and fix bugs as well.

Two of the other major Wi-Fi chipsets: Atheros and Intel are already WiFi. Also most of the hardware today works out of the box with Linux. As far as graphics is concerned, Intel and ATI (AMD) have both open sourced their graphic drivers well. NVIDIA has good Linux drivers, however they are proprietary. Looking forward to them opening up next.

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Prakash

98 percent of people surveyed out of a total of 75,000 users, confirm that they use Open Source. If you still fall under the 2 percent that doesn’t, please do the honours of telling us why.

In fact 48 percent says there is no reason not to use Open Source.

Reason for using Open Source:

  • Flexibility
  • Lower Cost
  • Quality
  • Ease to Deploy
  • Source Code

Read more on TechEye.

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Prakash

WordPress is scaling new heights! For those who came in late, WordPress is the best blogging platform and it open source.

You can either use their free blog service at wordpress.com or download WordPress and setup your blog on your own domain.

WordPress Vital Stats:

WordPress 2.9: 10.3 Million Downloads

WordPress 3.0: The recently released version has already reached 3 Million downloads.

Number of WordPress Plugins: 10,000

WordPress Plugins downloaded: 100 Million

Google Search results: 202 Million results

Now those are huge numbers for a software which is primarily hosted and is not a client application.

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Prakash

BtrFS is the newest filesystem for Linux. Its is likely to replace ext4 at some point of time. Ubuntu 10.10 will include this in October this year.

Here is what is interesting about it.

  • Compression on the fly. If you remember Stacker days when you could double your disk space without buying a new disk, you would know what I am talking about. BtrFS now brings on the fly compression to Linux file system.
  • Easy resizing: Today if you want to resize your partition, you have to take a backup, shutdown, use gparted and cross your fingers/prey everything works well. With BtrFS, you will be able to resize any time even when you are using the file system.
  • Snapshot backups, you can take snapshots of an existing file system when can be restored any time to go back to the same state.
  • Checksum support for protection against crashes.
  • Better performance, specially on SSD drives.

Phoronix has done a stress test by comparing Btrfs with ext4 with on this and published the results. Btrfs with compression gave best results in most tests.

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Prakash

If you want to figure out where all your bandwidth is getting used, without bothering with Networking, protocols and IP addresses try Etherape.

Etherape provides an easy to understand graph of all your network traffic in real time. This is how it works.

  • It shows all your IPs/computers on your network.
  • The more the traffic the thicker the connection gets between the IPs.
  • It uses colour codes to denote the type of traffic on your network.

You can change to different network interfaces from capture interfaces. For best results run this on your internet gateway.

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Prakash

Not sure, how many people already know or realise that most of the cellphones sold today are based on Open Source.

  • Android is the fastest growing Operating System for phones is based on Linux.
  • Nokia’s N900 platform runs Linux too.
  • Palm’s (now acquired by HP) WebOS is based on Linux too.
  • Symbian the most popular phone operating system is now Open Source.
  • iPhone is based on a BSD kernel which is also Open Source.

Is there still room for proprietary operating systems?

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Prakash


Buffalo Technology which makes good WiFi routers has decided to use open source firmware. Instead of their own firmware, they are going to be using DD-WRT instead.

DD-WRT is open source and has host of features, which are normally not found in WiFi Routers. DD-WRT also has open firmware for many other routers too. Her are some of the features:

  • VPN (PPTP, OpenVPN)
  • VLAN (tagging)
  • Virtual AP (multi-SSIDs for multi-connection and security)
  • RADIUS server
  • Hot spot support
  • Volume quotas
  • IPv6 support
  • Detailed monitoring and
  • A host of other high-end features

Way to go Buffalo! Hope to see more hardware vendors using open firmware.

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