Author Archives: Open Source Consortium

Open Source Darwin Available for Download for Mac OS

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Darwin Mac OS

Apple is one of the most profitable and successful companies in the world today, and what most people don’t realize is that the Mac operating system is being driven by free software. These components are referred to as Darwin and comprise major parts of the operating system kernel, portions of the BSD Unix and also numerous drivers.

Apple has made these pieces of software available since their OS X 10.0 version and now they are making it available for Darwin. What’s also interesting is that Darwin isn’t the only Apple software that is open source for the company. Java for Mac is open source via a partnership with Oracle as well as the company’s newest program language, Swift. These factors show that Apple is definitely aware of the technological landscape surrounding them and they are embracing it as much as possible.*

Apple also has an open source webpage which they update routinely with source code from past releases of its OS. There is an open source reference library available, along with links to tools for developers to use when coding.

The open source code for Darwin is packed with several files including a reference library, tools, and server resources. The tradition of Apple releasing its OS code has been around for many years, and that tradition is carried on with the release of Darwin.

Apple has pushing iOS developers towards its own technologies that are created in house, versus third party technologies such as Adobe Flash; which it deems inefficient. Swift, Apples newest programming language has been made open source as well, and many other companies have adopted the same coding philosophy. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Mozilla have all released their programming languages to the public much like Apple.

Apple may also be trying to get ahead of their arch rival Microsoft by making Swift available on other operating systems. This means that Apples own open source code could be used to develop apps for competing companies like Android.

A large benefit of Apple or any other company doing this is it makes the company less susceptible to lawsuits based around programming. For example, Oracle and Google are currently in a lawsuit due to the fact that Oracle is claiming Google violated its intellectual property by creating its own Java-type programming. If the code was open source, Oracle could never make that claim.

This greatly decreases the possibility of lawsuits and developers can rest assured that the project they are working on won’t cause them to be served with legal documents in the future. Developers can instead focus on writing the best code possible and pushing the limits of the programming language beyond its ceiling.

Apple is sending a large message to the technology field by making its operating systems open source and the industry is taking notice. As previously mentioned, many other companies are beginning to do the same and a trend appears to be growing towards open source code. The benefits it presents are being realized as more and more companies adopt this mentality making the future for technology a bright one.

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How Open Source Companies Make Money

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Opensource Revenue

Ever wonder how an open source company makes money? Even if a software company offers a “free” product, they still have to generate revenue to pay their employees, keep their lights on, and stay in business, right? So how do they do it?

Many of these companies earn revenue by offering add-ons. They allow you to download and use the basic software package for free, but if you need an app for a specific task, or would like to add a widget or tool to your software package, you will have to pay for it. Many of these open source software packages limit the amount of functions available, so you are almost forced to buy these “upgrades” when you start using the software.

Another way open source companies make their money is by offering “community editions.” Essentially this is an open source software platform with no support or resources available. Support is provided by other users in the community and everyone is basically on their own. If the community is unable to resolve an issue you can get paid support from the actual software manufacturer in conjunction with other resources. This business model doesn’t necessarily gain income from upgrades, but rather from paid customer service and troubleshooting.

Companies can also release an open source product with a full suite of customer service options available in conjunction with software tools as a marketing method for their other software products. For example, if you download and use free software, and end up liking and using it a lot, there is a chance you may look to see what other software programs are available from that company. Those packages may all come with a cost, but by releasing the free program, they’ve effectively promoted their brand and stimulated sales of their other product offerings.

Open source companies may also release free software in an effort to disrupt their competition’s market. It can not only help with customer retention, but also steal customers away from other software companies that are charging users for similar software platforms.

Ultimately there are many direct and indirect ways open source companies earn money, from traditional up selling on top of their free product to increased market exposure resulting in increased sales of other products. WordPress is a perfect example of how a free service can be scalable. WordPress has an estimated website value of 4 billion, yet its platform is free. It earns revenues by offering gadgets, widgets and tools within their software platform for various prices. They also offer templates and upgradable web development packages all for different prices.

Just because a company is open source does not be it isn’t making money. It’s merely making money in a different kind of way. Traditional software companies spend time and money on development, and then release their product for a cost. Then enough people need to buy it in order to turn a profit. With open source, the actual software is just the medium in which you are selling the customer through. It’s your portal for direct access to a user who is already using your product making them more likely to buy from you when the time comes to up sell them.

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8 Top Open Source Stock Video Footage Hubs

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Animated Stock Footage

Open source video footage is often desired by web designers and videographers wanting to put their own personal touch on things. There are many sites that offer stock video footage for download which can be edited however the designer sees fit. Video backgrounds are becoming more prevalent in web design, making open source video footage more highly sought-after. Listed are several sites that offer open source videos for download in an effort to provide quality content for designers and editors alike.

  1. Coverr – Compliments of the great people at Veed.me a video production marketplace, Coverr offers professionally filmed open source stock footage that webmasters can use on their websites.
  2. Vidlery – Vidlery, which is a new open source contribution made by Animations World, a team specializing in explainer video production, offers free open source animated videos for any one who could use the footage in their videos and / or websites.
  3. Pexels Videos – is a video library that brings together open source video content from multiple sources and puts it in one place. Videos are organized by category much like Videezy, and users can search via topic.
  4. SplashBase – is an open source video directory that pulls videos from various sources such as Mazwai. Their directory is searchable and acts as a singular location to find video content from various sources.
  5. Distill – offers free HD stock videos and clips for personal and commercial use. Videos are broken down by category and they post 10 new videos every 10 days.
  6. Beachfront Be-roll – a simple library of free stock video footage and animated backgrounds. There are some video categories available to search by, but not as in-depth as other offerings.
  7. Life of Vids – focuses on videos and loops that are free of copyright restrictions. Videos can be downloaded in multiple formats and new videos are added to the collection every week.*
  8. Videezy – Is a community driven platform with a large collection of HD stock videos and b-roll footage. You can find different videos under specific groups that are compiled under such categories as beauty, music and sports.

If you are looking for stock video footage to put your own personal spin on, the aforementioned sites can provide you with what you need. Many offer HD video quality for download along with libraries of content searchable by topic and title. These open source video sites can be used as a means to acquire non-copyrighted video content for the purposes of web design or video development.

Open source video footage is becoming more prevalent due to the important role video plays in the internet when it comes to information delivery and user conversions. However, open source video is a relatively new trend taking place on the internet today.

If you are someone looking to utilize some open source video for a project you are working on, be sure to check on some of the sites listed above. The video content available should give you a good base to build off of while also allowing you to explore your editing creativity.

Open source video footage is going to become more common on the internet as time passes on, and the resources available in this field will become more prevalent as a result. Regardless, open source information is vital to the progression of our society as a whole and more emphasis should be placed on maximizing its potential instead of hindering it.

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Microsoft Joins the Open Source Movement

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Linux

Microsoft has finally realized the importance of providing an open source option to an operating system. They’ve just recently announced that they will be joining the Linux Foundation as a platinum member and that developers will eventually have the same abilities in Windows 10 as in Linux. The software giant has built a closed source software empire and it may have seemed unimaginable that Microsoft would embrace the open source movement. The company’s philosophies are continuing to evolve and change, and joining the Linux foundation is a perfect example of that.

Much of this change in mindset can be accredited to Satya Nadella’s corporate culture influence. The CEO of Microsoft has been a big proponent of open source and intends to take the company in a new direction.

Developers are being encouraged to run code and do whatever they normally do in Linux and report bugs to Microsoft so they can continue to develop their platform. It seems as though Microsoft has finally acknowledged the significance of open source operation systems and is beginning to understand the importance of developers and their role in software evolution and design.

For Apple, Alphabet (formerly Google), and now Microsoft, the magnitude of cloud services is being stressed in the modern era. These companies believe that the future of software is as a service. Apps need to be cross platform compatible and able to access cloud services.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that in becoming a member, “Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people.” Microsoft is committed to making SQL Server for Linux work and act like a native Linux application to as great of an extent as possible.

Due to Microsoft’s new strategy of cloud-first and mobile-first, open source makes perfect sense. In 2014 Microsoft made a public display of their affection for Linux and since then has been working on increasing their open source presence. Joining Linux is merely a culmination of these steps over the past several years.

Microsoft’s collaboration with Linux goes beyond code contribution; the company is now creating a level playing field for Linux. The message is now clear, it does not matter what machine you run locally, whether it’s Linux or Windows, you will have the same tools to do the job.

In conclusion it’s vital to understand the significance of this collaboration. The underlying meaning behind it is far greater than two software companies merely choosing to work together. Making software open source allows for true freedom of knowledge transfer and quicker product evolution. When developers and programmers can see the interworking of how specific software operates, it allows them offer insight on changes that may better the software. It also gives them the ability to gain ideas they may have never had in the past when doing their own development. Open source relationships like this will increase technological evolution significantly and aid in the advancement of the human race.

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Top Open Source 3D Animation Software

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Mona Lisa 3d Animation

3D animation software can typically be advanced and expensive if you have a need for it. There is also a usually long learning curve associated with deciphering how to use the software correctly. The good news is that there are some advanced open source options available that allow you to practice on a platform without any cost. Listed below are some of the best free 3D animation software packages available on the internet today.

  • Blender – This free platform is available for all major operating systems and can perform the most serious of 3D animation. It is now considered the largest open source program for 3D creation and its capabilities are limitless. Everything from rendering, animation, modeling and texturing can be done with Blender.
  • Sculptris – A great software that can be used for 3D sculpting. A user can hone their sculpting skills on this before graduating to a more advanced program like Blender that does full-blown animation.
  • Daz Studio – Normally retails for $249.00 but is now available for free download. The software gives to ability to do 3D animation and sculpting, while allowing users to explore their imagination in reference to virtual people, vehicles, animals and environments. It is not known how long this software will be available for free so take advantage while you can!
  • Vue 11 – is landscape design software that allows you to create 3D renderings. The software is free but any saved renderings will be watermarked. The purpose of this free trial is to get a user interested enough to upgrade to one of their paid versions.
  • Houdini Apprentice – Houdini is typically a paid 3D software animation and effects tool, however the makers of the program decided to offer an open source version as well. The open source version is exclusively for non-commercial use and learning purposes. If you intend to use the software for commercial purposes you will need to invest in the paid version.

3D animation software can be extremely expensive, with costs ranging from monthly membership fees to outright purchase prices equaling thousands of dollars. One reason why open source 3D animation software is so important is that paid versions tend to be quite expensive. Usually these kinds of software are extremely advanced and took years to develop, which increases their cost. Before making an investment of that magnitude, download some open source options and see if they meet your needs.

With advanced open source 3D animation software like Blender available, you may find that you never need to buy animation software in the first place. Thus you can focus your energy and effort into creating amazing artwork and animation rather than on the cost of the software.

The great thing about open source tools is that they allow anyone to try multiple products for free, and at the same time. You can put these programs through rigorous testing to see if they will provide the capabilities you will need out of your 3D animation software. If not, you can download a different open source option, or chose to upgrade to a paid version. However, you do not have the financial commitment up front, which should help address any concerns as to whether the software is right for you.

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How to use Linux on a Flash Drive

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Flash Drive

If you are going to run Linux off of your flash drive you need to make sure it’s done correctly. There are several options in which you can utilize a flash drive to carry Linux around with you if you needed to. Nothing like having a full blown operating system in your back pocket when you need it!

Make sure you enable persistent data if you are an Ubuntu user. It will let you write a compact ISO file to boot from while giving you the ability to keep your extra installed applications and saved documents. This is also good if you utilize a large amount of systems with the USB drive because the live environment will detect what hardware is available every time it boots.

If you want, you can write a live ISO to the USB, just make sure the USB is appropriately sized for the data. Once that’s done you can use Linux from any computer that allows booting from USB media and there are also tools that can do this for you if you need assistance.

Be warned that if you do this, none of your data will be saved once you shut down the computer because with a live environment, your data is temporarily kept in RAM and not written on the USB drive or computer’s hard drive. As a result, none if it is saved when the system turns off.

This method is not recommended if you want a full Linux environment in your pocket, but it can come in handy as a means to provide security around the information you are using and sharing, knowing nothing is being saved. Financial information, classified information, etc could benefit from something like this.

Lastly, you can always do a full install to your USB. This method lets you literally put the whole Linux system in your pocket. The advantage to this being that you have your own operating system set up the way you want it with you wherever you go. It can be installed and used in any computer you come across or serve as a backup should one be needed due to a computer crash or malfunction.

The thing you will want to keep in mind with this type of USB installation is that you are going to need a USB capable of a large amount of storage. Also, since the system thinks the OS is installed normally, it will make changes to drivers and hardware you’re currently working with. This is predominantly a concern when using proprietary drivers. It’s recommended you don’t use them in this scenario as it can cause some issues with the Linux OS.

In conclusion it’s quite easy to use Linux on a flash drive if you see fit; you will just need to make sure it’s installed properly on the drive via one of the methods mentioned above. Make sure you know which method you used, and the limitations of it, so you don’t end up losing data or messing up a computer by accident. If you do this you won’t have any problems using Linux as a portable OS.

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Top Open Source Video Converters

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Handbrake

With video’s increasing presence on the internet more and more people are looking for recording and editing options for their media. One issue is that depending on your operating system or camera type, your video may be recorded in 1 of several different formats. As a result, you may need to convert this video in a specific format if you choose to upload it o a website, view it on your computer, or edit it with your editing software. To help you with this we’ve included a list of several open source video converters that will allow you to convert your video files into the type you need.

  1. MediaCoder – is an open source video converter that works with Windows operating system. You can perform batch conversions on a long list of video formats including Mp3, WMA, RealAudio, AVI, MPEG, MP4 and many more.
  2. VLC Media Player – is open source software that works on all platforms. Although it’s not an actual converter, it’s a media player that allows you to rip DVD’s and play downloaded YouTube videos without having to convert them into AVI format. It’s a very nice software that will come in handy if you work with a lot of video.
  3. Handbrake – is video converting software that is open source and works on all platforms. You can utilize it to backup your DVD files by converting them to MPEG-4 format.
  4. WinFF – is a truly free video converter available for Linux and Windows. It’s an open source and cross platform software written in Free Pascal and Lazarus.

Finding free video converters for download on the internet is not difficult. There are literally a plethora of options available for anyone who needs them. Open source versions are a bit more rare and harder to come across. Although many of the video converters on the market are free, they do not make their code open source.

Open source programs are becoming more prevalent as technology and the internet continues to evolve. Proprietary code is beginning to look like it’s the way of the past whereas open source appears to be the way of the future. More and more companies are going to have to embrace the open source movement if they intend to stay competitive in the current software development landscape.

With big software developers such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google beginning to make code open source, the smaller software and niche providers will need to do the same to keep up with the market. They will need to focus on providing more value and look to other ways to generate revenue versus the traditional way of merely developing a video converting software and selling it.

If you are looking for an open source video converter, start with the options above and see if they meet your needs. The good news about open source programs is that if you are a developer and don’t like the way they work, you can always take it upon yourself to change it and give it whatever capabilities you see fit.

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U.S Government Launches Code.gov

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code.gov

Code.gov is a website launched by The White House that shares open-source projects being used and developed by the U.S. Government. The White House is hoping to improve access to government software and is promoting the sharing and use of its open source software across various government agencies.

The launch comes several months after The White House’s new Federal Source Code policy. This policy states that the government agencies must “make custom-developed code available for Government-wide reuse and make their code inventories discoverable,” with certain exceptions. The website already has code from more than ten departments such as agriculture, energy, labor, NASA, and so on.

The Code.gov website has a simple streamlined look and all of the code is searchable by department. You are able to navigate the site without difficulty and the code is easily accessible. The website is user friendly and easy to use.

The purpose of this is to aid in the U.S. Government’s efficiency and help identify if any duplicated effort is taking place. The departmental cooperation will also lower the government’s spending on specialized code which the government currently spends over $6 billion a year on.

Since the source code is available, regular developers can also look at the code and make changes or use it however they see fit. In this scenario, you are essentially getting collaboration between the U.S. Government and the public in an effort to make the code as proficient as possible. There are also opportunities for major breakthroughs to take place given the combined contribution from the people.

This is unquestionably a more modern move for The White House and a decision that will most definitely affect our futures, whether people recognize it or not. With the advancement in technology and speed in which it develops, the use of code is becoming more prevalent in every aspect of our lives. From the cars we drive, to the phones we use, to the homes we live in. As more code becomes open source we are creating greater opportunity for our society to flourish in the 21st century.

The U.S. Government is obviously trying to set an example with the implementation of this policy. Freedom of Speech is the first amendment the government was built upon and now that mindset is being applied to code. The outcome from this can be speculated in a number of ways; however the potential positives could be huge. As long as the government is mindful about the types of codes they chose to release and make open-source, there should be no harm in the sharing of this information. It will only aid to the development and progression of the U.S. Government.

More projects like code.gov need to continue to take place in order for the United States to continue thriving. Technology is in the driver’s seat right now and the government needs to show that it’s embracing that progression and adapting to it. Hopefully this policy will spark similar policies and projects, putting the United States at the forefront of modern day government and culture.

 

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Open Source Film Projects Releasing Animated Films

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Big Buck Bunny

An open source film project is a movie that enables the viewer to edit the film as they’d like. They provide a more interactive user experience in which users can edit production materials and change any facet of the film. These projects allow for free floating creativity by anyone who chooses to take part in the film editing. Viewers will often take animated open source films and let their imaginations run wild. Some examples of these film types can be seen below.

  • Sintel – Sintel is one of three short animated films that comprise a story about a girl named Sintel who is searching for her dragon friend “Scales.” All 12GB of production files are available on a 4 DVD package.* Any film editor can download this movie file and edit it how they please, showing a true form of self-expression and collaboration.
  • Sita Sings the Blues – This is an 80 minute feature film that deals with the renowned Indian Sanskrit epic, The Ramayana. This movie was created by a single person and is available as an open source film project.*
  • Big Buck Bunny – A story about three animals that enjoy poking fun at other jungle animals. The main character is Big Buck Bunny and he doesn’t appreciate being made fun of by these three animals.*

Many of these films are created with software called Blender, which is a free and open source 3D creation suite. It’s capable of performing any 3D film animation one can imagine, including simulation, rendering, motion tracking, rigging, modeling, etc. Blender’s newest project Cosmos Laundromat is a 10 minute short film which is the pilot for the planned first-ever free and open source animated feature film.**

  • Elephants Dream – Sintel, Big Buck Bunny and Elephants dream are all products of Blender. Elephants dream is a 10 minute film about “complexities of a machine and how the characters deal with the complexity.”*

With open source animated film projects becoming more relevant, more and more film editors will continue to explore their artistic expression by editing these movies as they see fit. Everything from altered endings, to ridiculous animation insertion can all take place. Literally, there are no limits, which present an attractive opening and opportunity for one to show their film editing abilities.

There is also a bigger message being sent via these video types, one of freedom of speech and expression. Allowing individuals to exchange information freely and doing what they want with it. Working together in this manner, especially when it comes to personal expression and art has never been a common activity. Open source video projects aim to breakdown any preconceived notions in reference to individual artistic expression and provide a new way to look at things.

If you’d like to play around with open source video editing, these are some great movies to get started with. Enjoy the creative process and learn everything you can from it. Open source projects like this are still rare but go on to show one of the best qualities of the human condition; sharing and collaboration.

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List of Top Open Source Options For Microsoft Office

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AOO - Apache Open Office

Microsoft Office is without a doubt the industry standard when it comes to word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database management and email and desktop publishing. Regardless, there are open source alternatives available that may interest business owners, developers and users alike. Some people prefer Linux over Windows or Mac OS and everyone has their own individual tastes and standards when it comes to their computer setup and use.

Open source software has come a long way and continues to pave the way for software developers. Just because you didn’t pay for it doesn’t mean the software doesn’t contain a lot of features and support. Many of the open source options available provide just as good, if not better, tools and applications.

Below we take a look at several open source alternatives to Microsoft Office for anyone whom is interested.

  • Apache OpenOffice – This is a free open source office software suite. You can do word processing with it, spreadsheets, presentations and so on. The cool thing about it is that you can save documents in their own format or save your work in Microsoft Word format. The software also allows you to read Microsoft Word documents, so even though you are using different software you are not losing any compatibility with other people who might be sending you files via Microsoft Word. The latest version works on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
  • LibreOffice – This software was developed by The Document Foundation. It boasts the same six applications that Apache does but its versions are different in terms of features available within the applications. LibreOffice is also considered to be more actively developed then Apache so it is evolving more quickly. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
  • NeoOffice – NeoOffice is an application for Mac OS only. It was developed with the Mac user in mind and contains features that would be considered more important to their users. It contains a Mac-like installation process and integrates with the Mac OS interface. It also allows for the use of Mac OS fonts and printing services. Support is available for the software for a fee.
  • KOffice – Koffice keeps it simple by offering an office suite with three tools; a spreadsheet, word processor and presentation application. It is open source and available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

If you are looking for an open source alternative to Microsoft Office, try the options above. Many of them appear to have the same functionality as the programs available in the typical Microsoft Office suite, but allow for open source development. Because of this, the programs offer various options that are not available with Microsoft Office and will continue to develop as a result of users contributions.

Microsoft Office will need to be careful and keep an eye on these competitors as they have the ability to evolve very rapidly due to their open source nature. If Microsoft isn’t careful, one of these open source options can take over as the “go-to” solution for office software.

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