At least, that's the greeting I now expect to see whenever I fire up a page on SourceForge. And before you ask, no, the Wachowski brothers haven't bought the rights to the Web site. The open source software world is huge--billions of dollars huge--but trying to figure out its breadth makes me think of The Matrix. Or, at least, a construct of Matrix-like proportions.
Amazingly enough, a company called Black Duck Software has taken on the task of creating a complete and compelling picture of open source software development. And I'm not just talking about a simple Linux survey or two. Black Duck has used everything from the largest of the open-source operating systems to the smallest of massively-multiplayer frameworks to develop an epic valuation of open-source software. It's been running these numbers and scanning for projects since the company's founding in 2002, if that helps you to visualize just how deep the rabbit hole gets.
And what have they found? Enough code, representing enough cash, to create a little Matrix of your very own. Jack in, click the jump, and I'll tell you just how much that is.
You've tweaked everything else on your PC, so how about your mouse? That's right. The trusty input device that sits to the side of your keyboard needs some love too, but how many of you have thought to install applications that benefit the common features you use your mouse for? Eh? I must admit, I never considered much to tweak about the mouse's functionality. You scroll the cursor to what you want to check out and give it a click. It's a two-step process. Rinse, wash, repeat. What else could you possibly do with a mouse?
Spoiler: a lot.
I've found five amazing freeware and open-source applications that help you turbo-charge your ability to interact with your PC. Give these a whirl, and you'll increase your productivity, reduce your stress, and be just that much cooler than your peers who are stuck in the Stone Age of mouse operations. Take your final act as a generic mouse user: scroll the cursor over to "Read More," click the link, and prepare yourself for greatness.
Mmm. There really isn't a great way to start off a roundup of open-source and freeware games. We should just be able to say that: "Hey! Over here! Free games! Free, fun games for you to play! Come play them!" But that would be a dull and uninteresting way to start a feature article about free games. So with that out of the picture and all, maybe we can describe a game or two that you'll be seeing in this little roundup. A sneak preview, if you will.
First up, we have a great quasi-sequel to a zombie-killing classic. We say "quasi," because it's not really a sequel, just a graphical modification. But going from 2D to an orthogonal view adds such depth and joy to the game that we can't bear to keep it all to ourselves. Oh, and the zombie-killing. You kill a lot of undead creatures in this title. In fact, that's really your sole purpose: survival, killing, and more killing.
Second, we're taking a look at this crazy numbers-based puzzle game. It's a lot like Tetris, only instead of trying to make solid lines from falling shapes, you're tasked with matching groups of numbered blocks together. The more you use the fantastic powers of addition to combine your blocks into larger numbers, the crazier combinations you can create. If we weren't having so much fun playing this, we'd swear it was educational...
But that's enough teasing for now. Click the link and check out the five awesome, free games we're playing this week!
It's been a little while since we've done a hodgepodge roundup of awesome freeware and open-source software. So brace yourself. The following free software applications have absolutely nothing in common with each other, save for them all being free and beneficial to your geek life in some capacity. We're looking at version-tracking applications that help keep all of the different installed software on your PC as up-to-date as it can be, as well as an easy-to-use display calibration app and a whole hodgepodge of must-have PC utilities (arranged neatly via a single installer application, to note).
But that's not all! To check out all of the other helpful applications we've got our dirty little fingers on, you're just going to have to click through to the full article. That's right. In Hollywood, we would call this a "teaser." But really, these apps are useful enough that you should have already scrolled past this introductory rambling and clicked right on the "I want more! I want more!" link--even though it's actually called "read more." You get the idea.
Xbox 360? PlayStation 3? OnLive? Psh. A company you've never heard of released the first-ever Linux-based gaming console today, and if this is the route that open-source is taking to your living room... count me out. Envizions Computer Entertainment's EVO Smart Console looks like the dark offspring of a PlayStation 2 and a home-theater PC -- only, instead of a baby, a penguin popped out.
Early adopters can pick up the Linux-based console starting today, with retail units expected to ship on April 10. The system will set you back anywhere from $280 to $350, with the price shooting up to $380 after April 17. Most games for the system will come shipped on SD cards at a cost of $20, although Envizions maintains that developers will be free to set whatever price they want for their offerings.
Take a moment if you need one, because I'm about to delve into the guts of this pioneer platform. Ready? Click the link!
We wet your whistle with the wide world of audio mixing in an earlier post. But our exploits in music mash-ups (or remixes, depending on how you arrange your project) were just the tip of the audio iceberg. There's a lot more to DJing and song creation than what you'll be able to pull out of Audacity. Whether you're adept at the turntables or no better than the default iTunes DJ feature, we've tracked down a little something for everybody in this killer list of audio-related applications.
Grab some of the free or open-source software on our list and you'll be making your own musical tracks and killer live remixes faster than you can say "Lady Gaga." And yes, we know she's not a DJ. See? That's just one less hurdle to overcome in your path to complete home audio mastery. Grab some headphones--or "cans," as you might have heard them called--and let's get poppin'. Fame awaits!
Wolfenstein 3D—yes, that Wolfenstein 3D—has been a member of the open-source community since programmer and visionary John Carmack tossed the code out into the open in 1995.That’s not news.What is news is his successful attempt at converting the first-person-shooter, practically old enough to have run on punch cards, onto a next-generation mobile platform.The evil Nazis are now Apple-friendly, and you can get the iPhone version of Wolfenstein 3D for a mere $5 from Apple’s application store.
And how did he do it?Carmack didn’t just go back and start hacking into the Borland C and TASM code of the original title.In a sense, he branched his own game: turning to an open-source variant called Wolfenstein 3D Redux, Carmack used this Wolfenstein OpenGL retrofit as the graphical basis for his mobile release.
Click the jump to find out where you can get Wolfenstein 3D Classic… mobile... for free!
I just picked up a new netbook the other day. And you know what that netbook had? A lot of things, but "optical drive" wasn't on the list. So there I sat, staring at a stack of CDs all full of my most critical applications, games, and movies. Then I had a brainstorm: Rather than run down to the local electronics store to buy a lame external optical drive, I figured I would convert all of my optical media and slap it onto one of the external hard drives I have sitting around.
To do that, I turned to a suite of applications to rip, burn, encode, convert, and create all sorts of image files. It was a daunting task at first, but it sure beat shelling out for more hardware. Based on my troubles, I've come up with a list of five of the must-have applications for your CD manipulation needs. And these aren't just a list of applications for new netbook enthusiasts. These free apps have a universal appeal for anyone who's ever had to interact with their optical drive at any point. I would assume that this would make up 99% of all computer users--the one percent being anyone who just bought a new netbook without any kind of secondary system in their house. Whoops!
Click on the link and check out the five free apps for CD manipulation mayhem. Trust me, it's just that exciting.
So you've just downloaded that hip new open-source replacement for your favorite paid-for application and you're ready to crack it open and unleash all the awesome community-driven features contained inside. Well, if this application is Songbird, you might want to hold off for a moment. A recent blog post by the application's developers has revealed that the media player's iPod add-on does more than just transfer music to your device. It also has the potential to corrupt or otherwise delete music straight from your hardware device. Yikes!
Bugs are the bane of any software, but they can especially affect the open-source world in unpleasant ways. Read on to find out what we mean -- but first, unplug your iPod!
The competition between open-source projects and retail applications is a never-ending struggle. Even when two products aren't in direct competition -- like Adobe's Photoshop versus the GNU Manipulation Program -- there's still an underlying push and pull for your attention and resources. The struggle only deepens when the retail version of the two programs approaches an inexpensive or free pricing model. Open-source is an alternative, but when is it the better alternative?
Open-source software developer Patrick McKenzie wrote a post recently about the various ways retail software developers can out-develop open-source alternatives to their products. While it was geared toward the perspective of an open-source creator, he nevertheless gave some good insight as to what differentiates quality open-source projects from the muck. And a number of his points apply to some of the very applications we've recommended in our weekly freeware/open-source roundups.
Click the jump to find out how the best open-source applications get their crowns!