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49 Open Source Projects in the Spotlight

Open source projects that deserve a round of applause, from the desktop to multimedia to games. Even one called "Gramps." Who names a GPL project Gramps?
Posted November 15, 2007
By

Cynthia Harvey


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Too often, open source projects labor in near obscurity. No corporate stipend, no team of publicists, no media blurbs for every new release. But the open source community is a vital source of productive creativity – truly an engine of the future.

Here’s a list of 49 open source projects that deserve a round of applause. You can peruse the full list – and for goodness sake, we think you should – or just jump to a certain area using the miracle of HTML linking:

Audio tools / Communication / Desktop enhancements

Developer tools / Education / Enterprise / Finances

Games / Graphics / Groupware / Messaging / Miscellaneous

Multimedia / Photography / Office Productivity

Audio Tools

1. Audacity
This cross-platform sound recorder and editor receives high marks for its speed and ease of use. Key features include envelope editing, mixing, and built-in effects; supported formats include WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3.

2. Linux MultiMedia Studio
Think you have what it takes to be a record producer? LMMS lets you create music on your computer, including creating loops, synthesizing and mixing sounds, arranging samples, and more.

3. Jajuk
If you have a large or scattered music collection, Jajuk is for you. This jukebox provides a lot of advanced features for users who know what they’re doing, while also being relatively intuitive.

Communication

4. Mumble
With Mumble, you can easily talk to other players while gaming, and the voices seem to come from the on-screen characters. Plus, the echo cancellation feature means you won’t get those annoying reverberation effects from your microphone picking up the sound from your speakers.

5. ePresence Interactive Media
Developed at the University of Toronto, ePresence claims to be “the world's first open source webcasting and conferencing solution.” It is designed to support conferences, online meetings, seminars, and demonstrations. Click the “Project Web Site” link from the link above to check out some of the (mostly educational) presentations created with ePresence.

6. Elastix
With final code just released November 2007, Elastix is a brand-new appliance software for Asterisk-based PBX systems. It combines a lot of the most popular Asterisk tools with a unique interface, utilities, and add-ons for a complete open-source VoIP system.

7. trixbox
Formerly known as Asterisk@home, trixbox is another VoIP solution based on the Asterisk PBX software. Ideal for home or small business users, the Web-based interface makes the software easy to set up and use.

Desktop Enhancements

8. LCARS 24
Ever wish your screen looked like those cool interfaces on Star Trek? LCARS 24 offers an alarm clock, calendar, games, maps, etc. all with look of the displays on the Enterprise. It’s probably not something you’d install on your regular computer, but you might want to use it to turn an old DOS laptop into a useful conversation piece.

9. Synergy
If you’ve got more than one computer sitting on your desk, Synergy let’s you use the same mouse and keyboard for both. It works cross-platform, so it’s great if you switch back and forth between a Linux machine and a Windows machine, or a Windows machine and a Mac, etc.

10. LXDE
Lightweight X Desktop Environment does just what the name suggests: it offers a fast desktop for Linux/Unix systems that doesn’t consume a lot of power or memory. Unlike a lot of similar projects, each of the components can be installed separately, so you can use only the pieces you want.


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