Decoding SourceForge's Open Source "World Changing" Finalists: Page 3

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PortableApps.com – There is something liberating about the ability to simply take all of your favorite applications with you on a USB flash drive or other removable media. This is especially true for those who are wary of bringing their notebook computers with them into unknown situations where access to their most commonly used applications would suffice.

This is where PortableApps.com has managed to take the very best open source software has to offer and make it available to those who would rather leave their computer at home. The idea of being able to take your software and the corresponding settings with you onto other PCs is a powerful one. And tying this in with the fact that the entire concept is open source makes it all the better.

How PortableApps.com is most likely to change the world?

Because of the obvious cost of owning a second portable PC or even the hassle involved with toting one around, simpler access to popular open source applications is a good thing. Giving users the option of taking their browser, email client and other open source software with them on a removable storage device can only serve to further the open source cause. Having half a dozen applications running off an USB Flash drive is certainly a conversation starter, which can lead to others trying it out for themselves. And this leads to a real growth in open source adoption.

ReactOS – The idea behind ReactOS is a radically simple one. An open source alternative to Windows without relying on Linux or any of the BSDs.

Designed to replace rather than provide an alternative for Windows, ReactOS has proven that it is working to develop its base for the long haul. Faster than most other operating systems out there, to some it feels reminiscent of OS/2 rather than more modern operating systems, due to GUI and number of applications at this stage in its development. Despite any perceived challenges, its developers have maintained the belief that by providing computers users with an open source option that does not require a Unix-like approach to the modern operating systems, adoption will eventually take care of itself.

How ReactOS is most likely to change the world?

ReactOS is all about ensuring the user has access to advanced functionality without resorting to a command line to enjoy it. This is an area that, according to ReactOS developers, Linux and other Unix flavors are missing, thus leaving many users in the cold. Some even believe that if enough development time went into this OS, it could become the Vista alternative many XP users have been asking for. Secure, fluff-free and stable.

Ubuntu – Even if you’re not using this distribution of Linux, chances are you have seen news about it a multitude of times over the course of the past couple of years. Ubuntu Linux has in many respects changed the way we perceive the Linux operating system. This single distribution has done the impossible by appeasing many hardcore Linux enthusiasts, while also opening the door for closed source applications looking to get their products into software repositories provided by Ubuntu itself.

Using both a straight forward implementation of the GNOME desktop along with some amazing work with grass roots marketing campaigns, Ubuntu has quickly overtaken the popularity of any other Linux distribution to date.

How Ubuntu is most likely to change the world?

In simplest terms, Ubuntu has begun to make desktop Linux accessible to those Windows converts looking for an alternative to OS X. By offering a consistent interface and experience, a virtual sea of new users are willing to try Ubuntu Linux for the first time.

Providing a way for casual users to install and use an operating system free of cost, free of product keys and free of corporate oversight is, in my opinion, incredibly significant.

XBMC media center – Having a media jukebox accessible on just about any platform is a powerful concept in and of itself. XBMC certainly fits this ideal. Enabling its users to enjoy video and music from one's Xbox, PC or Mac – even if the content being enjoyed is stored elsewhere – is a major shift from relying on store bought solutions.

Using XBMC allows the end user to have a ready-to-roll media center option without being forced to spend large amounts of cash for something that might not even begin to offer nearly as much functionality. These features include Karaoke and iTunes support, along with a simple to use GUI that provides users with a jukebox that is intuitive and powerful to use, with extensions for additional features.

How XBMC is most likely to change the world?

Giving the end user a choice of functionality – along with the hardware enclosure to enjoy the functionality on – is a powerful position to be in. By providing the back-end means of creating a home jukebox, without limiting the user to hardware that might otherwise be out of reach, translates into adoption where it otherwise might have been cost prohibitive.

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Tags: open source, browsers, software, Mozilla, SourceForge

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