Open Source Projects: 15 To Watch

Open source projects in various stages, from the still-incubating to the well-established.
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Within the past few years, the software movement known as “open source” has gained serious traction over its proprietary cousins. As it has taken hold of the mainstream, many of these applications – like Firefox and Thunderbird – are used everyday, without a second thought as to their origins.

But what about the apps that are headed toward center stage, yet are still under development even though they demonstrate considerable promise? Here’s a survey of some of these programs, including what they do and how they’ll affect open source as a functional alternative in the future:

1) CNR
CNR touts itself as a one-click delivery of a “standardized process for finding, evaluating, installing, and updating desktop software for the most popular Linux distributions, both Debian and RPM based.” It plans to debut in the 2nd quarter of 2007.

Without question, CNR has to be one of the most controversial software installation tools to ever come down the pike. Disliked by Linux purists because of its ability to distribute proprietary software to Linux users, this is most definitely an application to that will be making waves.

Once CNR finally releases its code into the wilds of the open source community, some serious changes will take place overnight. The two most important changes: the legal (in the US) distribution of audio/video codecs, and the first potentially successful attempt at standardizing software installation among a number of Linux distributions.

Reasons to watch this open source project: It enables more software choices, regardless of licensing, and the ability to install codecs legally without fear of violating IP rights here in the US. Also, it standardizes software installation. Designed for Linux only.

2) Kdenlive
Like proprietary non-linear video editors, Kdenlive is easy to use once you get the hang of its basic functions. Having said that, there are still a number of special effect features that would be nice to see come into play eventually. Regardless , Kdenlive is light years better in the realm of usability than some of the more mature Linux video editing options out there today.

Perhaps Kdenlive’s best feature is the simplicity of drag-n-drop video, audio and special effects. Undo any mistakes made with the utmost of ease and of course, and use a simple to follow time line that takes this software from novelty to useful. The application is a model of multi-track simplicity.

Reasons to watch this open source project: It allows true non-linear editing for home movies and video podcasting. Offers consistent feel to the layout thanks to a real time line for editing and continued signs of development progress. With a little more polish and some extra features added, this could be a viable alternative to Adobe Premiere Elements. Designed for Linux only.

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