What are some cool open source projects

Selected for you: open source pearls

Jörn-Erik Burkert

Freely available tools are often ingenious helpers. This also includes tools that hardly anyone knows. We introduce you.

EnlargeTools that should not be missing on any PC.
© Photo: © ar130405 - Fotolia.com

Many well-known projects prove that free software is very powerful and useful. Part of it falls into the open source area. Here the developers not only make the executable program available for free, but they also publish the source codes. One example is the Linux operating system; such publications have been around since the 1990s.

Exactly twenty years ago the " Open Source Initiative “(OSI) founded to promote free software. For this purpose, special licenses were granted that determined the distribution of the projects. Over the past two decades, the open source market has become an indispensable part of the computer industry. During this period, the definition of free software was further developed and new licensing procedures were introduced. Well-known licenses are Gnu, Apache or BSD. They mainly differ in the distribution and use of the sources for a project. In principle, developers are allowed to use and change the source code and thus start their own projects. Depending on the license model, the new software must in turn be published with the same license and its conditions. Other specifications allow a project to be continued as a "closed source" and then to dispense with the publication of the source texts. These regulations do not affect you as a user; you can always use the software on your computer free of charge.

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With the increasing spread of Windows as a desktop operating system, more and more programmers were found to port the software from Unix / Linux to the Microsoft system. A good example is the "Opensource DVD" project with around 600 applications and 150 games on an open source basis for free use under Windows. From this we have selected 75 programs for the 20th anniversary of the Open Source Initiative. We present some of these pearls (see table below) here. The link, however, leads you directly to the download of the eight GByte open source DVD.

7-Zip: Create, edit and unzip data archives

EnlargeThe pack tool 7-Zip is the solution for quickly opening and creating archives.

The use of archives goes back to the days of floppy disks and slow internet connections. Tools combined several files or folders and compressed them into an archive. This saved storage space and simplified data transfer. 7-Zip is such a program, it is slim, has many functions and can handle numerous formats, such as ZIP, RAR, LZH or GZIP. In addition, it can show the contents of CAB files and various executable programs.

When creating new archives, you can choose between the “standard” ZIP and the special 7Z format. In addition, the software can distribute the archive over several smaller files for large amounts of data. Password protection for the archives is also on board. The program works with the procedures Cryptozip and AES-256. Our tip: Install the shell extensions for Windows Explorer. Then you have quick access to the 7-Zip functions in the file manager via the context menu of the right mouse button.

The development of open source

In the early years of the Open Source Initiative, most projects were developed for the Unix and Linux world. This trend was fueled by the emergence of the Internet. Web servers, databases or developer tools have been published as open source. Solutions such as the Apache web server, the Wordpress blog software or the MySQL database have become important tools for building offers on the web. The development is often financed through corporate sponsorship. The programmers mostly work full-time on the software; companies can use them free of charge. The open sources also allow the developer community to find and remove errors more quickly. Another plus: Missing functions are published by other programmers and are later incorporated into the projects. Open source will thus become the engine for new features in the successor versions.

Caliber: manage and convert e-books and send them to the reader

EnlargeE-books can be managed with Caliber on the computer.

Reading electronic books is one way of reading on different devices. In addition to the well-known e-book readers such as Amazon Kindle, this also works with the help of apps on smartphones and tablets.

Caliber is an administration for e-books that gives you an overview of your book collection. You can quickly find the right book using metadata such as title, author, publisher and so on. In addition, caliber can be used to add missing information to the records; this also applies to the cover images for the entries. And the integrated preview allows reading on the computer.

Caliber supports many book formats, including standards such as PDF, Epub, Mobi and Amazon Kindle. The books can be transferred directly from the software to a specific device. For this purpose, Caliber has a function for converting e-books, which converts the reading content at will, so that you are not tied to a specific reader.

All of this works in a batch process with several titles; Caliber can also create several different formats at the same time. Important: The conversion is only possible with books without copy protection. On the Internet you can find caliber extensions that cancel the rights management and enable the conversion of every file. However, the use of such plug-ins is not permitted under German law.

Finally, Caliber has additional functions for loading news and magazines from the Internet. The program automatically sends this to the defined reader so that it can be read there later without an Internet connection.

Crococryptfile: securely encrypt data and protect it from access

Confidential data should always be encrypted before being sent so that others have no access to it. This applies to emails as well as sharing in the cloud. Crococryptfile is easy to use and supports various encryption algorithms, such as AES-256, Twofish-256 or Windows Keystore. The program also offers various public key processes with GPG / OpenPGP or Windows CAPI. Here you work with a private and a public key. Since CrococryptFile is very small, it can also be used on a USB stick.

Digikam: Better order and more in the digital photo album

EnlargeOrder and overview in a picture collection can be obtained with the photo management Digicam.

Taming the flood of digital images and maintaining an overview of your own photo collection is the task of the Digikam administration program. The scope of functions includes reading in and keywording the images; this, in combination with the recording date, makes searching and cataloging easier. This gives you quick order and an overview of all recordings. The program automatically finds new added images and expands its database. In addition to the administration, there is also an editor for editing the images and a light table function for comparing motifs. Batch processing supports the user in scaling, editing and exporting multiple photos. There are also functions for creating HTML galleries and slide shows as well as sending photos via e-mail. And a generator creates a video clip from a selection of images for playback on the PC, television or mobile device, i.e. tablet or phone.

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fre: ac: Powerful audio converter to MP3 format

Music plays on practically all devices today. Many users rely on the MP3 format for uncomplicated access to their own audio library. When converting to this format, fre: ac helps. The source material can be Windows files or songs from the iTunes library; Ogg Vorbis, Bonk or Flac are also supported. The range of functions includes a CD ripper for digitizing audio data carriers. Albums or individual songs can be easily recognized and provided with the appropriate meta information so that the player correctly shows titles, artists and so on on the display.

Ganttproject: Project planning made easy for beginners

In the private sector it can be a party and in the office it can be the development of a new product. Proper planning makes it easier to solve such tasks without problems. GanttProject is a comprehensive help for project implementation. The stages are defined and the work steps assigned using a timeline. Later you can easily assign individual tasks to the people involved. The final plan can be output in various formats and forwarded to those involved. Here you have the choice between HTML, PDF or MS project. The Java runtime environment is required to use the tool.

Krita: Tool for computer graphics, photo editing and design