Open Source You Can Use, Feb '09 Edition - InformationWeek

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2/19/2009
01:36 PM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Open Source You Can Use, Feb '09 Edition

It's been a bit since I touched on some updates to the the open source goodies I use myself and recommend to others. Here's the haul for February 2009!

It's been a bit since I touched on some updates to the the open source goodies I use myself and recommend to others. Here's the haul for February 2009!

First up: the release of OpenOffice Portable 3.01, the no-install edition of OpenOffice, now with the latest updates and bug fixes. 3.01 opens noticeably faster than previous versions -- on my machine, it opens almost as fast as AbiWord, which is saying something. I'd love to see a portable edition of the Go-OO build of OO.o, but for now this is quite nice.

Another PortableApp that's still under wraps but which caught my eye and seems stable enough for regular use is CamStudio Portable 2. Anyone who needs something that does full-motion screen capture -- whether you're compiling tutorials, documentation, or demos -- will want this. I used the H.264 codec in lossless mode to capture about 30 seconds of desktop activity at 1,024 by 768 resolution, and the end result was a spectacular-looking .AVI file that was only 1.19 MB in size. Ironically enough, it ballooned up to seven megabytes when I converted it into a .SWF file, so mileage will definitely vary. I've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with this tool, so expect to see some extremely neat things with it in the future.

I also should mention that the perennially-useful video player VLC has -- sort of -- hit its 1.0 milestone. Work on the project is on hold due to the developers' server having suffered a disk failure, but mirrored copies of the most recent 1.0 build are out there and seem to be stable. It's much faster than the 0.9x branch of the program, and long-awaited features like single-frame stepping (a major omission from an otherwise terrific app) are finally here, too. I'll drop another note when the server's back up.

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