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Friday Open Source Round-Up

So what's new in the world of open source apps you can really use?  Among other things, we have a new edition of OpenOffice, a Linux-based system-rescue utility, and a portable edition of an open source financial management application.  Read on ...

So what's new in the world of open source apps you can really use?  Among other things, we have a new edition of OpenOffice, a Linux-based system-rescue utility, and a portable edition of an open source financial management application.  Read on ...

First up, OpenOffice.Org has just released the 2.4 edition of its free-and-open productivity suite.  Among the new features: native support for PDF/A-1 (ISO 19905-1) export, support for Access 2007 databases, exporting to PDF from Draw and Impress that includes bookmarks, and a whole slew of other "little" goodies.  A worthy upgrade if you already have OO.o, but I'm waiting for the big 3.0, due later this year.

François Dupoux's SystemRescueCD, now an official 1.0 release, sticks a minimal Linux distribution on a CD-ROM (178 MB total) and outfits it with tons of disk-management, data-recovery, partition-imaging, and other tools.  For those with USB booting, you can throw it on a flash drive, or just customize it directly on disk.  Full NTFS read/write support is included, so you aren't limited to using this on other Linux systems.  And finally, it's available for multiple processor architectures: x86, Sparc, and PowerPC.

The PortableApps.com suite (always a favorite of mine) now has a grab-it-and-go version of GnuCash 2.2.4, an open source financial management app that's shaped up as a nice personal replacement for apps like Quicken or Microsoft Money.  The learning curve's a little steeper than those programs, but it more than makes up for it in terms of features in the long run.

Also new at PortableApps is a revamp of a program I've been using for a long time before it was reworked for the PA suite: WinDirStat, a graphical disk usage analyzer.  This is a great way to find out what's eating most of your disk space without having to dig and dig to find out.