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.