4 Quirky Open Source Efforts That You May Not Be Aware Of

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 20, 2009

 The world of open source includes many quirky and unusual applications, some of which can be quite useful. There are also many new efforts to apply open source principles to hardware designs. In this post rounding up four unusual open source implementations, you'll find an offbeat attempt to crowdsource hardware, two open source browsers that you may not use even though they offer uniquely good features, and an instant-on Linux desktop that you can only get for free for the next few weeks.

1. Presto

We've written about Splashtop and instant-on compact Linux operating systems before. If you're on a Windows PC or netbook, these can take you directly into a miniature operating system in about 15 seconds that can allow you to have access to IM, Skype, e-mail, the web and more. Presto is a free download you can get that takes you into a Xandros-based environment in seconds. Note that you can download it for free now, but as of April 13th it will cost $20. As soon as Windows starts to boot up, Presto will ask if you want to jump into it instead. If you're a mobile Windows worker and don't want to wait for a Windows boot everytime you need to do something simple like send a message, Presto could be golden, and it also could be good for older machines or netbooks, where speeds and/or boot times are hideously bad.

2. Shiira

Shiira is an open source Mac browser that many people favor for what it doesn't do rather than what it does. It has privacy features that allow you to not have cookies and your browsing history recorded if you choose. It's based on Webkit, written in Cocoa, and licensed under BSD.

3. Multimachine

 Ever heard of the MultiMachine? It's an open source machine tool. Members of the community behind it start with old automobile engine blocks and other salvaged bits. Then, anyone with reasonable mechanical skills and access to some tooling can put together their own combination lathe, mill, drill press, and more. Mike discussed it in this post, and the project's home page is here. You can find several more unusual open source hardware efforts here.

4. K-Meleon

K-Meleon is an open source browser for Windows that is also based on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine. It's lightweight enough to easily fit on any USB key, and released under the GNU General Public License.