From Blender to FIrefox: Free Guides to Open Source Gems
Very regularly here at OStatic, we're committed to compiling documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. After all, one of the most common critcisms of open source creations is the lack of official project documentation.
One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It's an ongoing and ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software. Recently, the site has added useful documentation for some projects that may interest you, and the site also has a brand new interface. Here are details.
Blender. Blender is an integrated 3d suite for modelling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback (games). Blender has its own particular user interface, which is implemented entirely in OpenGL and designed with speed in mind. Entire animated movies have been created with Blender, and it is open source and free. Find FLOSS Manuals' guide to Blender, including how to install it for various operating systems, here.
Plumi. Plumi is a free Content Management System (CMS) designed for video-sharing, based on Plone and produced by EngageMedia. Plumi enables you to create your own video sharing site; by installing Plumi on your web server your can use a wide array of functionality to facilitate video distribution and community creation. Features include video podcasting, server-side flash/ogg transcoding and embedded playback, open content licensing, a sophisticated publishing workflow and large file uploading via FTP. You can find a compete manual on FLOSS Manuals, here.
Freedom Fone. Freedom Fone is a communications tool with origins in Zimbabwe. “While the Internet in Zimbabwe has become more accessible, it is still available only to a minority, urban-based audience,” say Freedom Fone community members. “Mobile phone usage on the other hand has grown exponentially with over 50% of the population - including many who live out in remote rural areas - currently subscribed to mobile networks.” Freedom Fone allows anyone with a phone to access or contribute information on a specific issue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A manual makes clear how it can be of use to small- and medium-sized businesses.
GIMP for Graphics. If you work with graphics, or if you want to start doing so, you may already use GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications, or you have it on your radar. GIMP is so powerful that it can be daunting for new users, and FLOSS Manuals has an excellent getting started guide available for it, here. Once you've mastered your GIMP basics, you can find even more guidance in the free online guide in Grokking the GIMP.
Firefox in a Nutshell. Floss Manuals' Firefox in a Nutshell guide is available now, and is a comprehensive guide to the one of the most popular open browsers. It covers installation, of course, but delves into intelligent use of tabs and dedicates solid coverage to installing extensions--one of the big advantages Firefox offers.
If you use another browser and have wanted to dabble in Firefox, this guide is worth getting and totally free.
Etherpad. Etherpad is a real-time collaborative editor for Linux that can be used for taking minutes during online or offline meetings, recording real-time or asynchronous text-based planning of projects, and more. It's popular as a quick-in, quick-out way to record thoughts. You can get FLOSS Manuals' free guide to it now.
Etherpad is basically a rewrite of a different but similar application called "EtherPad," with the newer version being more compact. The FLOSS Manuals guide covers how to create pads, how to chat about pads with other users, and delves into other collaboration features. Especially if you work with others on brainstorming, this little application is worth checking out.