Our Latest Collection of Worthwhile and Offbeat Open Source Applications
While there are lots of open source projects that are now household names, many truly good ones don't get much attention. We've delved into little-known but very useful open source projects before here on OStatic. In this post, you'll find an updated collection of interesting, free applications that you might not currently use.
Piwik, at left, is great open source web analytics software. When it comes to doing web analytics, it's beneficial to get as many views of your data as possible, so you can use Piwik in conjunction with a tool like Google Analytics or on its own.
Piwik's features are built inside plug-ins, and a community of developers contributes interesting plug-ins. It also has a very customizable interface where you can drag and drop the types of widgets you would like to keep an eye on regarding site metrics.
MediaPortal is an open source application that turns a PC/TV into a sophisticated media center and digital video recorder. One of MediaPortal's claims to fame is a rich set of extensions and skins that you can use to customize it. It also has solid documentation, and you can get into scheduling TV recordings, sampling radio offerings and more.
Gallery is an open source, web-based photo management and album organizer application available for Linux and Windows. Licensed under the GPL, Gallery makes it easy to blend photo management into a web site or blog. There is a Gallery Remote client available for it that lets you upload new sets of photos on-the-fly, and Gallery is available in over 20 languages.
Scribus is a top, free open source desktop publishing application available for Windows, Mac OS/X and Linux. It's useful for PDF creation, and has most professional publishing features found in proprietary products such as InDesign. Linux.com has a nice step-by-step tutorial up on how to create booklets with Scribus. Lisa Hoover also covered some of the best features in Scribus here.
For a well-liked, cross-platform application for playing and managing music libraries, try Songbird. It's based on open source Mozilla code. You can get it for Windows, the Mac and Linux. Like Firefox, Songbird takes advantage of extensions, such as this one for instantly getting lyrics to songs you're listening to. You can also bring your existing iTunes library into Songbird.
Blender is not only one of the best graphics programs from the open source world, it's one of the best open source applications of any kind. Widely used in the video and animation communities, it's great for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and playback. You can also use it on Windows, Mac or Linux systems. Take a look at a character in progress above.
Do you use the Firefox browser? iMacros is an incredibly powerfu Firefox extension--an application unto itself. It lets you record macros that you can play back at any time, and the process is about as easy as using a VCR. In this post, you'll find a collection of screenshots that function as a guided tour to using iMacros, including how to use Super Bookmarks--macros that sit right on your Bookmarks menu in the browser, capable of executing task-based scripts of any complexity--or elegant simplicity--you choose. Several readers have gotten this running in minutes and written in with imaginative, time-saving applications for iMacros.
The PortableApps.com Suite is a collection of pre-selected free, primarily open source applications that you can stick on a thumb drive (or a laptop) in one quick download .It includes Mozilla Firefox - Portable Edition, productivity and messaging applications, tools you can use for graphics, many utilities and more. It also runs very comfortably from a thumb drive.
Here are many of our collections of useful open source applications, and you're sure to find something of interest in them:
10 Open Source Ways to Improve Your Online Video Mojo
6 Ways to Get Much More Out of GIMP
8 Free, Open Source Tools for a Better Digital Music Experience
Over 45 Free, Essential Open Source Resources
10 Free Resources for Splashy Graphics and Slick Photos
Open Source Media Center Apps Are Growing Up
16 Free Tutorials for Top Open Source Applications
5 Resources for Digging Into Linux