O is for Open Source I use (and create)

Today I thought I’d go through some of the Open Source software that I regularly use. The Open Source movement is a interesting one, basically it calls for the source code of software to be released alongside the software. This allows anyone who can (or needs to) to modify the software and pass these changes back to the community thus benefiting all.

Traditionally Open Source products have been less polished then commercial software but these days, many rival or even better their commercial counterparts and Open Source software powers much of the Internet and even the mobile devices that you use everyday.

I have a few Open Source projects knocking around. Probably the most successful of these  is CsvJdbc. This project is over 13 years old (I started it on the 9th January 2001), it has been downloaded tens of thousands of times and it is included in numerous other software packages (including commercial ones). Ohloh estimates that over 7 man years of effort has gone into the project, worth almost $380000 USD. Not bad for free software. Whilst I no longer actively work on the project, others have picked up where I left off and the project still thrives.

But enough about my projects, here are a list (in no particular order) of some of the Open Source software I use:

 Notepad++ is an awesome text editor. I use this multiple times during any given day. It has a huge number of plugins and add-ons to tackle any text editing task.

I have already blogged about Blender. If you are interested in 3D modelling and animation then check it out.

Inkscape is another great piece of software. It is basically a vector image editing software, similar to Adobe Illustrator. Along similar lines, Gimp is like Photoshop. It’s user interface can be a little confusing but it is a powerful application.

VLC is a great media player and FFmpeg is a swiss-army knife for video format conversion (be warned it uses the command line).

Both Firefox and Chrome web browsers are open source too. As is Android the operating system you find on many phones.

This blog is powered by a bunch of open source software including WordPress.

As a software developer I use tens of pieces of Open Source software to do my job. Including:

  • Putty – a SSH client
  • WinSCP – A graphical SCP client
  • Jetty – A web app server
  • Python – A programming language
  • Java – A programming language
  • jQuery – A JavaScript library for creating web applications
  • AngularJS – A JavaScript framework
  • Eclipse – An integrated development environment
  • MySql – A database
  • Apache – A web server
  • PHP – A programming language
  • Ubuntu – An operating system

Etcetera, etcetera… its pretty safe to say that without Open Source I would not be able to do my job and they way we use the Internet and computers would be very very different!