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Open Source Software News

The Best Unknown Open Source Projects 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the foss-hipsters dept.
itwbennett writes "Carla Schroder points to an interesting trend in open source: 'The growth of large distributed projects.' OpenTox, which uses computer modeling instead of animal testing for chemical toxicity testing, and AMEE (Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine), which uses open source software and methodologies to collect, map, measure and analyze carbon dioxide data, are two such projects. 'FOSS presents a natural platform for building large distributed projects because of the low barrier to entry — open code, open standards, and freely-available robust, high-quality high-performance software,' says Schroder." What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?
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The Best Unknown Open Source Projects

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  • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @12:42PM (#36764338)
    I don't really know of any. I guess that's sort of the problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    www.projectfedena.org

  • This guys has been going since 2006, and I just heard about it yesterday.

    http://www.wikispeedia.org/

    He's trying to map all of the speed limit signs, so you can then have a database of what your current speed SHOULD be. Now, whether you obey it is another issue altogether ;) . Seems like a worthwhile endeavor. I know I have gotten a speeding ticket because I mis-took a white "speed limit" sign for a yellow "speed suggestion" sign (on a long exit ramp).

    • I don't know about your state, but in New York speed limit and suggested speed signs are not only a different color, but a different size and shape as well

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Two things. First, you might want to get checked for color-blindness :), and second, not sure looking up a database online is exactly gonna help you avoid speeding tickets. Well, maybe speeding tickets, but reckless drivings even worse. Just saying... (and yes, I know, the idea would be to tie it to some kinda app that automatically displays speed limits. AKA, a GPS, and yes, the Garmin I have displays speed limits with remarkable accuracy)
    • by shish (588640)
      Why is that a separate project to openstreetmap [openstreetmap.org]?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Definitely Linux. Though I'm sure we'll eventually see it gain some acceptance!

  • Namecoin [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    > What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?

    Carla is an example of the many good Americans who have value and go unnoticed because everyone wastes time with billionaires. And their worthless OSes.

    BTW, I'm a foreigner and critical of the US. If I say something is good on the US, move it up one notch to "excellent" level.

    Personal opinion of mine, solely.

    • Re:Carla (Score:5, Informative)

      by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:04PM (#36764592) Homepage Journal

      If there's one thing we can count on foreigners for, it's leaving out context. I am going to just go ahead and assume that the "Carla" you refer to is "Carla's Salon, Boutique and Meeting Place for the Transgender Community" and leave it at that. I am sure they thank you for your support.

      • by gilleain (1310105)

        If there's one thing we can count on foreigners for, it's leaving out context. I am going to just go ahead and assume that the "Carla" you refer to is "Carla's Salon, Boutique and Meeting Place for the Transgender Community" and leave it at that. I am sure they thank you for your support.

        ...and if there's one thing that Slashdot 'readers' can be relied on is not to read things. Not even, in this case, the first two words of the summary.

        • by Abstrackt (609015)

          If there's one thing we can count on foreigners for, it's leaving out context. I am going to just go ahead and assume that the "Carla" you refer to is "Carla's Salon, Boutique and Meeting Place for the Transgender Community" and leave it at that. I am sure they thank you for your support.

          ...and if there's one thing that Slashdot 'readers' can be relied on is not to read things. Not even, in this case, the first two words of the summary.

          I thought the one thing we could rely on Slashdot 'readers' to do was woooooosh.

      • by houghi (78078)

        I am not sure what worries me more. The fact that I googled it, or the fact that it actually excists: http://www.carlas.com/ [carlas.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because it seems certain that whatever source code that powers this site is in desperate need of re-work or just outright re-implementation.

    It is sad when a self described open source site is using such crappy, buggy, unusable software. It needs to eat its own dogfood.

    Sorry but this is the truth, slashcode needs help.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Obviouslt since slashdot is running on the code that slashdot is running on it is eating its own dogfood.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Without Classic mode I would not be visiting this site anymore.

  • I know of many but they are just too 1337 to let you loosers know about them. :)
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      I am certain one of them is not an open source spelling/grammar checker.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      å|*ÃRéN7£Ý, ¥OÜ'Rè To[] |\/|/-\|\|÷|2Êå|v|...

      " i KÑ[]w öF |v|ã|\|¥ |3|_|÷ ±H î ;Ut tóÔ 1337 ±o 137 ;ôö 1Ô$ÊR$ kÑöw ÂbÒú÷ THÊm. :)" FTFY

  • "What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?" Linux.
    • Several Linux distributions are backed by large enterprises. Google has based its flagship operating system on Linux. How much more attention do you need?
      • For one thing, the general public have never even heard of Linux. Most developed programs are never released for Linux, and it's always a surprise when large, non-opensource projects gets equal attention in both Linux and Winblows. There was no licensed dvd player for Linux for over ten years. Most games never get a Linux version. Let me know if you need more reasons...
        • That's because Linux is simply not ready for the desktop market. There are a lot of technical issues that come with Linux that most mainstream users aren't ready to deal with. I doubt your average Joe Blow is going to know how to edit conf files or understand how the permission system in Unix-like systems work or understand and interact with console outputs. It's just not as rigid and marketable as Windows 7 or Mac OSX. As such, no self-respecting company would bend over backwards to support a relatively me
  • Learning Registry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Learning Registry makes federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate into learning environments wherever they are stored -- around the country and the world. This will enable teachers, students, parents, schools, governments, corporations and non-profits to build and access better, more interconnected and personalized learning solutions needed for a 21st-century education.

    http://www.learningregistry.org

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Personally, I like what I'm seeing out of the ThinkUp project as a tool to digest social media activity.

    Also, the Ushahidi project, which is responsible for Crowdmap and Sweeper (and the upcoming SwiftMeme). Crazy powerful when used right, and awesome components that all lend to each other and enable good crisis communication, among other things.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @12:55PM (#36764492)

    What is your favorite breed of dog?

    I ask, because "What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?" has pretty much nothing to do with the actual topic - large distributed open-source projects - which apparently the submitter forgot at some point during the submission process.

    • by gilleain (1310105)

      Well, there is some vague similarity between the two mentioned (OpenTox and AMEE) in that both are 'distributed' projects. In the sense of 'using various other projects' I think. Not quite what is usually meant by distributed, really

      I know a little bit about OpenTox, as I am a developer in the CDK, which is one of the projects it uses. I;m not sure which others it does...

    • My 2 favorite dogs are ones that have not been victims of animal cruelty and dogs that appreciate people not destroying the atmosphere with CO2.
    • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:13PM (#36764714)

      What is your favorite breed of dog?

      You know, in many other forums, nobody would see any problem with asking the group "What is your favorite breed of dog?"

      • by gilleain (1310105) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:19PM (#36764780)

        What is your favorite breed of dog?

        You know, in many other forums, nobody would see any problem with asking the group "What is your favorite breed of dog?"

        Yes, but those same people react oddly when you ask them obvious questions like "What is your favourite integrated development environment?" or "What processor do you think is best?". Those people are weird.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by whoop (194)

          Because, clearly, those questions have definite answers. Vi and AMD! Anyone that says otherwise is just a fanboy and cannot be taken seriously in this deep discussion.

        • by lennier (44736)

          "What is your favourite integrated development environment?"

          A Rotweiller-Labradoodle cross.

    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:23PM (#36764798) Journal

      Favorite Dog: Lady Gaga
      Second Favorite: Dog the Bounty Hunter.

      Least favorite Dog : Windows ME

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I ask, because "What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?" has pretty much nothing to do with the actual topic - large distributed open-source projects - which apparently the submitter forgot at some point during the submission process.

      No, it was Soulskill, the Slashdot editor, who added "What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?" below the submitter's entirely unrelated text.

  • 1. Make a distributed network (like the old Stanford@Home)

    2. Allow the installing user to either let the network decide the best use for his extra processing power or let him select distributed projects...

    3. Have the machine perform auto-updates automatically, and if there's a fault, roll back to last known good configuration automatically.

    If you have a powerful GPU, you'd get weighted towards distributed projects that could use that, for instance. Don't want your CPU% over 15%? Specify that in the client,

  • Digikam & Gwenview (Score:5, Informative)

    by reldruH (956292) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:00PM (#36764558) Journal
    Two awesome photo management apps that fit almost any workflow with a very clean, intuitive interface. Gwenview [sourceforge.net] is a lighter program that's very easy to use and Digikam [digikam.org] is a more professional one with some very advanced features.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone who finds Digikam useful, should check out Darktable [sourceforge.net]. It is still a fairly young application, but has already come a long way in terms of features and usability.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As professional photographer, I must say digiKam gets too little notice among photographers as people would like to try out Linux but every LiveCD what they try they turn back because photomanagement is so difficult with apps what comes installed.

      And must say, digiKam is not preinstalled any of the most popular ones so they dont even know it.

      DigiKam is so far only photomanagement application what can be ran on Windows, Mac OS X and any mainstream Linux distribution.

      I use it in home as only one and in studio

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      Given that's included with Kubuntu, I doubt it's completely unknown...
      Alternatively, many programs in the KDE suite are pretty functional with well designed interfaces and not very well known...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:06PM (#36764632)

    Open-source ClearCase-like revision control and configuration management. Completely automatic dependency detection for any kind of build or tool, site-wide caching (for any kind of tool), O(1) checkouts/checkins, etc. Been around forever; was easily doing all of these things 10 years ago--nobody knows it exists.

    www.vestasys.org

    • by Brannon (221550)

      No mod points, sorry.

    • by ZorroXXX (610877)
      Interesting. I used clearcase for over a decade on my previous job and I liked it. To me git appears as if it has its user interface slapped on as an after thought, so I am not super in love with it. I will check out this.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's progressing slowly, but the Free Charge Controller project at http://www.freechargecontroller.org has the potential to lower the cost of adopting solar technology at the consumer level.

    Chris Troutner
    thesolarpowerexpert.com

  • Here's a federal research project utilizing open source including CouchDb: http://www.couchbase.com/case-studies/learningregistry [couchbase.com]

    www.learningregistry.org

    It's an interesting example of exactly the OP's point: that low barriers to entry and ease of adoption and growth make OSS an attractive strategy for lots of work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I doubt it's unknown, but this one has saved my bacon at least twice: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The projects do have a bit of a liberal slant to them. What ever happened to OpenKillThemAllAndLetGodSortThemOut and the "CCTV Facial Recognition at Home" Initiative?

  • RTEMS Not Well Known (Score:5, Informative)

    by joelsherrill (132624) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:25PM (#36764820) Homepage
    RTEMS (http://www.rtems.org) is a 20+ year old project that most people here have never heard of. But you have seen the results of projects that use it. NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/) and Dawn (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/main/index.html) missions, ESA's Herschel (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html) and Planck (http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Planck/index.html) projects, JPL's Electra radio that circles Mars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Reconnaissance_Orbiter#Engineering_instruments). Physics labs including Stanford Linear Accelerator, Argonne, and Canadian Light Source have used RTEMS based instruments to make contributions to science. Commercial applications include engine control, building control and intercom systems, data logging, environmental monitoring, and medical devices. RTEMS is out there in the real world in lots of things which you might have used but never knew free software was there.
  • DTRules.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by paulsnx2 (453081) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:28PM (#36764858)

    An open source rules engine with a focus on flexibility, small foot print, limited dependencies (no runtime dependencies), and clear descriptions of business logic. Does not implement backtracking or forward chaining, and thus very fast, very easy to use, and relatively easy to debug... ...and very unknown.

  • by xkuehn (2202854)

    Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. No link; it's been hardly a month since I last slashdotted a Free software site. You can google it if you're serious.

    True, it doesn't do anything spectacularly useful. But it's not useless and there are few things better for testing the stability of your CPU.

  • By now is a MUST for any ebook reader owner, or people that read ebooks in general, even in their computer.

    But califying it as "unknown", well, lets say that in the line that goes from linux, vlc or php in known projects to open source projects not even known by their own authors (don't know any example, but that is part of their definition), is pretty high in the scale.

    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      Calibre is an interesting bit of software. It's code may be open source but it's user experience is one of the most locked down and formalized that I've ever seen. Makes iTunes look customizable and flexible.

  • by WillAdams (45638)

    http://www.lyx.org/ [lyx.org]

    A ``What You See is What You Mean'' document editor which uses LaTeX to typeset final output, it has a lot of other options and a nice, sensible, straight-forward interface which is everything Word's Ribbon is not.

    William

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:43PM (#36764994) Homepage

    I used to dream of setting up an office network environment based on Linux and FOSS. Only, there there was one thing missing: a proper file system. That's why I think OpenAFS [openafs.org] -- the distributed file system -- deserves more attention.

    Most *nix fans use either NFS, which is simple, but scales badly and lacks encryption, or Samba, which was designed to support Windows clients. OpenAFS, on the other hand, offers file sharing and replicated read-only content distribution, provides location independence, scalability, security, and transparent migration capabilities. Client software includes support for UNIX, Linux, MacOS X, and Windows. The code base is very stable and it has an active development and support community.

    • used it for years, but migrated away. prone to corruption, and not totally compatible with all softwares because it doesn't support all low-level io functions. The client kernel modules are also a headache and the Windoze one is unreliable. I think the idea is great, and it has some cool features, but now with other volume-management tools it is not a front-runner.

      • by FridayBob (619244)

        used it for years, but migrated away.

        What are you using now instead?

        prone to corruption, ...

        Well, I've only been using OpenAFS for a year, but so far it has treated me okay. Once, after a power outage, a number of volumes stopped replicating. I ended up having to salvage those and a number of user volumes, but no data was lost and no one seems to have noticed that anything was amiss.

        ... and not totally compatible with all softwares because it doesn't support all low-level io functions.

        Yes, I've noticed that as a result some applications have insisted on saving things in my /home/ directory instead. For a while, GoogleEarth was one of those apps, but not anymore. Other

    • Yes, in fact I would love to use it, but OpenAFS is badly broken from a user-friendliness perspective. IMO, it is a major PITA to install and maintain.

      Or perhaps I used the wrong manuals?

      • by belg4mit (152620)

        Nope, the server is a PITA, but if one already exists and you're on windows the client is simple to use. I wish were possible to setup the server in a non-apocalupse-proof manner.

  • I bumped into Elasticsearch [elasticsearch.org] the other day. It is ridiculously awesome. Best Lucene frontend I've run into
  • The Tcl/Tk programming language
    The OpenKomodo editor.

  • by Windwraith (932426) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:57PM (#36765148)

    I absolutely love to use zim (http://zim-wiki.org/) and kupfer (http://kaizer.se/wiki/kupfer/).
    The former is a local wiki/notetaking app. I find it very useful to collect stuff and write technical stuff and manage simple TODO lists. I know there are many similar apps (cherrytree) but I am most comfortable with zim.
    Kupfer is a quicksilver-like launcher that is extremely fast and uses no RAM or CPU whatsoever. Out of all the ones I tried (including Do) it's the best for my needs, and being written/expandable by python, it's easy to write a plugin for a specific task or program.
    There's also iLua (https://github.com/ilua/ilua) which is a powered Lua shell with some built-in helpers such as table serializers and such. Unfortunately it's not compatible with 5.2 (yet?).

  • Well.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by danielpublic (1920630) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @01:58PM (#36765162)

    I'd say RepRap [reprap.org]. Not that it is "unknown", but strange it is not mentioned all that often when one thinks about from that first blogpost in -05 and what have happened since. Especially these days when you can get the plasticparts (clonedel [reprap.org]), stepper motors on ebay and a small drillpress for cheaps. Not to mention tiny "one board", easy to solder through hole solutions like Sanguinololu [reprap.org].

    Passwordmaker [passwordmaker.org] generates ditto for all my internets accounts, pinpadlocks etc. Runs on whatever you throw it at, as javascript, android, crapple, N900 (Thanks George (caco3)!), as CLI. Portable to say the least, mature and of course secure to the extent of what cards you got up your sleeve [passwordmaker.org].

    I use Zim [zim-wiki.org] to organize everything these days! It's stays out of your way and doesn't complicate things. It uses textfiles as database, which is really nice as you get access to your stuff quickly through a terminal for example. Ok, sure I long for the day that it gets say a Couchdb [launchpad.net]-plugin...

    Redshift [jonls.dk] safes my eyes from getting cooked. I have yet to download that maemosandbox and compile it for my N900 though. There was a new release a few days ago btw, some new fine functions and not "just" bugfixes!

  • by molo (94384) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @02:06PM (#36765248) Journal

    One great project that it seems few people know about is Hugin [sourceforge.net], which is great for photo stitching (panoramas), perspective correction, etc.

    -molo

    • Agreed. Never heard of it until last week, when I wanted to stitch five photos together. Took a little while to figure it out but did a great job.

    • No mod points, but yes. It works really well. I've done much larger panorams than 5 photos: complete 360 ones with a not wide angle camera. It implements basically the stable state of the art in offline stitching techniques.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ekiga (www.ekiga.org) is a softphone program for VOIP communication. I'm sure several people know about it, but few have discovered its potential. In general, VOIP software gets little attention. I'm sure many know about Skype, and other similar services, but Ekiga (and the like) can be used to eliminate altogether the need for a phone landline if you already have access to the web. With Ekiga, you can call a regular phone, or pc-to-pc with a video & audio text chat in parallel.

    Since I'm at it, you shou

  • any project that isn't "How can I write something to sell more useless crap and make some business more money." Software can be like a miraculous tool. The fact that it's used mostly as a way to sell widgets to wankers on the web somewhere nauseates me daily. Microsoft is notably awful in this regard. If you're creating medical or engineering software, you don't exist for them. Not enough money.

  • Now, there might be something out there, but I'm not aware of it. I'd love to find (and support!) and open source ERP tool. When I first found Spiceworks (http://spiceworks.com/ [spiceworks.com]), I fell in love with its ease of use, feature-richness, and simplicity. I'd love to see an open source project that would do for ERP what Spiceworks has done for network monitoring/management.
  • Apache.

  • FOSS presents a natural platform for building large distributed projects because...

    No-one is hoping to make money from them.

  • Ampache, I had my music hosted in the cloud by myself and streaming to my phone before all the big companies were doing it thanks to AMPACHE [ampache.org]. My friends have access to it and they help with the rating of music. It keeps my playlist fresh.
  • nephthys [netshadow.at]!

    For share files with others, its a perfect replacement for FTP and avoiding the cloud pitfall.

    Its based in webdav with a very simple web interface to allow users to share files. It auto expires shared files, so you do dont waste space with forgotten shares.

    the git needs a few tweaks to work in a recent debian ( i will send a patch do the developer in a few days/weeks)... the .deb packages didnt worked for me

    yet this is a very simple solution and works very in windows, macox and linux

    it is almost u

    • Call me an infidel, but I'm reluctant to try Nephthys again. I tried it once and I was buried so deep I couldn't dig myself out. My computer stopped working and I had to reboot.

      Perhaps I shouldn't have tried Neith, Selkis, and Isis in that order first.
      • by higuita (129722)

        Dont hurry, nephthys protected your computer while it was dead cold... after you reboot it computer, she helped you by sharing files!

        So, you see, nephthys is a perfect software, works both when you computer is on or off!! :)

  • by cadeon (977561)

    > What open source project gets less attention than you think it deserves?

    All of them.

  • Grepmail is incredibly useful for searching mail archives.

    Dump (and restore) allow one to make backups of filesystems in ways far superior to what can be accomplished with tar.

    Etherape allows the visualization (in real time) of network traffic patterns.

    Grace is a powerful graphing and data exploration tool.

    Htmldoc allows the generation of PDF and other output formats from HTML input.

    Ntop allows one to slice-and-dice network trafffic many different ways; it's another tool that's highly useful for u

    • I use mu (mail utility) which works off a xapian database, and outputs the result into a maildir folder. It gives faster than gmail searches which work in any mail client (eg. mutt).

  • The musicians here may want to check out LMMS [sourceforge.net]. I can't believe it took me so long to take heed of it.

  • Chronomancer [google.com] (and Chronicle, which it uses) is a debugger that will let you step backwards through your code. Want to know why your app seg faulted? Step back and it'll show you where and what all the registers contained before they get overwritten. It'll let you undo memory corruption, find out what happened before you overwrote vital pieces of data, and it makes debugging problems that are insanely hard trivial.

    How it works is that Chronicle is a specialised version of valgrind which writes the result

  • The Realeyes IDS reassembles sessions and performs analysis on data streams in both directions. When a session is reported, both halves of the session are displayed in the playback window. It is a complete system that uses the PostgreSQL DB as a backend and has a Java UI. Some people have had problems building the DB, but I am happy to help. http://realeyes.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] Later . . . Jim
  • BRL-CAD [brlcad.org] is a great project with an extensive legacy that doesn't get nearly enough developer attention. With hundreds of staff years effort invested across tons of functionality, it's really the *only* open source CAD system viable for production use, yet it's still in need of devs to help improve the interface and usability.

    You'd think the massive market size of the CAD/CAM industry (estimated around $8B annual) would help, but that really just attracts LOTS of users. Thousands a month. Many understan

  • OpenMRS [openmrs.org] is pretty cool - it's an electronic medical record platform (i.e. webapp) that was made for clinics and hospitals in the 3rd world. It's interesting that they can get this kind of stuff working in Africa but the US is still having problems. It is an active project, but they don't seem to get a lot of attention and it sounds like they could use some help.

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