HP keeps promise of open-source release by September
HP has held to its promise of releasing webOS as open-source ahead of its September deadline. Open webOS is available to download as a beta, comprising of over 450,000 lines of code in 54 components, all of which has been released under the Apache 2.0 license. The release provides two build environments for its use: a desktop build and an OpenEmbedded build.
Major improvements in minor upgrade for OS X users
Alternative multi-platform and multi-format media player VideoLAN Client (widely known by its initials, VLC) has updated to version 2.0.2, which despite the minor version number is a significant if not major upgrade for the long-standing open-source player and converter. Mac-specific changes includes fixes to PowerPC Macs with certain video cards, osd and menu support, and HiDPI support for Retina display and high-resolution display Macs.
Final free version still available for Lion
CoreCode, the developers of disk drive health checker SMARTReporter, released the final version of the free, open-source version and have debuted an overhauled SMARTReporter 3 with substantial new features, new system requirements, a new distribution model and a new price ($5). The program has been completely rewritten and redesigned and adds support for external disk I/O checking, hot-plugged disks, an integrated log-viewer and many other features.
Group formed by Interoperability Strategy team
Microsoft has reportedly formed a new subsidiary that will focus on open-source projects and open standards. The subsidiary, labeled Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. and formed by the company's Interoperability Strategy team, is said to be staffed by a group of 50 to 75 employees and headed by Microsoft executive Jean Paoli.
Updated Gecko engine, autocomplete
The volunteer Camino Project has released a final version of Camino 2.1, a free, open-source web browser that has been without a major update for almost exactly two years. Released just two months after the last minor update, the new version updates the Gecko rendering engine to v1.9.2 (as used by the Firefox 3.6 browser) and adds further support for web standards, a new auto-complete feature, better plug-in compatibility and more.
Project based on technology from Bug Labs
Ford has announced that it has partnered with Bug Labs to offer an open-source platform for connected vehicles. The project, which is referred to as OpenXC and based on the latter company's Bug System technology, will enable developers and accessory makers to create new software and interchangeable hardware modules that can be added to upcoming vehicles.
TwUI serves as basis of Twitter for Mac
Twitter's engineering team has introduced an open-source framework that aims to help developers build interfaces for Mac OS X. The standard, labeled TwUI, is said to take inspiration from UIKit for iOS devices, enabling developers to take advantage of GPU acceleration for interactive interfaces. The company built TwUI using Core Animation, with interaction ideas taken from AppKit.
Tool will help turn iOS apps into Mac apps quickly
The IconFactory, well-known in Mac community circles, is working on a project that it has dubbed The Chameleon Project that aims to add, on a very simple level, the ability to recompile iOS apps into full Mac apps with very few changes. Chameleon, which is an open-source project, will act as a substitute for Apple's own UIKit, changing the user interface elements of program to fit the Mac or iOS as needed. The program is a clean-room implementation of the work done by Apple on UIKit and does not use disallowed techniques or private APIs.
MeeGo gets its first formal outing
Fujitsu has introduced the first ever MeeGo-based netbook. The first release of the MeeGo open-source Linux OS geared for netbooks was delivered in May 2010 as a developer-only platform. The release of the Fujistu LifeBook MH330 marks the first the time the OS has been made available to consumers pre-installed on a shipping netbook.
Move ordered by Vladimir Putin
The Russian government is planning to transition its computer infrastructure to take advantage of free and open-source software, such as Linux. The move, which was reportedly signed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will affect a wide range of agencies and other bodies that are directly controlled by the federal government.
Cocoa-based app features connection list, editor
Mac users looking for a native PostgreSQL client for their databases now have the option of Tuples, a $30 native client for the open-source object-relational database management system that aims to reduce the complexity for new users. This new version, v1.34, makes small adjustments to the interface based on user feedback, including adding more space to the table view, changing the way table and connection properties are displayed, changes to the minimum size of the editor and several stability fixes.
Keep Java development on the Mac, says leader
An open-source Java/Swing developer and author has opened JKoala, a donation-funded project which intends to port the Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT)/Swing under Mac OS X/Cocoa and help complete OpenJDK in a timeframe that allows it to be used with Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," which is not likely have its own Java runtime or native development kit. The project is currently the only announced way to run Java in 10.7, though other solutions may emerge before Lion is expected to be released, sometime next summer.
Palm spurs open-source apps, web downloads
Palm at a special event tonight staked out its differences with Apple by making key changes to its developer program. The smartphone developer is one of the first after Google to foster open development and said it will dismiss its usual $99 app submission fee for any developer whose webOS apps are open-source. Back end data on app downloads and other sales info will also be available to all developers on request.
Apple sued over DMCA test
Apple is in the middle of a new lawsuit that could test the limits of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The lawsuit was filed jointly by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and attorneys representing OdioWorks, the company that runs Bluwiki, a technology forum website that hosted iPodhash, which discussed use of open-source iPod technology. The lawsuit comes in response to Apple's demands that the iPodhash forum be closed because it violated the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions.
OXtender beta launched
Open-Xchange is now previewing an iSync connector for its open-source groupware suite, the OXtender for Mac OS X. The beta software allows Mac users to access Open-Xchange servers and groupware e-mail, appointments, documents, contacts and tasks through standard Mac OS X applications like Mail, iCal and Address Book. Using OXtender, groupware data can be accessed and edited within OS X applications, despite the actual data being on a central server and available to users on multiple platforms.
Google Chrome browser
Google this weekend accidentaly leaked details -- via an online comic book -- on its upcoming cross-platform open-source browser: Google Chrome -- which it claims will deliver a streamlined and improved interface along with performance improvements and security enhancements; the new browser is based on both Apple's Webkit, the core of the Safari browser, and Firefox, the rapidly growing alternative browser, but will square off against Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which dominates the internet, but continues to play catch up with security flaws and compatibility. The beta version of Google Chrome, only for for PCs initially, is expected to ship on Tuesday in more than 100 countries, while Mac and Linux versions are in development.
UNIX GUI updated
Code by Kevin has announced PortAuthority 2.6, an update to its graphical user-interface software for the MacPorts command-line tool for UNIX. MacPorts is an open-source community project that uses the Mac OS X command line, X-11 and Aqua software to bring UNIX to everyday users -- by providing a GUI for users seeking a simple interface over the command line complexity of MacPorts. Utilizing an approach featuring windows, menus and icons, PortAuthority works inside the MacPorts infrastructure, allowing users to update, install and search for specific MacPorts programs.
OpenOSX Grass 6.3.0
Coinciding with its seventh birthday, OpenOSX this week released its latest version of OpenOSX Grass 6.3.0. OpenOSX Grass is based on the longstanding open-source GRASS project (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System), a geographical information system that combines 'raster, vector and geo-spacial processing engines into a unified software suite... allowing for the processing of satellite and aerial imagery into presentation graphics and maps'.
Google offers Visigami
Google's Mac Team has released Visigami, an image search application and screen-saver. The open-source application, available under Apache license, can search from three different image sources, including Google Images, Picasa, and Flickr. From within the application, users can specify any image search query and images matching the search will start animating on the screen. According to the documentation, there are multiple ways of animating the images: fan, carousel, and grid as well as a few different camera views: fixed, autopan, and mouse pan. The screen-saver uses the same settings that were setup by the application, but the team says it is easier to tweak the settings in the application than to run the screen-saver. In addition, users also have the ability to use sliders to adjust settings such as display speed and zoom.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta
The OpenOffice.org Community this week released a public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0, the open-source productivity suite for Mac OS X as well as Windows and Linux. The beta release will be the first to run on Mac OS X without X11, but is primarily designed to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of OpenOffice.org: it is not recommended for production use, according to notes on the project. Version 3.0b brings a new "Start Centre", fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar. Updated spreadsheet features include improved calculations with a new solver component; support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing; and an increase to 1024 columns per sheet.
Pooch 1.7.6 uses Open MPI
Dauger Research has released version 1.7.6 of Pooch (Parallel OperatiOn and Control Heuristic application) and Pooch Pro clustering software. The clustering technology now taps Open MPI, an open-source MPI implementation found Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and formed through a partnership between academia, research, and the industry. Pooch merges a modern graphical user interface with supercomputer-compatible parallel computing. Version 1.7.6 connects to Open MPI built into Leopard via a pair of software modules, enabling Pooch to communicate with Open MPI so its daemons can launch the MPI application. Pooch can then identify and track Open MPI's execution, which is only available in the latest Mac OS X 10.5; it is the seventh MPI implementation Pooch supports.
A new version of the DVD ripping tool, HandBrake v0.9.2, has been released. HandBrake is open-source utility that converts DVDs into the MPEG-4 format. The new release incorporates many major and exciting changes—including full support for the AppleTV Take 2 and the latest iPhone/iPod Touch firmware. This release is only compatible with Mac OS X Leopard 10.5. Also included is support for Dolby Digital 5.1 (AC3) sound in MP4 files, providing a better DVD experience on the AppleTV and in Perian. Other new features include multi-track audio support for Apple devices and iPhone-compatible anamorphic video at its full size.
Apple circumvents DTrace
Some open source developers are upset with Apple for "undermining" a key piece of open source software called DTrace in Mac OS X. Apple's introduction of a feature that allows programs like iTunes to disable tracing as well as other debugging tools is causing serious problems for open source developers, effectively rendering useless other parts of DTrace in unanticipated ways -- such as causing unrelated probes to fail while anti-tracing flags are running.