Trusted open-source apps for Windows

Open-source apps must maintain accountability when it comes to security. They have an active community of developers and users who help discover vulnerabilities, peer-review code, and perform routine audits on a mass scale. Security holes are patched at a rate that discourages programmers from placing back-door malicious codes. Though not every open-source app is secure, the ones that are benefit from the community in a way that closed-source programs and applications can rarely duplicate.

Many of the apps listed here have been so widely distributed and scrutinized that even RSA Conference attendees trust and recommend them.


Gpg4Win is a … Read more

Alt media player VLC cut from Apple App Store

Popular media player VLC has been pulled from Apple's App Store at the request of one of the program's original developers--in a move that's caused some hard feelings in the world of open-source software.

The situation involves a conflict between the General Public License, which governs VLC and many other open-source programs, and App Store policies.

"On January 7th, Apple removed VLC media player from its application store for iDevices," Remi Denis-Courmont, one of the developers of the desktop version of VLC, wrote in a blog post picked up by the Web site of the … Read more

Tease your brain

Brainteasers can be both fun and useful, helping you develop your problem-solving skills and memory while also providing hours of addictive entertainment. Gbrainy is a basic program that contains a variety of different mental challenges, effectively helping you pass time and sharpen your mind. It's not the most attractive program we've ever seen, but it's not bad for what it is.

Gbrainy's interface is plain, especially for a game; there is a handful of colored buttons across the top, but the rest of the interface is pretty drab. User can choose between four different types of … Read more

VLC for iPhone may get pulled from App Store--by the developer

News of the weird: Remi Denis-Courmont, one of the developers of the VLC Media Player app, has apparently sent Apple a "formal notification of copyright infringement" and asked that the app be removed from the App Store.

Yes, we have apparently crossed over into Bizarro World.

In the old days, it was Apple that did the app yanking, usually for obscure or arbitrary reasons. In recent months, however, the company has lifted--or at least loosened--many of its previous restrictions. Prior to that, it's unlikely the VLC Media Player would have been allowed in the first place.

As … Read more

GPL 2 adoption falls among open-source set

The GPL version 2 has been in decline for some time, and has just dipped below a 50 percent adoption rate among open-source projects, according to new data released by Black Duck Software.

While some of this decline may be due to GPL version 3's increased adoption, at least some may derive from growing commercial interest in Apache-style licensing.

One of the best indications of this shift is Red Hat's decision to license the JBoss HornetQ project under an Apache license, rather than the Lesser General Public License, to which it had previously defaulted.

Having said that, it'… Read more

GPLv3 hits 50 percent adoption

In July 2007, version 3 of the GNU General Public License barely accounted for 164 projects. A year later, the number had climbed past 2,000 total projects. Today, as announced by Google open-source programs office manager Chris DiBona, the number of open-source projects licensed under GPLv3 is at least 56,000.

And that's just counting the projects hosted at Google Code.

In a hallway conversation with DiBona at OSCON, he told me roughly half of all projects on Google Code use the GPL and, of those, roughly half have moved to GPLv3, or 25 percent of all Google … Read more

Apache and the future of open-source licensing

If most developers contribute to open-source projects because they want to, rather than because they're forced to, why do we have the GNU General Public License?

That's the question that hit me last night as I tried to sleep in the shadow of Richard Stallman's MIT. Stallman, of course, originated the GPL, a brilliant way to turn copyright on its head in order to force software to remain open.

But in the process, did Stallman simply create an alternative way to release proprietary software?

I'm not trying to be cute here. Think about it. If you … Read more

GPL declines as open source moves to the Web

The GNU General Public License (GPL) used to dominate open-source licensing, but its hold appears to be slipping according to new research from Black Duck Software. While GPLv3 has seen a 400-percent increase in adoption, and though the GPL and its variants still claim over 65 percent of all open-source projects, Black Duck reports a 5 percent decline in GPL adoption.

This drop makes sense, given the GPL's decreasing relevance to the modern world of network-delivered software and the increasing value of data over software.

ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn points out that there are no clear replacements arising for … Read more

Stallman warns of Mono 'risk'

GNU project founder Richard Stallman has called on developers to pull back from Mono, arguing that increasing use of the open-source toolset could prompt legal action by Microsoft.

Mono is a .Net-compatible set of tools designed to allow applications based on Microsoft's C# programming language to run on platforms including Linux, BSD, Unix, Mac OS X, and Solaris. A number of popular open-source applications, such as the note application Tomboy and the photo manager F-Spot, depend on Mono to run. As a result, Linux distributions such as Debian have said they are considering including Mono in the operating system'… Read more

Beyond the iPhone: What open source means for mobile

The launch of Apple's iPhone 3G S has justifiably caught the media's attention, what with its elegant design and speedy performance. But for all the noise that Apple is making in mobile, open source--not Apple--may well be doing the most to define the future of mobile communications, as two leading open-source projects suggest.

No, I'm not talking about the Palm Pre, with its Linux-based operating system and its new open-source applications portal. Nor am I referring to Google Android.

Rather, I'm referring to the InSTEDD project, which The Economist recently highlighted, as well as GNU Radio, … Read more