5 Open Source Projects You Should Be Using Right Now – GDS01

September 12, 2014

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Opening Song: Insurgent by Grant Bowtie
Music Track: Samandhi by SaReGaMa

The G33k Dad Show! – Episode 1

5 Free and Open Source Projets You Should Be Using Right Now.

Published 9/15/14


Hey everybody. This first episode is a long one. I don’t anticipate all episodes to be this length; it will vary based on the topic.

My name is Matt and I am the Stay at Home Geek Dad in Northern California. I am 39 years old and I am a father of 3. I am a full time dad. I am the homemaker which means I do the cooking/laundry/etc.

I have some set goals for this show. I plan to release shows twice a month on a variety of topics. The overarching theme of the show will be technology and parenting. I want to develop some community around this show, to that end, I will strive for authenticity and honesty. I will share personal information about myself. I will not be sharing personal information about my kids. I will use nicknames to refer to them. Bug- Son – 12; Peanut – Daughter – 4; Bubby – Son- 2.

Some of the challenges to these goals are my crazy schedule and my wonderful wife’s crazy schedule. I also do not want this show to compromise my physical or mental health. If I need a brake, I will take one.

Ok, so today’s topic is 5 foss projects you could/should be using right now.

The 5 projects are:
1. Libre Office (http://www.libreoffice.org)
2. Web browsers like Chromium (http://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel) / Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org)
3. WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org)
4. VLC (https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html)
5. Pinta (http://www.pinta-project.com) / GIMP (http://www.gimp.org)
also Linux.

Before we dive in depth on these projects, lets take a quick overview of what free/open source software is and why it’s important

Open Source Software

The wikipedia article on Open Source software defines it as: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software)

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in >which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and >for any purpose.[1] Open-source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. >Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development…

In summary, Open Source means the code is available to the end user. If you have the programing knowledge, you can look at the source code and see exactly what is happening and how it works. This also means that the community will audit or vett the code. You can be very confident that open source software does not contain viruses or malware because the community will audit the code and raise a stink if isn’t good code.

The collective name for this software is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Or, Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS).

When we refer to this software as “free” we mean both that it is free as in freedom and also in many cases, free from monetary cost. Both of these meanings of free are important because there is cost savings in the initial purchase and in licensing. We also avoid the dreded ‘vendor lock in’ which ties your data and documents and files to a proprietary format. Because of vendor lock in, you continue to purchase the same software over and over to maintain access to the files you have created or purchesed.

This is also important because with freedom comes choice. With proprietary software, if you don’t like the way something works, you are stuck because you can’t change it. There is also a moral component to freedom. Information should be free. I do not advocate piracy or intellectual property theft; but information should be accessible.

Lastly, the open flow of information breeds innovation, while patents and other methods of locking down information stifles innovation.

So, now we have a better understanding of what foss is and why we should be using it. Lets look at our five projects we could start using right now.

Libre Office
Microsoft Office compatible
Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations, Drawing (vector/desktop publishing), Database (ala MS Access)

Browsers (chromium and firefox)
chrome is based on chromium. chrome is not open source per se
mozilla project is fully invested in open source (thunderbird and firefox)

powers this blog/podcast
very easy to work with/set up
great plugins

plays everything
available for mac, linux, windows

Photo Editing (pinta / gimp)
pinta is like ms paint, good for quick stuff
gimp is photoshop replacement, but…

(also linux)
if you think open source software is a good idea, why not try a fully open source operating system?
for new users: ubuntu, mint, elementaryOS

Wrap up

To wrap up I’d like to say:
1. Thanks: Standing on the shoulders of giants, Knightwise @knightwise.com, Daniel Messer @ cyberpunklibrarian.com, Larry Bushey @Going Linux.
2. next episode: notes and reactions to the National At Home Dads Network annual convention
3. website / show notes: g33kdad.thestrangeland.net – Website URL g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/show – Show Notes URL
4. feedback: Use the contact page on the website or send email to feedback@thestrangeland.net