Archive | August, 2009

Q&A with Community Choice Award Winner phpMyAdmin

Marc Delisle from phpMyAdmin, winner of the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards Best Tool or Utility for SysAdmins, answers our questions.

What made you choose to make your project open source?

My first work on this project started when it was already three months old, but I guess that the answer would be to simplify its distribution and to attract developers.

What does your development environment (OS, IDE, etc.) look like?

I develop mostly on Linux and most of the time don’t use an IDE.

How long did it take you to develop your project and how many people contributed to it?

phpMyAdmin has been around since 1998 and is still being developed. Literally hundreds of developers and translators have contributed to it.

How many open source projects have you worked on? What is your favorite?

This is the only one I contribute code to. It’s also my favorite; I use it a lot besides contributing to it.

Q&A with Community Choice Award Winner PortableApps

At last month’s SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards, PortableApps cleaned up, winning Best Commercial Open Source Project, Best Visual Design, Best Project, and Most Likely to Change the Way You Do Everything. Developer John T. Haller answers our questions.

What made you choose to make your project open source?

I’ve been a big fan of open source software for a long time, and have been a happy user of Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, Pidgin, Notepad++, FileZilla, and lots of other great packages. When I began working on PortableApps.com, it seemed only fair to make our portable additions open source. When I wrote the PortableApps.com Menu, I decided to open that up under the GPL too, to help the concept to grow far and wide.

What does your development environment (OS, IDE, etc.) look like?

My main development environment consists of a Windows Vista machine (quad-core, 5GB RAM, 2TB of hard drive space) with Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 2000, Ubuntu, and a few other distros running in VirtualBox virtual machines. Our menu is written in Delphi, so I use the Delphi IDE when working on that. I also use Notepad++ as my primary text editor for some of our Delphi code as well as our NSIS code. In addition, I use Microsoft Visual Studio for compiling some of our C++ stuff.

How long did it take you to develop your project and how many people contributed to it?

The project has been an ongoing work. While I wrote the initial menu in about a month, others are now contributing, and several months of work has gone into it. Our upcoming updater was written by four of us. The applications are packaged by a team of nearly two dozen developers. We have nearly four dozen translators who have helped us make our software available in as many languages.

How many open source projects have you worked on? What is your favorite?

I’ve only consistently worked on PortableApps.com. I’ve made a couple of minor bug reports and patches or icon sets for things like NSIS, Wine, Firefox, and some Drupal modules. But PortableApps.com is my favorite, because we have such a passionate and dedicated community.

Which application would you most like to include that you don’t right now?

There’s no one specific app at the moment, so we’ll go with … everything on SourceForge.net!

Saros brings distributed pair programming to Eclipse

In pair programming, two programmers share a computer and focus on different aspects of the code they create. In distributed pair programming, the two developers may work in different locations. Saros is an Eclipse plugin that connects programmers using Jabber/XMPP protocols. It features instant messaging capabilities, shared text file editing, and shared file operations – all of which, developer Christopher Oezbek says, “sets us apart from other collaborative editors such as Gobby, SubEthaEdit, or even Google Docs.”

Saros got its start in 2006 at the Freie Universität Berlin when Oezbek and his colleague Stephan Salinger sat down with student Riad Djemili to find a common research area and a master thesis for Riad. Salinger was interested in pair programming, while Oezbek wanted to research how to support open source collaboration. “And Riad was a heck of a programmer,” Oezbek says. “After six months of collaboration we had a working prototype. Today, 1,500 commits later and with another five students currently at work on the software, Saros has come a long way.”

Oezbek says in recent releases the project has polished multi-driver support, which means that two or more people can edit the same file at the same time. To try it out, users can go to Eclipse preferences -> Saros -> Enable Multi-Driver Support. The team has also increased support for various Jabber and XMPP servers; for instance, with version 9.8.21, Saros can be used with existing accounts from Google Talk and Jabber.org.

Oezbek notes that Saros is still beta software and a research project, so there are still bugs in it. Some plans for upcoming releases include better support for people who are using different platforms, different encodings, and different line endings. “We are also trying to improve our list of supported programming languages, which currently includes Java, C++ via CDT, Python via PyDev, PHP via PDT, and a couple more.” Oezbek says the project follows a three-week release schedule. The next release is scheduled for September 11.

Currently Saros is used at a German telecommunications firm to let their developers in Europe and Asia work together. If anybody else is interested in using Saros as a tool in any open source project, Oezbek says the project would love to hear about it.

The project also invites people to use and test Saros and say what they would like to see in future versions. “And bug reports are good as gold,” Oezbek says, “because they tell us about things we never thought about.” Oezbek says they can also use a help from developers who are familiar with XMPP and network coding and SWT user interfaces. To get in touch, drop a note to dpp-devel at lists.sourceforge.net.

Q&A with Community Choice Award Winner XMind

Stephen Zhu from XMind, winner of the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards Best Project for Academia category, answers our questions.

What made you choose to make your project open source?

Providing a full-featured open source version of XMind makes mind mapping more accessible to two principal groups of people: users who want to create, organize, and deliver content visually, and developers who want to incorporate and extend mind mapping functionality. In the academic world, educators use XMind as a teaching tool to present ideas, and students use it for note-taking and project creation. We also believe that having a vibrant developer community around XMind helps take it in new and interesting directions, and makes it an even stronger product.

What does your development environment (OS, IDE, etc.) look like?

Eclipse, under Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu.

How long did it take you to develop your project and how many people contributed to it?

Open source XMind is based on our commercial product, so it took us a couple of months to prepare the code and documentation for the open source release. We had about three developers working on it.

How many open source projects have you worked on? What is your favorite?

We’ve submitted some bug fixes to the Eclipse project since we’re heavy users of the IDE. We also really like Mozilla.

Just for fun: what do you hide under your bed?

We thought “Kung Fu Panda” was a fun movie that captured a slice of Chinese culture; we have a Po stuffy under the bed. Go Panda!

Q&A with Community Choice Award Winner Audacity

Dominic Mazzoni and Vaughan Johnson from Audacity, winner of the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards Best Project for Multimedia category, answer our questions.

What made you choose to make your project open source?

Dominic: I started Audacity when I was a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University. I used open source software and benefitted from it greatly as I was studying computer science, so it was only natural for me to release software I wrote as open source.

Also, as a practical matter, Audacity uses many other open source libraries for its GUI, for file I/O, for audio I/O, for effects, and more. Integrating other open source libraries has been critical to Audacity’s success, and we never could have created such a capable tool without access to all of those libraries. We do our best to contribute bug fixes and improvements to those libraries, of course.

Vaughan: Those of us who came on board after Dominic started the project believe in open source as a positive influence on society. We’re pleased that individual musicians use Audacity, but also happy about its use in many schools, public radio stations, and other beneficent applications, where people would otherwise have no ability to do audio recording and editing.

What does your development environment (OS, IDE, etc.) look like?

Dominic: One of the great things about Audacity is that it’s cross-platform and well-supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Years ago, I used to do my best to maintain all three versions, but that took an enormous amount of effort. I was very happy when other developers joined in and helped maintain some of the other ports. The first one I gave up was Windows; I continued to help debug problems on Windows occasionally but I let others take responsibility for making that port strong.

Vaughan: Because Audacity is cross-platform, developers use lots of different environments.

How long did it take you to develop your project and how many people contributed to it?

Dominic: I started working on Audacity in the fall of 1999. The 0.8 release on SourceForge.net in June 2000 was the first public version.

Vaughan: We have more than 50 developers, but there are really lots more than that, because we get lots of patches and use lots of libraries.

How many open source projects have you worked on? What is your favorite?

Vaughan: To any significant degree, only Audacity, so it’s my favorite!