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“Community Choice” Project of the Month Vote – July 2015

The vote for July 2015 Community Choice SourceForge Project of the Month is now available, and will run until June 15, 2015 12:00 UTC.

Octave Forge
Octave-Forge is a central location for the collaborative development of packages for GNU Octave. The Octave-Forge packages expand Octave’s core functionality by providing field specific features via Octave’s package system. For example, image and signal processing, fuzzy logic, instrument control, and statistics packages are examples of individual Octave-Forge packages.
[ Download Octave Forge ]

 

Smoothwall
Smoothwall is a best-of-breed Internet firewall/router, designed to run on commodity hardware and to provide an easy-to-use administration interface to those using it. Built using open source and Free software, it’s distributed under the GNU Public License.
[ Download Smoothwall ]



Robolinux

Robolinux is very pleased to make two announcements as of May 1st, 2015:
1) We released the new Robolinux V7.9.1, “Apex X12 Privacy & Security!” Invisible Internet project (I2P), plus many more upgrades!
2) We are introducing “The Robolinux Open Source Software Foundation”, which is a ground breaking game changer for Linux Desktop Users and Linux Desktop Software Developers.
[ Download Robolinux ]


NAS4Free

NAS4Free is an embedded Open Source Storage distribution and supports sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems. It includes ZFS, Software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T / email reports etc. with following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI, UPnP, Bittorent (initiator and target), Bridge, CARP (Common Address Redundancy Protocol) and HAST (Highly Available Storage). All this can easy be setup by it’s highly configurable Web interface. NAS4Free can be installed on Compact Flash/USB/SSD media, Hard disk or booted of from a LiveCD with a usb stick.
[ Download NAS4Free ]



NamelessROM

NamelessRom is opportunity; an opportunity to have a voice to the development team of the after-market firmware that you run on your device. The main goal of NamelessRom is to provide quality development for android devices, phones, and tablets alike. NamelessRom developers are available nearly 24/7 and respond to bug reports and feature requests almost instantly. This availability will allow you, the end-user, to have direct input into exactly what features and functions are included on the firmware that YOU run.
[ Download NamelessROM ]



CaesarIA (openCaesar3)

CaesarIA is an open source remake of Caesar III game released by Impressions Games in 1998, it aims to expand the possibilities of the classical city-building simulators and to add new features showing the city life. Now the game work with Windows, Linux, Mac, Haiku and Android. The original Caesar3 game is needed to play openCaesar3.
[ Download CaesarIA (openCaesar3) ]

 

gnuplot development
A famous scientific plotting package, features include 2D and 3D plotting, a huge number of output formats, interactive input or script-driven options, and a large set of scripted examples.
[ Download gnuplot development ]

 

Battle for Wesnoth
The Battle for Wesnoth is a free, turn-based tactical strategy game with a high fantasy theme, featuring both single-player and online/hotseat multiplayer combat. Fight a desperate battle to reclaim the throne of Wesnoth, or take hand in any number of other adventures.
[ Download Battle for Wesnoth ]

 

SharpDevelop
SharpDevelop is the open-source IDE for the .NET platform. Write applications in languages including C#, VB.NET, F#, IronPython and IronRuby, as well as target rich and reach: Windows Forms or WPF, as well as ASP.NET MVC and WCF. It starts from USB drives, supports read-only projects, comes with integrated unit and performance testing tools, Git, NuGet and a lot more features that make you productive as a developer.
[ Download SharpDevelop ]

May 2015, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – ConEmu

For our May “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected ConEmu, a Windows Console Emulator with Far Manager plugins. ConEmu’s main developer, Maximus, shared his thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the ConEmu project please.

Maximus: The goal of the ConEmu project is to bring to the Windows world a handy and reliable terminal application, in other words, a better console window to boost user productivity.

SF: What made you start this?

Maximus: The alternatives were either too bare, proprietary, or nearly abandoned. Anyway they did not fit my expectations or requirements so I forked the project.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?

Maximus: I hope so. Of course there is much to do yet, but ConEmu can be used on daily basis and it can greatly improve the console experience.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?

Maximus: Anyone who uses command line daily; developers and administrators are the general target audience.

SF: What is the need for this Windows console emulator with Far Manager plugins?

Maximus: ConEmu was initially created as a Far Manager companion or a kind of graphical interface for the old school but oft-used two-panel, console file manager. It’s my favorite ‘shell’ actually. ConEmu gives to Far many “nifties” like visualizing Far editors and viewers with tabs, dragging files and folders, customizing panels with background images and more. Plugins do all the magic.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using ConEmu?

Maximus: According to one user, ‘It seems like every time I think it would be nice if ConEmu did something, I’ll find that option if I search for it’. So, if you can’t find what you need, just go to the ConEmu website and check out the documentation. There are also many answers on StackOverflow.com and SuperUser.com too.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?

Maximus: We are trying to release reliable software and provide good support to our users by maintaining thorough documentation.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases help build up your community of users?

Maximus: Yes, why should a user have to wait weeks or months for a new release? We believe in good support, especially if something can be fixed or implemented in minutes and delivered to users ASAP.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?

Maximus: I think the blog-post of Scott Hanselman added much to ConEmu fame worldwide.

SF: What helped make that happen?

Maximus: At that moment ConEmu was already a neat and handy project with many practical features, so Scott noticed them and let thousands of his followers recognize this new terminal application.

SF: What was the net result for that event?

Maximus: A large augmentation in our download count! Seriously, ConEmu became much more notable and known.

SF: What is the next big thing for ConEmu?

Maximus: The project is mature enough but there are a lot of interesting suggestions waiting to be implemented and there is a RoadMap. However, if we take a moment to dream about good fortune, it would be nice to see ConEmu bundled with environments like Git or MinGW. That would be a real acknowledgement.

SF: How long do you think that will take?

Maximus: I can’t tell. We strive to make a great product but people don’t necessarily think that handy terminal is a necessity, even if they use the console environment daily. They still can’t imagine how ConEmu may improve their day-to-day productivity.

SF: What resources do you need to make that happen?

Maximus: That does not depend on ConEmu team alone, we are a live open source project available to anyone. But raising ConEmu’s popularity helps, like being the SourceForge project of the month!

SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for ConEmu?

Maximus: Well, I would start it much earlier.

SF: Why?

Maximus: With more years of development ConEmu would be more powerful now.

SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?

Maximus: There is no time machine unfortunately. 😉

SF: Is there anything else we should know?

Maximus: That’s it for now, please visit our website for more information and have a happy command line experience!

[ Download ConEmu ]

May 2015, “Staff Pick” Project of the Month – Smoothwall

For our May “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected Smoothwall Express, a Linux distribution that turns a PC (or VM) into a firewall. The Smoothwall Express team shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the Smoothwall Express project please.

Smoothwall Team: Smoothwall Express (Smoothwall) is a specialized Linux distribution that turns a spare PC (or VM) into a firewall. It features a caching Web proxy, VPN service, DHCP server, and other assorted network services. Smoothwall Express is a solid, secure firewall that is safely maintained and administered by people who are not IT experts, much less network security experts. The main goal is to be as easy to use as possible, so we don’t flood the user with features they’ll never use.

SF: What made you start this?

Smoothwall Team: Smoothwall started in 2000 when there were only a few similar projects around, these projects were extremely hard to use and nearly all of them required Linux command line knowledge. The goal of Smoothwall was to change that and present an easy to use Web interface. We also wanted the initial install and setup to be as quick and painless as possible.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?

Smoothwall Team: I’d like to think yes. Tens of thousands of people around the world use Smoothwall to protect their personal networks and their home and business offices, and there are a number of corporations who use Smoothwall; a few of them visit the online forum to obtain setup and configuration assistance. As time has gone on, people want more from their firewall, but the core vision, ease of use and setup, has remained.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?

Smoothwall Team: Anyone who wants safe and secure Internet access and who needs an easy to manage firewall will benefit from Smoothwall.

SF: What is the need for this Internet firewall?

Smoothwall Team: Watch the computer/Internet news. There are far too many break-ins reported; each is associated with the loss of personal data entrusted to the entity storing it. And look at the reports of botnets: networks of computers that Internet miscreants have commandeered for their nefarious purposes. All of these thefts could have been avoided with proper network security in place, with a proper firewall segregating sensitive internal networks from the Internet and other accessible networks.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using Smoothwall?

Smoothwall Team: Join our community and see what other extensions (mods) people have written. Download it. Install it. Configure it. Go to the community forum and ask questions. As shipped, Smoothwall is relatively basic. Members of the online community have added many installable features (we call them ‘mods’); we incorporated a few of those mods in version 3.1, carefully choosing a few that belong in a firewall. These mods add valuable functionality to the firewall for those who need it.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?

Smoothwall Team: The Web forum is the main thing here. We maintain a friendly, on-topic discussion forum where all are treated with dignity and respect. (OK, sometimes the old-timers needle each other.) Back in ’08 when Murphy (the current project director) was looking for a better firewall than those that he found in commodity devices, he checked out most of the Open Source systems and kept coming back to Smoothwall for two reasons. First, even though Smoothwall Express 3.0 was a little limited in hardware support, it was still the easiest to install and configure. Second, the online forum is by far the most friendly and helpful that he’d encountered. There are no bad mods and no dumb questions. Mods are improved and questions are clarified. And everyone benefits.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?

Smoothwall Team: More frequent updates stave off disillusionment among users. As long as their problems are taken seriously and they see that progress is being made, users will stick around. And has always been true, word of mouth is still the best advertising.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?

Smoothwall Team: In 2001 we had our first “big” release. It added many new features and really got the project noticed. The most recent big thing was turning the project direction over to Neal Murphy in 2013.

SF: What helped make that happen?

Smoothwall Team: In 2009, Murphy started work on a friendly fork of Smoothwall. He spent five years greatly improving the build system, tweaking the UI to make it easier to understand, and updating most the underlying Open Source software packages. That’s why when Murphy took the reins in 2014, we merged most of this friendly fork into Smoothwall Express.

SF: What was the net result for that event?

Smoothwall Team: People around the world began to see that ordinary people could install and maintain a firewall to protect their networks. In the second case, Smoothwall Express became much easier for almost anyone to build. Version 3.1 was released in October, 2014. We’ve release two updates since.

SF: What is the next big thing for Smoothwall?

Smoothwall Team: I think the next big thing will be to restore Smoothwall’ relevance to the network security market. Most commodity firewall/routers do what Smoothwall set out to accomplish; it’s time for Smoothwall to
lead the way into the next 15 years of network security. Most businesses need email, web, fax, video security, multimedia, and other services; some home and SOHO users need some of those services too. Today’s ‘retired’ computers often contain far more memory and CPU power than Smoothwall needs and we intend to use it. We will make it easy for people to configure and run virtual machines on top of Smoothwall Express, with one service per VM.

SF: How long do you think that will take?

Smoothwall Team: It will take at least a year and probably won’t start for at least a year. There are still many latent problems, niggling things that aren’t right, inherited from previous versions that must be fixed. We’re not here just to add features ad infinitum. Smoothwall Express is a solid running, secure firewall, but we do have to take the time to fix things that are wrong. Once done, then we can move on to major feature changes.

SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?

Smoothwall Team: Not quite yet. We’re rebuilding the development team and the team’s expertise. Over the years, updates lagged and enthusiasm for the project waned. Otherwise, SourceForge provides the central source management and product release controls. Smoothwall, Ltd. provides the server for the forum and website and some other data-related activities.

SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for Smoothwall?

Smoothwall Team: Publish the code in a public repo much sooner than we did. It took us a long time to do this.

SF: Why publish the code?

Smoothwall Team: It makes it easier for people to contribute when they can access the sources. In the early stages of Smoothwall Express, this was quite difficult.

SF: Is there anything else we should know?

Smoothwall Team: Since the initial release of Smoothwall, we are proud of the fact that it has been forked several times, and even the forks have been forked. We think that this shows the true power of Open Source and that we started something special with Smoothwall Express.

Even though it may seem like a one-man show at times, Smoothwall Express as a project and a community would fail without a dedicated core of volunteers who support users via the web forum, who maintain the forum (such as scrubbing spammers and scammers from the site), who stub their toes on and report bugs, who fix bugs, who write and proofread documentation, and even the cheerleaders who convince us to continue even when problems seem insurmountable.

Smoothwall is much more than a distributed ISO image; it’s also a group of people who want only to improve Smoothwall Express so new users don’t face the same old problems and few new ones.

[ Download Smoothwall ]

April 2015, “Staff Pick” Project of the Month – GNS3

For our April “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected GNS3, a graphical network simulator that allows you to design complex network topologies. The GNS3 team shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the GNS3 project please.

GNS3 Team: GNS3 is a network emulation platform used to build and test multi-vendor computer networks.

SF: What made you start this?

GNS3 Team: Jeremy, the creator and CTO, initially came up with the idea for his university thesis project. He wanted a platform that he could use to easily train for his certifications but could not find one. So he created it himself.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?

GNS3 Team: Yes, and even more so. It started as a simple training tool and now is being used to build networks for Fortune 500 companies.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?

GNS3 Team: Network professionals, and soon-to-be network professionals, who want a better way to build and test computer networks.

SF: What is the need for this graphical network simulator?

GNS3 Team: Building networks is an expensive and laborious task. GNS3 reduces costs by 90% and decreases time to working production by over 30%.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Go to The Jungle and learn from the GNS3 experts. Get your hands on some labs, read the documentation, and start playing around with the software.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?

GNS3 Team: In order:

  1. Create great software.
  2. Provide a place for users to connect and share information.
  3. Use community feedback given to build even better software.
  4. Repeat.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?

GNS3 Team: We have done more releases in the past 12 months than we have done in the previous 6 years. Quality releases are better than the quantity of releases. But being quick at fixing bugs is crucial.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?

GNS3 Team: In 2011 things started really taking off and, honestly, we have no idea why. The best thing that has happened was big network vendors like Huawei, Cisco, HP, and Juniper started releasing their own products like GNS3. This put more technology out into the environment and allowed us to integrate systems that we couldn’t before. As these big companies innovate, we are able to integrate and expand our software offering.

SF: What helped make that happen?

GNS3 Team: Seeing the success of GNS3 made these big companies take notice and want their own. Also, their customers are using the GNS3 software and were requesting their own.

SF: What was the net result for that event?

GNS3 Team: GNS3 is the sum of all those parts created by other vendors because we have the ability to integrate their systems into our platform.

SF: What is the next big thing for GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Taking the existing platform and expanding it into an all-in-one VM, to “Take it anywhere, put it anywhere, use it anywhere”.

SF: How long do you think that will take?

GNS3 Team: Work has already begun and we have working prototypes. Within the year it should be released.

SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?

GNS3 Team: Yes, along with major partnerships to help back it.

SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Taken it seriously at the start. It wasn’t until 2014 that we knew there was something special about the software and community. If we had started taking it seriously back in 2011, who knows where we would be now.

SF: Why?

GNS3 Team: That is when things started to really take off for GNS3 in terms of usage.

SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?

GNS3 Team: We can. We have a full time team of developers and a support infrastructure. We’re pushing this project very hard!

SF: Is there anything else we should know?

GNS3 Team: For more info, check out our website.

[ Download GNS3 ]

April 2015, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – Simutrans

For our April “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected Simutrans, a cross-platform simulation game. The Simutrans team shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the Simutrans project please.

Simutrans Team: Simutrans is a game about transporting stuff. You are in control of a transport company and have to satisfy demands for transport from cities and factories. Compared to all other similar games, Simutrans probably has the most sophisticated simulation (i.e. passengers decide on their destination before traveling and factories only produce when they have enough resources).

The Simutrans engine is very flexible and can be customized with different graphics and varying levels of economic challenges. Because we use isometric sprites, it is very easy to have your favorite item running in a simulation. Simutrans is focused on performance but with as much flexibility or “configurability” as possible. We always listen to our community, especially our graphic artists, about how to provide a better experience and improve graphic options. We also have a dedicated community fork that we call Simutrans Experimental, it’s a kind of extended version that offers many more options for controlling your company vehicles and resources, but our standard version offers the best performance.

Simutrans does not have a definitive leader but Markus Prissendorf (prissi) is the acting leader, due to his long term contributions and knowledge of our code base. There are several other folks that have a major say on what is included in Simutrans but we are actually quite democratic; if either the coding team or the community show big support for something it gets included. The only things that may stop inclusion in the code is either poor performance or bad coding.

SF: What made you start this?

Simutrans Team: In 1997 the original creator of Simutrans, Hansjörg Malthaner (hajo), who is no longer with us, wanted to learn Object Oriented Design and Programming in C++ by creating a new version transportation simulator because he was displeased with some aspects of Transport Tycoon, especially the AI. Usability for other users was not a goal while he learned OOD & OOP, as it was a private project, but this changed when he decided to let some friends enjoy Simutrans.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?

Simutrans Team: Yes, for quite some time already. Until about 2005 it was the only free and continuously improved transport game. At the beginning Simutrans only had trains, cars, and ships but now it has almost any transportation type. Because Simutrans predated things like the Standard template library, it has its own OOP templates for most stuff.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?

Simutrans Team: Anyone who is not in a hurry because there are several creative ways people play Simutrans. The standard way to play is with a transportation simulator, which requires that you build a company and deliver things around the map to win money. However, there is also sandbox gaming for people who just like to deliver things and build scenery. You can play alone or together with others via servers. Also, there are people who like to contribute artistically. In Simutrans it is very easy to add you own object (car, house, tree, plane) and share it. People like to contribute to Simutrans in more ways than one because some people’s passions are more in line with coding or drawing than gaming, and they simply enjoy seeing their graphics or code running in Simutrans.

SF: What is the need for this cross-platform, transportation simulation game?

Simutrans Team: Simutrans is cross platform ( we have been since 1997, including Beos) so the code is highly portable. Simutrans has a graphics library (SDL or Allegro) and a C++ compiler, including AmigaOS and many more. The simulation does not force player’ behavior and we do not force players to use a certain platform either.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using Simutrans?

Simutrans Team: Curiosity. You can read the in-game help files by pressing F1 or clicking on the question marks. If you have ever been fascinated by a steam engine, a plane, or train, then Simutrans is for you, that may be why 90% of our community is male.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?

Simutrans Team: We listen to our community politely and we reward long term contributions by a “devotee group”, as a kind of special honor. We are always electing new devotees by holding elections that are voted on by other devotees.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?

Simutrans Team:  A huge part of our active community use our nightly builds because they are so stable; yet, it’s worth mentioning that our community existed long before we went Open Source in 2006.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?

Simutrans Team: At the end of 2004, Hajo (the original developer) retired while the project was still closed source but, by 2006, prissi took over and made Simutrans Open Source (nearly 11 years ago!). This really helped, along with some new graphic sets!

SF: What helped make that happen?

Simutrans Team: In hindsight going Open Source  (i.e. convincing the founder to agree to Open Source).

SF: What was the net result of that event?

Simutrans Team: Lots of growth in the many different directions, like new park sets, new features, nightly builds, etc.

SF: What is the next big thing for Simutrans?

Simutrans Team: Simutrans is quite mature. But we get a lot of requests to to go 3D.

SF: How long do you think that will take?

Simutrans Team: Hard to say. I think a rewrite will be easier, so it might only be a Simutrans in name. That would take at least a year. Then a lot of good models would be needed.

SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?

Simutrans Team: Some members tried but found severe limitations. Also getting suitable models is not trivial.

SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for Simutrans?

Simutrans Team: Maybe using Java instead of C to include portability and network support from the start. Also nowadays one would use 3D instead isometric sprites.

SF: Why?

Simutrans Team: Games have become more visual oriented. So 3D is probably a must have today.

SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?

Simutrans Team: Simutrans can be played on maps with 5000 x 5000 tiles, which easily have tens of million of objects. This may push a Java garbage collector to its limit. Also the number of different graphics (houses, cars, etc.) still exceeds the texture memory of typical graphic adapters.

SF: Is there anything else we should know?

Simutrans Team: Not that I can think about right now. Enjoy playing!

[ Download Simutrans ]