Archive | June, 2009

Check Out Some Projects Looking for Volunteers

If you love open source and have some extra time on your hands, why not consider volunteering to help out one of the projects hosted on SourceForge? You don’t need mad developer skills to pitch in, most projects will welcome volunteers with all levels of experience.

Even if you no coding skills at all, don’t let that stop you from finding a way to lend a hand because there’s always something that needs to get done. Project leads will help match your skills and interests to their todo list and you could end up doing anything from testing an app for bugs to touching up artwork and logos.

Here are a few projects looking for volunteers right now:

Ikasan is a Java-based middleware platform that was recently open sourced by a banking institution and needs Java developers to help take the project to the next level.

SourceForge community member wek21 is looking for people with Qt or KDE-related programming skills to help put together a desktop applet for Plasma that notifies users when friends update their social networking sites.

Graphic artists might want to hit up isaque to help create artwork for the task manager project, Coyote.

There are a bunch of things to do over at the auction script project WeBid, including help finishing the payment system and “making the front end less ugly.”

Twincling, a repository of open source software developed by an India-based technology company, is looking for PHP programmers to work on two projects; –dmod and –scano.

You can always find the latest volunteer help wanted ads on our forums.

CCAs: Finalists Announced, Voting Begins

Our call for nominations for the 2009 Community Choice Awards officially ended on May 29th. Our finalists were chosen from 47,887 nominations for 4,875 distinct projects, which is well over double the number we got in 2008. Voting has officially started, as of right now…so go vote at http://sourceforge.net/cca with the greatest reasonable level of urgency.

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I’m very pleased with this year’s finalists! I have become familiar with a lot of fantastic projects that I didn’t know before, and I hope you will too. Every single project in our list deserves to win.

Finalists like Sahana, a disaster management framework, TriSano, an outbreak management application for infectious disease, and AgepaBase, a tool that helps governments plan infrastructure for clean drinking water, are what I was secretly hoping to see this year.

The recently-infamous rtmpdump project is a finalist in Best Project for Multimedia. If you don’t know the back story, hit up Google…but let’s just say that I wholeheartedly appreciate the “screw the man” sentiment, even if “the man” includes us this time. The world is not a perfect place quite yet.

Finally, PortableApps.com is a finalist in a lot of categories. A lot. Those of you who were paying attention last year may be experiencing deja vu, but something tells me they’re not going to let it slip through their fingers in 2009.

Here’s a final graph of the nominations over time:

cca09_final_nominations_graph

You might be wondering why it’s taken so long for us to tally, and there are two reasons.

First, since we allowed nominations for any open source project, we couldn’t build a database ahead of time that was comprehensive enough that people could nominate projects by searching for them. Instead, we asked our nominators to provide URLs and names for their projects. Piles and piles of random perl scripts, a bunch of SQL code, and an awful lot of processing by hand ensured that we knew when http://foo.sourceforge.net, http://sourceforge.net/projects/fo, and http://foo.org were all the same project (and, incidentally, ensured that we removed spam and non-FOSS projects.)

Second, we wanted to do something a bit different this year with the voting process. Instead of just a bunch of select boxes where voters could pick their favorite projects, we wanted it to be a way for them to discover something new! So we asked each of our finalists (and a couple of alternates per category) to send us a bit of information about their project and, optionally, to record a video that would introduce you to their team. A lot of our finalists did, too!

(As an aside, I wrote a Rails-based mini-CRM to keep track of which projects were finalists and alternates in their categories, collect all the data about them, and generate the hundreds of emails I had to send during the process. I had to do something to keep it from being tedious, didn’t I?)

Best of luck to all of the finalists!

Cya,
Ross

Ring! Open Source Mobile Apps Calling

Tech Republic has a terrific article up this week listing 10 reasons open source makes sense on smart phones. Author Jack Wallen says that besides the obvious cost savings, more customization options, better security, and improved phone-to-PC syncing are among the reasons the world would be a better place with more open source development on the mobile platform.

He’s absolutely right since, of course, there are few industries that can’t be improved by introducing open source software. One recent winner of SourceForge’s Project of the Month, ZK, is a an Ajax Java framework that makes it a snap to develop mobile apps. Of course, ZK isn’t the only project that’s focused on mobile devices. Here are a few more:

PicView – Put this picture viewer on your cell phone, then add your favorite photos to take with you wherever you go. The next time someone asks to see a picture of your kids, pets, or new car, you’ll be ready.

jsdbfs – Here’s a tiny JavaScript library designed for Mobile Safaru that stores CSS, HTML, JavaScript, or images in your phone’s local HTML 5 database so Web apps load faster.

PHP Gmail – This is an unofficial API for mobile Gmail that provides a base for Web apps that interact with Gmail.

nVMGc – Save all your SMS messages forever by converting them to text files or database rows and sending them to your PC for safekeeping.

Mobile Money Manager – A financial management app for mobile phones that transfers OFX formatted data to your computer.

Bloody Mess – Fend off monsters with this top-down shooter game based on the popular PC game Crimsonland. Even if you’re not a gamer, you should grab it just for the awesome name.

Control Practically Anything over Wi-Fi

If you check out SourceForge’s homepage, you’ll notice a link to a list of which projects are trending at the moment. AutoAP, a script that sniffs out nearby Wi-Fi connections, has been hovering at the top of the pack for the last few days. It’s a terrific project, and one of a bunch that help keep you connected while you’re on the go.

After you’ve taken peek at AutoAP, take a spin through this handful of Wi-Fi related projects that are also worth getting to know:

goText – Use it to send free SMS messages over Wi-Fi and also GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS. Written in J2ME, it works on virtually any Java-enabled mobile phone.

anyRemote – Turn your cellphone into a remote PC controller and use it to play games and manage your video or audio files right from the sofa.
Growmanager – Water and feed your plants with Growmanager. If have a really green thumb, you can even use it to monitor soil moisture or manage heating and cooling systems in your greenhouse.

MisterHouse – If you’re really into Wi-Fi, go for broke and mange your entire house with this app. Program your hardware to open and close your blinds, turn lights on and off, program your VCR, and pretty much anything else you can come up with and code an action for.

June Project of the Month

The mid-year honor for Project of the Month goes to Silex, an RIA that lets you build Flash Web sites for Flash Player 7, 8, 9, and 10. The Silex project has been going strong ever since its lead developers met by chance 10 years ago. You can read all about their chance encounter along with all the other details about Silex on the June Project of the Month page.

Like many projects hosted at SourceForge, the Silex team is spread out all over the place. Ten members gave more than a month of their time recently to meet in Paris and work full-time — without pay — getting Silex ready for its next release. Talk about dedication! Once you’re done getting the scoop on Silex at this month’s POTM page, you need to visit the project’s blog. Even though it’s written primarily in French, there’s no mistaking the energy and enthusiasm of this team.