49 Open Source Projects In The Spotlight

Published on: December 13, 2007
Last Updated: December 13, 2007

49 Open Source Projects In The Spotlight

Published on: December 13, 2007
Last Updated: December 13, 2007

Too often, open source projects labor in near obscurity. No corporate stipend, no team of publicists, no media blurbs for every new release.

But the open source community is a vital source of productive creativity – truly an engine of the future.

Here’s a list of 49 open source projects that deserve a round of applause. You can peruse the full list – and for goodness sake, we think you should – or just jump to a certain area using the miracle of HTML linking:

• Audio tools / Communication / Desktop enhancements

• Developer tools / Education / Enterprise / Finances

• Games / Graphics / Groupware / Messaging / Miscellaneous

• Multimedia / Photography / Office Productivity

Audio Tools

1.) Audacity

This cross-platform sound recorder and editor receives high marks for its speed and ease of use. Key features include envelope editing, mixing, and built-in effects; supported formats include WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3.

2.) Linux MultiMedia Studio

Think you have what it takes to be a record producer? LMMS lets you create music on your computer, including creating loops, synthesizing and mixing sounds, arranging samples, and more.

3.) Jajuk

If you have a large or scattered music collection, Jajuk is for you. This jukebox provides a lot of advanced features for users who know what they’re doing, while also being relatively intuitive.


4.) Mumble

With Mumble, you can easily talk to other players while gaming, and the voices seem to come from the on-screen characters.

Plus, the echo cancellation feature means you won’t get those annoying reverberation effects from your microphone picking up the sound from your speakers.

5.) ePresence Interactive Media

Developed at the University of Toronto, ePresence claims to be “the world’s first open source webcasting and conferencing solution.”

It is designed to support conferences, online meetings, seminars, and demonstrations. Click the “Project Web Site” link from the link above to check out some of the (mostly educational) presentations created with ePresence.

6.) Elastix

With final code just released November 2007, Elastix is a brand-new appliance software for Asterisk-based PBX systems.

It combines a lot of the most popular Asterisk tools with a unique interface, utilities, and add-ons for a complete open-source VoIP system.

7.) trixbox

Formerly known as Asterisk@home, trixbox is another VoIP solution based on the Asterisk PBX software. Ideal for home or small business users, the Web-based interface makes the software easy to set up and use.

Desktop Enhancements

8.) LCARS 24

Ever wish your screen looked like those cool interfaces on Star Trek? LCARS 24 offers an alarm clock, calendar, games, maps, etc. all with look of the displays on the Enterprise.

It’s probably not something you’d install on your regular computer, but you might want to use it to turn an old DOS laptop into a useful conversation piece.

9.) Synergy

If you’ve got more than one computer sitting on your desk, Synergy let’s you use the same mouse and keyboard for both.

It works cross-platform, so it’s great if you switch back and forth between a Linux machine and a Windows machine, or a Windows machine and a Mac, etc.

10.) LXDE

Lightweight X Desktop Environment does just what the name suggests: it offers a fast desktop for Linux/Unix systems that doesn’t consume a lot of power or memory.

Unlike a lot of similar projects, each of the components can be installed separately, so you can use only the pieces you want.

Developer Tools

11.) Lazarus

Lazarus offers a complete and easy-to-use programming environment for FreePascal. It runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, and FreeBSD.

12.) jEdit

This java-based text editor provides auto-indent and syntax highlighting for more than 130 different programming languages. Its huge library of add-ons gives programmers nearly every feature you could hope for in a text editor.

13.) DotNetNuke

DotNetNuke offers an alternative application framework for the Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 platform. If offers enterprise users a versatile, user-friendly means to create cutting-edge Web applications.

14.) Mantis

This Web-based bug tracker is free, easy to install, and available in 68 different languages. Written in PHP, it works with MySQL, MS SQL, or PostgreSQL databases and multiple platforms.


15.) GCompris

GCompris provides an open source alternative in a category that has very few open source options—children’s educational software.

Although the Windows version is somewhat limited, the Linux version offers more than 100 activities for kids age 3 to 10.

16.) LogiCampus Educational Platform

Built by a college in Texas, LogiCampus gives educational institutions a free way to manage distance learning and on-campus classes.

It gives educators the tools they need to set up an online class and stay in touch with students, and it simplifies tasks like exam scheduling, ordering textbooks, and making course changes.


Having trouble keeping track of all those sources you’re using to write your thesis? WIKINDX manages your quotes, notes, and citations so that they’re easy to search. Best of all, it formats the bibliography information for you based on your choice of style guide.


18.) Openbravo ERP

This Web-based enterprise resource planning tool offers small- and medium-sized businesses the benefits of integrated systems management without the high cost.

It includes customer resource management (CRM), business intelligence (BI), procurement and warehouse management, project and service management, production management, and financial management capabilities.

19.) Compiere

Compiere ERP + CRM Business Solution is designed specifically for the distribution, retail, manufacturing, and service industries.

It includes components for managing and reporting on projects, financial management, point-of-sale, e-commerce, service, sales, order management, manufacturing, materials management, purchasing, and performance management.

20.) MailArchiva

Thanks to all the new compliance requirements, many organizations must pay closer attention to how long they store e-mail and other messages.

MailArchiva works with Exchange and other popular messaging systems to provide long-term storage with an easy “Google-like” search capability.

21.) Covide

Covide offers web-based groupware and customer relationship management (CRM) in a single package. It can also integrate with PBX systems to provide VoIP services.

22.) Open EMM

This professional e-mail newsletter and marketing software offers many of the features of commercial products, including event- and time-driven transaction e-mails.

It makes it easy to manage bounced e-mails, as well as providing advanced tracking and statistics.


23.) Buddi

Buddi makes it easy to set up a household budget and track your finances, even if you’ve never done it before.

The feature set is purposefully small so that financial novices won’t get confused, but it does allow you to create reports and graphs so that you can see exactly where all your money went.

24.) GFD

This personal finance manager runs on any Java-enabled operating system and is available in 11 different languages.

While it’s still easy for novices to use, it includes some advanced filtering, report, and chart capabilities for tracking your household finances.


25.) FreeCol

Remember the old game Colonization? This is a free version where you start with a few colonists on a boat and try to create an independent nation. (Also similar to Civilization.)

26.) PokerTH

Have you fallen prey to the Texas Hold ‘Em craze? PokerTH lets you play against up to six computer opponents or online players from around the world.

27.) Scorched3D

This is a 3D version of the old DOS game Scorched Earth. In case you don’t remember how it’s played, you use your tanks to try to blow up your opponent’s tanks.

The new version has much better graphics, as well as changing environmental conditions and the ability to network with 24 other online players at a time.

28.) UFO:Alien Invasion

In this futuristic sci-fi game, you and your secret organization must defend the earth against an alien invasion.

While you hurry to maneuver your troops for tactical advantage in skirmishes with the aliens, you also have to try to uncover the secret alien plot in time to save humanity from certain doom.


29.) Inkscape

If you’d rather not spend the many, many dollars you need to stay up-to-date on the latest releases of Adobe Illustrator, try Inkscape.

This vector graphics editor is compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux, and it includes features like transparency, gradients, node editing, pattern fills, PNG export, and more.

30.) Art Of Illusion

This 3D modeling and rendering studio boasts many of the features of much more expensive applications, including subdivision surface based modeling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials. And because it’s built in Java, it’s platform-independent.


31.) Group-Office

Group-Office groupware allows work groups to share calendar, project management, e-mail, tasks, addressbook, and file management information. It works with the company Intranet or the Internet, and users can use any browser they like.

32.) Simple Groupware

Built in sgsML for easy customization, Simple Groupware is a standards-based enterprise-ready groupware application.

It offers email, calendaring, contacts, tasks, document management, synchronization with cell phones and Outlook, and full-text search. Plus, it’s simple to install, update, use, and adapt to your needs.


33.) aMSN

Have friends who only use MSN for instant messaging? This platform-neutral MSN messenger clone lets you keep in touch without actually using a Microsoft product.

34.) SquirrelMail

The “Webmail for Nuts” is written in PHP and renders pages in pure HTML 4.0 for maximum compatibility.

An active community has developed more than 65 plug-ins that extend SquirrelMail’s capabilities and make it even easier to use.

35.) Miranda IM

This instant messaging client for Windows aims to be “smaller, faster, easier.” It supports multiple protocols, including AIM, Jabber, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo, and Gadu-Gadu, and it has hundreds of handy plug-ins as well.


36.) StarDict

Modestly calling itself “the best free dictionary program in Linux and Windows,” StarDict searches multiple international dictionary databases to find the correct spelling, definition, and/or translation for any word.

The latest version (released November 2007) includes full-text translation, fuzzy queries, and more.

37.) Gramps

Genealogy continues to be one of the country’s most popular hobbies, and Gramps (Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System) gives you many of the tools of more costly family tree tracking applications for free.

It was developed by genealogists and offers a huge wiki of advice for how to trace your ancestry. Plus, its name is one of the best acronyms we’ve ever seen.

38.) NavIt

NavIt is an open-source alternative for in-vehicle navigation. It works with multiple maps and is touch-screen friendly.

39.) Gnaural

It already does everything else–now your computer can help you meditate. Using something called the “binaural beat principle,” Gnaural generates audio tones designed to get you in the right frame of mind for relaxation.


40.) MediaPortal

MediaPortal aims to turn your PC or TV into a complete media center. It combines DVR capabilities with a radio tuner, audio player, video player, and more.

41.) NicePlayer

NicePlayer calls itself “Quite simply, the nicest media player for Mac.” The base version plays the same types of files as QuickTime, and add-ons provide support for most other types of video files.

42.) xine

Xine plays CDs, DVDs, and VCDs, as well as decoding and playing most types of audio and video files. Written in Assembly and C, Xine works with OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris.


43.) Gallery

Gallery makes it easy to add a photo library to your personal or business Web site. Key features include user authentication, automatic thumbnails, mirroring, themes, and more.

44.) Souvenance

Unlike most photo gallery programs, the XML-based Souvenance doesn’t require a separate database, making it really fast to deploy. It was just released in October of 2007, so it’s still a very much work in progress.

Office Productivity

45.) OpenProj

This project manager will look and feel very familiar to users of Microsoft Project, and it even opens MSProject files.

It works on multiple platforms, and was downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first month it was released.

46.) OpenOffice.org Portable

Now you can take the entire OpenOffice.org suite (Writer, Impress, Math, Draw, Calc, Base) with you wherever you go.

Simply load OpenOffice.org onto a USB drive, CD, iPod, or other portable drive and you can use the programs without installing them in your system.

47.) PDF Split And Merge

Need to cut a long pdf file down to size? Or would you like to combine two shorter documents? PDF Split and Merge lets you do both without having to purchase the costly software.

48.) PDFCreator

As you might expect, PDFCreator creates PDF files from any Windows program. It can also create PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, and EPS files, as well as encrypting PDF files.

49.) MultiMedia Office

This package from Plata Software combines some of the most popular open source software into a single package. It includes OpenOffice.org, Audacity, GIMP, VirtualDub, Thunderbird, and Opera.

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Written by Bobby

Bobby Lawson is a seasoned technology writer with over a decade of experience in the industry. He has written extensively on topics such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data analytics. His articles have been featured in several prominent publications, and he is known for his ability to distill complex technical concepts into easily digestible content.