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Free software for practical use

Apodio – linux distribution

If you work with multimedia and you are on linux, you will know that it is not always an easy marriage… Getting all the libraries, making sure that all your hardware (camera, soundcard, graphics card…) is compatible and recognized…

We have recently installed Apodio, which is Mandriva based and it seems to be working quite well! A lot of audio programmes are included, and also there is a preconfigured setup with Jack and Alsa (audio server -not so easy to set up, it basically connects your hardware to your software).

In case of doubt try it as a live cd!

(more about live cd’s on wikipedia)

Pictures and a report of the install party at Nadine here.

And remember, live cd’s do not hurt one bit!

Songbird prrt prrt


Songbird is an open source (gpl2) audio player (all formats: mp3, ogg, flacc…). But it goes beyond just playing your audio, it also manages it and it easily helps you download or play audio on the net. It is a browser, based on the Mozilla platform, which plays and finds online audio!

Unfortunately for the moment they have only developed a windows installer but they are announcing a linux and mac os x version.

I must say I am somewhat influenced by the graphical design of Songbird. The installer is a blue spotted egg (ohh! crack!) and the songbird is a little round black farting bird…
How sweet…

I will keep track of them and post when they have truly gone multiplatform -> hence the bird can sing on every computer…

Linux for old machines…

I guess the whole economy system is built on buy more better faster newer…

But sometimes (most of the times!) it is good to reuse – rethink “old stuff”.

Very simple post, this one: Linux for older machines
The writer Stone Lion tests all kinds of linux distributions, and he evaluates how easy they are to install and how well they work on his pentium II.

So, if you have an old computer stashed away somewhere, why not experiment and put some Linux on it!

It doesn’t hurt…

Open source vj software

Last friday I have met some vj’s that work with a open source vj tool. NarcoMediaVision use Gephex, a multiplatform modular tool. I have no time to check this, but… I hope you, reader, do.

Open source for schools

*Update* The previous link to the pdf download of the folder “vrije software in het onderwijs – free software in education” had become obsolete**

On this website you can download a booklet on the use of open source in education. It is in Dutch. It explains really well the beginnings of open source and it shows quite a few example programmes and how they can be used in an educational context. They also pay attention to the multiplatform aspects of a programme. They explain stuff such as GPL, Creative Commons etc.
The booklet is released under a creative commons licence.

The examples shown are:
Open Office
Gimp (image treatment, getting better all the time), Inkscape (vectorial drawing), Scribus (Desktop Publishing)
—————->these three and more, you can find on the Rollmops live cd created by Constant!
DIA (vectorial drawing programme, good for schematics)
PDF creator
NVU (a very good and complete multiplatform web authoring system)
Mozilla Firefox (what are you browsing with??? How do you read this site?)
Clamwin (open source and free antivirus)
– and some more educational programmes such as Moodle, Dokeos…


WOW! Media Players! Tons and tons of them!

Through the same blog I have also found this amazing wikipedia list of media Players, with all the compatability, with notes where the media players are open source and where not, what they can play (audio and/or video)….
I am in awe!

Respect for the wikipedia…

I will never have problems again in finding an open source media player..

What to do with video in a web page..

I have found this reference to all kinds of examples what video does with html – or what html does with video;,:; ,;;:;,.?.??.//

Something like that…

In any case, go and have a look at this tango-loving Brussels bloke’s weblog

A lot of video questions were answered for me – yes thank you!

Pure Data

Although I see the possibilities of PD, and they are huge, I have not – yet I hope – had the full courage to launch myself into Pure Data. I guess this has a lot to do with the fact that making music outside of a laptop is mostly loads more fun than just the mouse handling… ttsss… Or this could just be some mummmmblliinngggg 😉

(For a definition of PD, here’s the wikipedia entry which summarizes)

To the point, what are my treasures, that I have found!
Linkie Blinkie!
-> A PD Forum
-> An extended PD, with integrated objects
-> A library with objects, that is, the elements you can use to produce. A simple example: a collection of oscillators to make a synth! Or an object which makes “delay”.
-> Last but not least, the Pure data Portal

Which opens the door to many a site…

Cd-writing programmes

Linux: Nautilus and graveman do the job very nicely!

On the BXlug (Linux Bruxelles) list, two software programmes were suggested
CD burner XP Pro