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Posts published in “Software”

HospitalRun: Open Source Software for the Developing World

Much open source software is being developed to help improve conditions throughout the world, such as this software developed by CURE International.

The Screening Room

When open source software is used for global health and global relief work, its benefits shine bright. The benefits of open source become very clear when human health and human lives are on the line. In this YouTube video, hear Harrisburg, Pennsylvania software developer Joel Worrall explain about HospitalRun software – open source cloud-based software used at developing world healthcare facilities.

Four Things a New Linux User Should Know

When you move from “that other operating system” to Linux, you’re going to find that in most ways you’ll be in familiar territory. However, that’s not always the case. We sometimes do things a little differently around here.

LinuxLinux

If you’re making the move from Windows or Mac (or even from Android or iOS), welcome to our world.

These days, using Linux for doing everyday computer tasks isn’t that much different than using other operating systems — meaning the learning curve is only slight. In fact, my colleague Phil Shapiro works at a library that uses Linux on the computers its patrons use and says that hardly anyone even notices they’re not using Windows. It’s that easy.

However, there are some things about using Linux that are quite a bit different — and we think better — than with the other brands. Here’s a brief heads up on some things that might be good for you to know before you cross the bridge from you-don’t-realy-own-it Windows to free-open-and-yours Linux.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

iCub the Open Source Robot

It occurs to us that the iCub might be the perfect companion for an only child. Probably cheaper in the long run than a little brother or sister, and it can be turned off at night.

The Screening Room

iCubiCub

Apparently, the iCub open-source robot can be taught anything a 4-year-old can learn. I wonder if it can be taught to whine annoyingly, be unkind to its little sister, refuse to go to bed at night, wake up its parents too early in the morning, etc.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

WordGrinder: Distraction-Free Writing From the Command Line

WordGrinder is an old fashioned command line program that doesn’t try to do a lot of things. Its purpose is to get the job done, and stay out of the user’s way while doing it.

WordGrinder not MS WordWordGrinder not MS Word

A few months back while perusing the latest news from the open source media, I came across an article listing five favorite command line tools, or some such nonsense. It turned out that one of the items on the list was a command line “word processor,” WordGrinder, which the article’s writer claimed to be an uber-easy way to write from the command line.

As it happened, I’d been looking for that very thing, so I immediately looked in the Mint/Ubuntu repositories, found it, installed it and took a look. Unfortunately, at the time I was busy, facing a couple of deadlines, so when I couldn’t figure the first thing out about it in five seconds or less, I closed the terminal and went to Bluefish to finish an article I was writing, while vowing to return to look further into WordGrinder as soon as I finished.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Growing Young FOSS Programmers With Help of Scratch and Al Sweigart

If your young child is showing an interest in learning computers, an introduction to Scratch and these instructional videos by Al Sweigart might be in order.

The Screening Room

Scratch CatScratch Cat
Scratch Cat, the programming language’s mascot.

Talented book author Al Sweigart is a name familiar to many in the FOSS community. He writes books for kids and for adults — including the recently released Scratch Playground. Scratch is a free visual programming language developed at MIT Media Lab as an introduction to computer programming.

His zeal and talent for explaining is remarkable. I’ve been enjoying the “60 Second Scratch” screencasts (explanatory videos) he has been uploading to YouTube in the past two weeks. For example, check out this little gem:

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath on Open Source

Did you know that the software Stephen Hawking uses to speak is open source and that it’s available on GitHub? Neither did we.

The Screening Room

Octocat GitHubOctocat GitHub

At the Computer History museum, GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath explains how GitHub has grown far beyond its original scope of being a tool just for nerds.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

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