June 14, 2003

Meet free software developers at LinuxTag

- by Martin Schulze -
More than thirty Free Software-oriented projects will demonstrate
their work at the upcoming LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, Germany,
taking place from July 10th to 13th. With the presence of
so many projects and developers this will essentially be a large Free Software
developers meeting, but other visitors will benefit from it as well.

The booths for these projects are provided gratis and will be part
of the exhibition in the large hall, surrounded by commercial booths
from large players like HP and IBM as well as nation wide
enterprises.

The list
of exhibitors contains well-known projects that really don't need to be
introduced, like *BSD, Debian, FSF Europe, GNOME, KDE, and PHP, but
also mentions a number of not-so-well-known projects which I will
introduce below. You are invited to drop by their respective booths and
talk to the developers.

LinuxTag, which is itself organised along the lines of a Free Software
project, combines a free
conference program
lasting three entire days, a business
congress
aiming at professional users and enterprises, a
government congress aiming at members of governmental agencies, a workshop
program
maintained by the attending projects and an exhibition
consisting of commercial and non-commercial booths.

The projects

Ark Linux is a
GNU/Linux distribution designed especially for desktop use, primarily
for people without prior Linux experience.

Caudium is a Web and
applications server. it is an attractive alternative to servers like
Apache, Netscape(R) and Zeus(R) due to its strength in dynamic page
and data generation, modularity, and more.

Conesys
provides Open Source software for Peer-to-Peer content sharing and
knowledge management. An innovative technology allows CONESYS (COntent
NEtwork SYStem) to decouple digital objects from the physical nodes
and addressing schemes that carry them (e.g. URLs). This is called the
Distributed Digital Objects (DDO) system, a kind of IP address
combined with an arbitrary unique identifier for digital items.

DB Designer 4 is a visual
database design system that integrates database design, modeling,
creation, and maintenance into a single, seamless environment. It
combines professional features with a clear and simple user interface
to offer the most efficient way to handle your databases. It provides
Open Source utilities and components, and info for Kylix and Delphi
programmers.

eisfair is the easy
Internet server, an easy to install and maintain Internet and intranet
server. eisfair isn't intended to be another new GNU/Linux
distribution; there are enough of those. The intent is the
installation of an Internet server where the applications and services, not the operating system, have the foreground.

fli4l is a single floppy
Linux-based ISDN, DSL and Ethernet-Router. You can build it from an
old 486 PC with 16MB memory, which is more than adequate
for this purpose. You don't need any specific knowledge of GNU/Linux,
but it would be useful. You should have some basic knowledge of
networking, TCP/IP, DNS, and routing, though. For extensions and further
development that exceed the standard configuration, you need a
working Linux system and Unix/Linux knowledge.

FORTH is represented
by the German "FORTH Gesellschaft," which provides information on
recent FORTH programming language development, new software projects
in FORTH, and examples of FORTH usage today.

Gentoo is a
source-based Linux meta-distribution that focuses on medium to advanced
users. It can be highly optimized and customized to the user's need.
Currently, Gentoo Linux provides over 4200 packages and is supporting
x86, Alpha, PowerPC, Sparc, and HPPA. Work is in progress for ARM, MIPS,
s/390, and, of course, AMD Opteron support.

GPE is a palmtop
environment that aims to provide a Free Software GUI environment for
palmtop/handheld computers running the GNU/Linux(TM) operating
system. GPE uses the X Window System, and the GTK+-2.2 widget
toolkit.

Holarse wants to offer
the visitor an introduction to GNU/Linux as a game platform. Yes,
GNU/Linux can be used as a modern gaming operating system as
well as a 'work' tool. It's not only ready for the desktop, but ready to have fun!

ifrOSS initiates and
fosters research activities in the field of legal questions about Free
Software/Open Source Software. In recent years the scope of ifrOSS
activities has broadened to include legal questions about the Information Society
in the field of Intellectual Property.

Linux-Audio
presents, combined with some programmers of the ALSA team (Advanced
Linux Sound Architecture), current developments and applications on
these topics: Sample Editing, MIDI Sequencing, Software Synthesizers,
Soundfont and Soundfont Usage, and Hard disk Recording,
as well as the LADSPA plugin concept, which lets you put sound
effects into an audio route. Another important topic is the Jack Audio
Connection Kit which is used to connect different sound applications
with each other efficiently.

Linux Ports demonstrates that GNU/Linux not only runs on
x86 based machines, but also on great hardware from professional
vendors, as well as on older machines that were once highlights in the
computing world. Linux runs on a large scale of hardware platforms,
from MIPS-based palmtop systems up to large IBM mainframes, of which
many are suited better for their particular application than the
standard PC architecture.

Besides this, Linux allows you to supply many old Unix machines,
which would often have to be scrapped otherwise, with a more modern
operating system so that they can be used further. Besides this, you
can see Linux running on hardware one would normally expect in the
living-room and not on in a work environment, such as a game console. You
can talk with developers at the booth about their projects and their
applications, and get an impression of the various tasks that are
required to port Linux to a new hardware platform.

Linux User Groups
must not be missing at such a convention. The booth will be a meeting
point for members of LUGs and those who may be interested in a group
nearby. Active LUG members will staff the booth.

LinuxWiki is a Web-based free-form text database which is easy to use, with a strong focus
on GNU/Linux. Everyone can change or add articles without any need of
an account or password. You only need an internet connection and a Web
browser. At the booth, you can look for advice, plus learn how the
Wiki looks, and how it is used. And if you cannot wait until
you're back home, you might want to check it out at the LinuxTag Internet
cafe.

Midgard is a
freely available framework for Content Management Systems and other
information management solutions. It provides developers with an
easy-to-use framework built on the common Apache, PHP and MySQL
components.

OnAirSystem is a
radio-automation system for 24-hour use running on GNU/Linux. It plays
audio media at professional-level quality from hard disk and NFS
servers, supports the radio-presenter with an easy graphical interface,
and it controls the On-Air flow with a large database.

osCommerce is an
e-commerce solution under ongoing development by the Open
Source community. Its feature packed out-of-the-box installation
allows store owners to setup, run, and maintain their online stores
with minimum effort, and with absolutely no costs or license fees
involved.

PAER is a framework and
distribution system for reusable PHP components. PECL, being a subset
of PEAR, is the complement for C extensions for PHP. PAER (PHP
Extension and Application Repository) provides a structured library of
Open Source code for PHP users and a system for code distribution and
package maintenance as well as a standard style for code written in
PHP.

PHP-GTK is an extension
for PHP programming language that implements language bindings for
GTK+ toolkit. It provides an object-oriented interface to GTK+ classes
and functions and greatly simplifies writing client side
cross-platform GUI applications.

PHProjekt is a
modular application for coordination of group activities and sharing
information and documents via an intranet and the Internet. It
includes a group calendar, project management, time card system, file
management, contact manager, mail client, and other features, and is available for 28
languages and 6 databases.

Pike is a dynamic
programming language with a syntax similar to Java and C. It is simple
to learn, does not require long compilation passes, and has powerful
built-in data types allowing simple and really fast data manipulation.
sTeam and Caudium are written in Pike.

PingoS is an
communications project that offers GNU/Linux support to schools seeking computer help. Activists are located in many major cities and some smaller
ones, helping schools with their IT infrastructure.

Pro-Linux aims to
give Linux newbies optimal support getting started and to provide all
Linux users with the latest and most important news. The central
element of the project's main Web page is the news board with the latest Linux
related news. Every visitor may post comments on the news. A support
forum offers the first stop for problem solutions. Several times
every week Pro-Linux presents reviews of interesting products, tips,
reports, and tutorials.

ROCK Linux is a
distribution-build-kit. It is a collection of shell scripts that build binary distributions from source. It can also be a BSD or HURD
distribution, not necessarily LINUX. it only depends on the skill and
motivation of the user. It can also be used like the BSD ports
tree.

SQLite is a C library
that implements an embeddable SQL database engine. Programs that link
with the SQLite library can have SQL database access without running a
separate RDBMS process. The distribution comes with a standalone
command-line access program that can be used to administer an SQLite
database and which serves as an example of how to use the SQLite
library.

Symlink is a news forum
like Slashdot for German-speaking people. Its focus is information
about computer-oriented issues, the influence of politics on
information technology, data protection, geek culture, and Free
Software.

SRM (Script Running
Machine) is designed to solve some of the problems often encountered
with PHP and other web scripting languages that result from the
statelessness of the HTTP protocol. SRM will use various methods to
cope with the problems this presents to programmers. It will offer caching
of variables directly from supported scripting languages, and as they
will be held in memory there will be considerable speed increases over
a database-only approach.

sTeam (Structuring
Information in Teams) is an environment for creating virtual knowledge
spaces. It provides a variety of flexible mechanisms to foster
communication and cooperation in learning and work processes.

UMLinux is a virtual Linux
machine which runs as a normal user process (no root privileges or
kernel modules needed). Minimal modifications of the guest system are
necessary to achieve this, and modified versions of Linux are
available. The virtual machine is capable of simulating faulty
hardware, which enables testing of their effect on software. Such
experiments can be conducted in an automated way.

Virtual Reality
Tools
combines several technologies from the VRML universum
and demonstrates as many of them as possible. A Powerwall will
provide a realtime experience that shows the power of VRML to visitors. The
Virtual Reality Modelling Language is the ISO standard for the
distribution of realtime 3D data (with Images, Movies and Sound) via
the Web.

WorldForge provides
a complete system for massively multiplayer online role-playing
games. The vision is to foster an independent community in which many
free games develop and evolve, with unique role-playing-oriented game
worlds and rules, a wide selection of server and client
implementations, and a standard networking protocol to tie everything
together. The current game effort is Mason, a small-scale role playing
game designed to allow the players to modify the gamestate and work in a
co-operative environment.

xine is a free
multimedia player. It plays back CDs, DVDs, and VCDs. It also decodes
multimedia files like AVI, MOV, WMV, and MP3 from local disk drives,
and displays multimedia streamed over the Internet. It interprets many
of the most common multimedia formats available - and some of the most
uncommon formats, too.

X.Org is the worldwide
consortium empowered with the stewardship and collaborative
development of the X Window System technology and standards. X.Org is
an organization of The Open Group dedicated to maintaining the
existing X Window System code base and engineering appropriate
enhancements driven by current and future market requirements.

Zope is an application
server, specializing in content management, portals, and custom
applications. It enables teams to collaborate in the creation and
management of dynamic web-based business applications such as
intranets and portals. Zope is backed by Zope Corporation, which
offers a wide range of support, customization, and training
services.

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