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There are a great range of open source tools out there for creating 2D and 3D graphics, to help you create stunning visuals for your website development or livening up your presentations. Here are some of the most widely used tools.
Inkscape is an open source 2D drawing tool that helps you create graphic designs, from simple buttons and logos to full blown posters and web page designs. Inkscape is similar to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw and gives you a vector based graphics tool that uses the W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format. See my review of Inkscape Essential for web designers (or the slashdot review) and my Inkscape overview.
Blender is an amazing 3D modelling and animation tool that has seen a huge increase in adoption over the last few years. Blender has been used to create some stunning short movies such as Sintel, Elephants Dream and the hilarious Big Buck Bunny. Blender is also used to create many of the animations you see in advertising these days. See my quick overview of Blender.
The GIMP is a very powerful image manipulation tool that allows you to tweak any image file format out there and has a wide range of filters you can use to create some amazing effects. See my Gimp overview.
If you are interested in really getting into these tools, Packt currently has a series of discounts and promotions on its selection of Open Source Graphic Applications and Library books. The Open Source Graphic Applications and Libraries Month will offer readers exclusive discounts of 20% and 30% off the cover price of selected Graphic print books until 5th May 2011.
The Open Source Graphic Applications and Libraries Month discounts refer to books written on software used for graphic design, multimedia development, specialized image development, general image editing, or modeling.
“There are so many exciting Open Source projects for people who want to work with graphics, animation, or do some modeling. While some of them are easier to use than others, we’re committed to making it easy for anyone to use them, and unleash their creative potential. So far this year we’ve already published over 10 titles in this area, and we’ve got plenty more to come!” said Packt Open Source Publisher Doug Paterson.
To ensure you do not miss this fantastic offer, visit the special offer page now, where you can view the extensive list of books included in the offer and access an array of related articles that were written by authors.
For more information on the Open Source Graphic Applications and Libraries Month and the discounts being offered throughout April, please visit: www.packtpub.com/article/graphic-open-source
There is another fun and engaging Clojure Coding dojo on Tuesday and is as popular as ever as the event is full. It will be the last dojo before my “Getting started with Clojure” talk at JAX London, so am looking forward to learning some more things I can put into the talk.
Simon Maple and Zoey Slattery are also running the “OSGi: Lets get started” event on Tuesday. This will be a great way to understand OSGi and what it can do to help your Java development and deployment.
Time is running out to contribute to the community testing of the Java SE 7 Developer Preview Release . The latest build is feature complete, stable and ready to roll – so download, test and report bugs before the April 4th deadline. If you submit a bug report before the 4th, the Java product team will sing your praises on the Java SE 7 Honor Role, plus they will send you some Java swag. Bugs reported later on might not get fixed in time for the initial release, so if you want to be a contributor to Java SE 7 do it before the April deadline.
Firefox 4 was officially released last week and has already broken all the browser download records, with twice as many downloads as IE9 in the space of 24 hours. In less than a week there have been around 37,000,000 (37 million) – which you can see if you head over to the neat looking download stats page, a great example of data visualisation and interaction. Its good to see Europe beating North America at something, as we are still ahead in numbers of downloads. Inside of Europe, Gernany is well ahead of everyone else and has more than twice the downloads of the UK.
Full Circle #47 is out and includes more programing in Python, LibreOffice and eBook Reader Software. There is also a special edition: The Perfect Server detailing how to build a an Ubuntu 9.10 server and configure lots of common server services, available in English and Italian. Even though its based on the older Ubuntu 9.10 server, all the steps are pretty much the same for the lasted 10.10 server version.
Cuke Up was a great day of behaviour driven development and acceptance testing with many of the project leaders and influential people speaking or chatting between talks. Highlights of the day for me include:
It was great to hear that Cuke4Duke, the cucumber style acceptance testing framework will be getting a major upgrading to make it simpler to use. Currently it runs via JRuby and a few other libraries, so the plan it to make it more Java like so you can use Cucumber.java. There is also active development in the management of all your scenario files with the development of the Relish tool, a web based tool to manage and navigate through your scenario files. You will also be able to work with your cucumber files via a website, allowing you to edit your scenarios and features, making it very easy for non-technical team members to work with cucumber. To see some of the soundbites of the conference, look at the twitter tag #cukeup
Moodle is an open source collaborative Course Management System (CMS), a web application that anyone can use to create effective online learning sites and training course. Moodle also has many effective modules and assessment techniques for testing that can be used for any subject, so its great for feedback on your level of understanding.
There are a growing number of Universities and other educational organisations that are adopting Moodle as it is easy to use and administer and there are no expensive or restrictive software licenses to deal with.
Packt publishing is running a “Moodle March” promotion during March to celebrate the forthcoming publication of Science Teaching with Moodle 2.0 book. Moodle March will offer readers the exclusive discounts of 20% off the cover price of all Moodle print books and readers will be able to buy any 4 Moodle eBooks from Packt at a price of $60 / £38 / €45 for a limited period only.
Science Teaching with Moodle 2.0, written by Vincent Lee Stocker, helps readers to create interactive lessons and activities in Moodle to enhance your students’ understanding and enjoyment of science. The book, which is 386 pages long, is packed with lots of practical examples; each chapter takes you through a different aspect of teaching using Moodle.
Moodle is one of the first topics Packt published books on and we remain committed to offering more interesting books that will help the diverse needs of Moodle users. The set of Moodle books we’ve recently published shows our continued commitment to topic area, and we intend to publish cutting-edge Moodle books for a long time to come”, said Packt’s Open Source publisher Doug Paterson.
For more information on Moodle March and the discounts being offered throughout March, please visit https://www.packtpub.com/article/moodle-march
Tonight (Monday 7th) I am running a games night to help people learn kanban, lean and system thinking. I am joined by Karl Scotland who is another experienced practitioner with experience of delivering agile and kanban practices to many organisations. If you are new to kanban and the ideas behind it, then its a great opportunity to learn more in a practical way (no kanban experience required). Many teams are starting to adopt kanban, so its a good time to learn. If you have been using kanban for yourself or you team, then you can share your experience as you play the games and learn some ideas from others.
The LJC are running a Getting Started session on OSGi by Simon Maple (IBM) and Zoe Slatery (IBM) soon and you may want to read the blog post Martijn wrote on OSGi as a warm up.
From Martijn Verberg blog post – As OSGi matures as a technology for application developers and with Jigsaw also coming into the mix around Java 8, now is a good time to learn about modularisation technologies in the Java space.
For those of you who want to practice your test driven development skills, there is a code retreat on 12th March down in Winchester. You will get a full day of TDD coding in a collaborative way and get to share ideas as a group. If anyone wants the LJC to run another code retreat in London then why not suggest it as a meetup event.
If you want to practice your Clojure skills and learn more about functional programming, the March Clojure dojo (29th) is almost full, so sign up soon.
Full Circle magazine #46 is now out, full of useful guides and news on Ubuntu. A special python programming edition has also been published to help get you started with the language.
Last week there was a major release of GlassFish Server 3.1. This release extends the Java EE 6 Reference Implementation with new application development capabilities, centralised administration and high availability features. Also including improved OSGi support for Java EE Applications, OSGi web console and Apache Felix 3.0.6 (Apache Gogo shell). Another good feature is that when applications are re-deployed, GlassFish maintains HTTP session and EJB state, enabling rapid iterative development. If you are new to Glassfish, also have a look at the community website.
Last week was also the first release (war) of Jenkins Continuous Integration server, since moving from the Oracle trademarked name Hudson. There has been a flood of developer activity on GitHub and the project is looking very healthy. There are also packages available for Ubuntu and Debian. I’d be really interested in hearing from anyone else who has tried Jenkins CI, especially migrating from Hudson.
There was a good sense of camaraderie and sharing of painful experiences as I discussed the frustration of working for a company with a Mafia-like culture. It seems that there are still a great number of companies out there that have problems looking at the way they work, with everyone too busy getting on with today’s work (problems) without knowing if its really benefiting the organisation. I had lots of questions in the pub afterwards and lots of feverish scribing during the talk, so I hope I imparted some useful survival tips and maybe the seeds of change.
JAX London Preview night was a little wobbly, due to the fact we were on a boat on a busy Thames river. I think the wavey nature of the boat added to the ambiance of the evening though. There were two great talks that evening, one on event driven architecture with Comet and the other on lots of new things in spring 3.1 (features just released that day). Everyone that braved the cold had a good evening and we were treated to drinks at the bar by the JAX London team (on Facebook now). I had all the vitamins and minerals I needed for the rest of that week from the Guinness that was bought for me. Thanks everyone.