Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blender 3D Creation Suite

The project we are supporting this month is Blender, the open source, cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation. My husband has been using Blender for a while now. He has some personal projects he is working on, but many times he just plays around with it to learn how it works. On his blog Normal Vector he blogged about the first model that he made, which was a gun (more specifically a Colt 1911). You have to realize he is a gun collector and a gamer so if he ever does make a 3D game he is likely to need some guns for it. Anyway, here is a sample from his blog showing the gun in progress and the completed project. I think it is pretty true to life myself!

Since then he's learned more about making clean meshes and suggested this link for beginners from the Blender Artists Forum. He will probably tell you these were rather simple, and he is currently working on making human models now among various other things. While I think this was really cool there is so much more that you can do with Blender, It is an amazing piece of software if you ask me.

Blender is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and it runs on many operating systems including Windows. They also offer plenty of documentation for you on their Education and Help page which will enable you to learn how to use it. We think that this particular project is definitely worthy of our financial support and that is why this month we are donating to the Blender Foundation. To see some of the depth of what all you can do with this free and open 3D creation suite, check out this video. It was made using Blender!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Open Source is not just for Linux

When I began this blog I had no intentions of making it all about Linux, but since I started using Linux at that time it has sort of dominated my posting. There are, however, many open source projects that are available for Windows as well as Linux.

You may wonder why you would want to bother withan open source product if you are already running Windows. Well the answer is easy, it is still about freedom. These products are as good, if not better than their counterparts, and they are absolutely free which means they cost you nothing and they allow you to use them however you want. Why pay for products with licensing that restricts you (and your budget) when you can have these great products for free? If you are running Windows but still interested in Open Source Software here are my top ten recommendations.

Top Ten Open Source Software Products for Windows and Linux: 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

Firefox - The award-winning Firefox Web browser has security, speed and new features that will change the way you use the Web. Don’t settle for anything less

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface.

VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

Pidgin is an easy to use and free chat client used by millions. Connect to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and more chat networks all at once.

Dia is a GTK+ based diagram creation program for Linux, Unix and Windows released under the GPL license. Dia is roughly inspired by the commercial Windows program 'Visio', though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use.

Thunderbird - Enjoy safe, fast and easy email, Mozilla-style. The Thunderbird email client includes intelligent spam filters, powerful search and customizable views

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creative Commons

The Open Source movement is about freedom and it relies on the willingness of creators to share their work so that others can build upon and improve it. Of course, not all content needs to be shared completely and the creator is and always should be in control of how much of their content is shared. Creative Commons is a way for creators to open up their work to the community under their own terms. On the Creative Commons licensing page we learn:

"The Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of 'all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.'

Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.

Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.

Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work."

So when you see these symbols, know what they mean.

To learn more visit the Creative Commons Website and watch the video below.