Our team is truly tickled at how many high-end Linux-based games are now at our disposal. One of the latest is Ascaron Entertainment's Sacred Gold, which includes Sacred and its expansion, Sacred: Underworld. Linux Game Publishing is responsible for the Linux port. The companies plug Sacred as an action-filled role-playing game that “combines an exciting story line with great gameplay”. In addition to porting a broad range of Linux-based games, Linux Game Publishing also supports open-source development by making available a number of libraries it has developed over time for its games.
Though you likely never will experience a GPL'd Microsoft Excel, you can use the open-source Palo 2.5 from Jedox to serve up Excel spreadsheets. Palo is a multi-user, high-performance data server application that allows workers enterprise-wide to access, change and collaborate on multiple spreadsheets in real time. Improvements in the new version 2.5 include a newly optimized MOLAP (Multidimensional OnLine Analytical Processing) engine, intelligent local data cache, faster multidimensional data processing, an enhanced multidimensional formula editor and advanced query capability. The workstation-resident data cache uses an “intelligent” technology to reduce calls to the central server. Palo is available in free, enterprise and government editions.
Diversifying the open-source CRM space is SugarCRM with its new Sugar Data Center Edition. The new product line offers a complete set of systems management, provisioning and monitoring tools that enable service providers and large organizations to deploy and manage multiple instances—distinct versions of SugarCRM—from a centralized management console. In the absence of these capabilities, says SugarCRM, large enterprises are forced to eliminate multiple instances in a subdivision of their organization and make serious trade-off decisions regarding functionality and customizations/localizations for the sake of centralized and Web-services-based applications. With the new Sugar Data Center Edition, organizations “can get creative and deep with customizations and locations at no expense to one department or end user”.
To our squeals of delight, Sybex is tearing off its Clark Kent-like demeanor to present Tony Mullen's Bounce, Tumble, and Splash! Simulating the Physical World with Blender 3D. Blender is an immensely popular, multiplatform, open-source, 3-D content-creation suite. Bounce, Tumble, and Splash!, says Sybex, is the only title to offer “step-by-step instructions on Blender's more complex features while showcasing the unique objects and characters that can be created in Blender”. Topics include soft bodies and cloth, the Blender particle system, static particles and hair, fluids, bullet physics, the Blender Game Engine and plant simulation. The book's tone is “friendly but professional” and focuses on full-color examples with clear, in-depth explanations of how each step was taken and why each choice was made.
Geeks, start your...sewing machines! Such is the wish of Syuzi Pakhchyan, author of the new O'Reilly book Fashioning Technology that explores the integration of traditional sewing and assembly techniques with electronics and other new materials. The book is a guide to inventing creative clothing, housewares and toys that are fun, interactive, quirky and useful. Author Pakhchyan—an artist, roboticist and teacher—explains how to use smart materials such as thermo- and photochromatic inks that change color by touch or sunlight, magnetic and conductive paints, polymorph plastic, fiber optics and more. Each project, says O'Reilly, encourages readers to personalize and customize their own designs, materials and craft skills.
The job of ParAccel's new Scalable Analytic Appliance is to provide manageability for large- and medium-size enterprises struggling with the challenge of analyzing operational data in near real time or executing complex queries on multi-terabyte data warehouses. The new enterprise-class appliance is based on ParAccel's columnar, compressed, massively parallel relational database engine, combined with a managed storage infrastructure and industry-standard servers. The appliance utilizes a blended and dynamically balanced scan approach to take maximum advantage of both server- and SAN-based storage. It also leverages a new SAN-based approach for high availability and integrates tightly into managed storage control systems to manage backups, disaster recovery mechanisms, reporting and monitoring. A pilot program for the product is currently underway.
If you use the MATLAB environment, you now can extend it heftily using Numerical Algorithms Group's NAG Toolbox. The Toolbox gives users access to more than 1,300 additional math and statistical algorithms for MATLAB. This additional mathematical and statistical functionality previously was unavailable, or it was accessible to MATLAB users only by purchasing multiple toolboxes. The company claims that “the NAG Library is used by many of the world's most prominent ISVs, scientists and academies, among others, because of its reputation for quality, flexibility and robustness”. The NAG Toolbox is available for both 32- and 64-bit Linux and Windows and is compatible with MATLAB versions 2007a, 2007b and 2008a.
At the time of this writing, details remain sketchy, but by the time you read this, Canonical will have officially announced Ubuntu Netbook Remix, an ultraportable version of its popular Linux distribution. In interviews with the Guardian newspaper, Ubuntu founder and patron Mark Shuttleworth, revealed close collaboration with Intel, which produces chips for this sector. Shuttleworth sees Netbook Remix as one way that Linux will become more prevalent, as people access their files and information from a wider variety of devices connected to the Internet.