Open source is being used to battle against global poverty. One excellent example is the Grameen Foundation's Mifos, an application for nonprofits to manage microfinance operations efficiently. Microfinance is a form of economic development whereby poor people, typically in developing countries, receive small loans to start small enterprises and get out of poverty. You may recall that Grameen's director, Dr Muhammad Yunus, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his microfinance work in Bangladesh. Although Grameen created Mifos, it has generously made the software available to everyone and is leveraging the open-source model industry-wide. Although Mifos has been around for a year, the latest news is that IBM will apply its expertise in finance and open source to improve the application.
The Linux-friendly Wolfram Research has taken a page from Adobe Acrobat's playbook by creating the new and free Mathematica Player runtime application, which is available now for download on Linux, Windows and Mac OS platforms. People with a licensed copy of Mathematica 6 can upload their Mathematica notebook files for processing to the new Publish for Player Web service, after which the notebook files will run in the Player. The end result is that you do not need a full version of Mathematica just to view documents as in the past. Also in the pipeline is the non-gratis Mathematica Player Pro for viewing interactive Mathematica documents and other functionality.
Talend has two new developments this month: its Open Studio open-source data-integration application was upgraded to version 2.2; and it released the Activity Monitoring Console/Personal Edition. First, Open Studio Version 2.2, which has more than 150 connectors available, now offers a number of new specialized connectors, as well as event-based action triggering and SOA functionality that enables exposure of data-integration processes as Web services. Furthermore, Open Studio takes advantage of recent improvements in Eclipse v3.3. Second, Monitoring Console/Personal Edition is a new centralized tool for monitoring the distributed execution of all data-integration jobs. It provides notifications upon failure or error as well as the ability to analyze statistics and trends and detect potential execution bottlenecks before they occur.
In other integration news, CorraTech announced OPENSUITE, a Java-based, open-source application that will enable business process and data integration across a range of open-source applications. OPENSUITE is currently in pre-beta. The aim is to integrate CRM, ERP, content/document management, messaging and project management. Organizations can implement cross-application business processes, preserve intrasession context while working with multiple applications, create single sign-on access for multiple applications and reduce redundancy introduced by the complexity of integration across applications. Using an SOA approach and supplying middleware layer functionality, OPENSUITE is distributed with a number of packaged business processes, called Business Process Packs. The first Pack will support CentricCRM, KnowledgeTree, Openbravo and Zimbra.
Despite the crush of Linux information out in Internetlandia, having an organized, distro-specific book on hand when trouble or confusion strikes is sanity insurance. The upgraded openSUSE Unleashed by Michael McCallister and Sams Publishing is the latest in the wide-ranging Unleashed series of comprehensive technology reference guides. Based on openSUSE 10.3, Unleashed covers just about everything you'd like to do with your OS, from installing and administering to working with standard desktop applications and setting up networks and servers. The companion DVD includes openSUSE 10.3 with five CDs worth of goodies, and on-line updates are available. Unleashed is recommended for intermediate to advanced users.
The world of enterprise content management (ECM) has gotten more interesting with veteran Nuxeo's recent release of its Enterprise Platform 5.1 ECM application. Nuxeo says that this release is “distinguished by its service-oriented architecture (SOA), scalability and flexibility.” The firm touts its infrastructure being built on plugins and extension points that are based on the OSGi standard, giving developers and integrators the ability to create custom configurations and extensions quickly and easily. New features in 5.1 include an advanced search service based on the NXQL query language (SQL-based), data import/export service, enhanced horizontal scalability and electronic and physical records management.
Wrox had a couple of particularly interesting November releases, such as Professional SlickEdit by John Hurst and Beginning Linux Programming, 4th edition, by Neil Matthew and Richard Stones. Professional SlickEdit, likely the first guide dedicated to the SlickEdit tools, is an example-heavy, hands-on guide to getting the most out of this popular development environment. The CD-ROM offers an exclusive extended trial version of SlickEdit. Meanwhile, in its 4th debut, Beginning Linux Programming takes a similar, learn-by-doing approach to teaching UNIX programming and application development in C on the Linux platform. The book also introduces toolkits and libraries for working with UIs of all sorts. Advanced topics include processes socket programming, MySQL, writing apps for GNOME/KDE desktop, writing device drivers, POSIX threads and kernel programming. Wrox also offers Professional Linux Programming, a recent book for more-advanced developers.