Open source websites: All change on the internet

Ana Kronschnabl and Tomas Rawlings pick the best open source websites where users can change the content


Wikipedia

www.wikipedia.org

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia of more than 2.3 million articles in 180 languages. It is currently the most used reference site on the internet. What makes it all the more startling is that the site is built by and maintained by its volunteer readers. Anyone who uses the site can easily and quickly update the content on any entry. This has created one of the most vibrant, informative and accessible information systems in the history of human knowledge.

Firefox

www.mozilla.org/products/firefox

A web browser is the software you use to view a website. Most people use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but it has been criticised for security flaws. There is an alternative; Firefox is an innovative piece of software created by a handful of people working in a non-profit foundation, but incorporating internet experience from users all over the globe. Their efforts have successfully created the main rival to the megabucks Microsoft - and it's free and easy to use.

Open Office

www.openoffice.org

Essential to any modern office are the dull but vital "paper-pushing" tools - office software. Open Office is a free, easy-to-use system that does what it says on the box. Its openness to different file formats makes it invaluable; for example, it can save and read Microsoft Office file formats, and save documents as PDFs. Given that the alternatives to Open Office are often expensive and feature-heavy office suites, this is a great tool that also saves you money.

Bittorrent

www.bittorrent.com

Bittorrent lets you download files, be they music, electronic books, videos or anything. It is what's known as a "peer-to-peer application" - the kind that's scaring the music and film industries. It allows people to exchange files easily, and is an efficient method of using a computer network, such as the internet. Bittorrent breaks up larger files and makes use of every cranny of transfer space - which means that the greater the demand for a file, the quicker you can get it.

MediaWiki

www.mediawiki.org/wki/MediaWiki

Wiki is a collaborative document system that allows lots of people to work on the same document regardless of geographical location. It's a powerful tool for enabling lots of content to be put in one place. It is a simple and fantastically useful ideas that after using you find yourself remarking, "Why didn't somebody think of this before?" MediaWiki is the name of one of the most popular bits of wiki software - and coincidentally is the one that powers Wikipedia.

Xvid

www.xvid.org

Video, once it is transferred on to a computer, requires huge files. To make video useful, it needs to be shrunk down. Without some type of technology to compress it, video would be unusable on most computers and almost impossible to transport over the internet. Software called "codec" is needed to do the shrinking. This is what happened to music with MP3 technology - it squashed songs down by around 90 per cent with no appreciable loss of quality.

pHpBB Bulletin Boards

www.phpbb.com

If there's one thing the internet excels at, it's communication. Bulletin boards are virtual noticeboards that allow users to exchange views - not always coherently, or politely. PHpBB powers thousands of such forums, including the one where Police Commander Brian Paddick ignited a media frenzy by posting: "The concept of anarchism has always appealed to me. The idea of the innate goodness of the individual that is corrupted by society or the system."

Outfoxed

www.outfoxed.org

Outfoxed is a documentary rather than software, but what its makers are doing is an experiment in open source film-making. The documentary is a highly politicised look at Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel. What is innovative is that, after watching the film, you find that if you disagree with its stance you can - with the film-makers' blessing - download the unedited interviews that make up the film and re-use them to cut your own version.

dyne:bolic

www.dynebolic.org

Most of the world's computers use Microsoft Windows as the operating system. Despite its popularity, Windows does have drawbacks - cost and security holes, for starters. There is a free alternative: the geeky Linux/GNU. In the past it was known as reliable but hard to use. Dyne:bolic is a multimedia studio on a CD that you simply pop into any computer and start it up, instantly turning it into a Linux/GNU system without affecting existing things on your computer.

GIMP

www.gimp.org

Need to draw a logo? Crop a digital photo? Don't want to pay through the nose for software to do the task? Then Gimp is for you! The unfortunately titled Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Behind all the letters there is an excellent graphics tool for drawing and manipulating pictures. It is the open source equivalent to software Photoshop, except that it's free (as in freedom, as the GNU activists say) and developed by volunteers.

Apache

http://httpd.apache.org/

If the internet is an information superhighway, you might wonder what the digital Tarmac is made of - the answer is Apache. Apache is a web server system developed by another open source community, and currently about 68 per cent of websites on the internet are powered by it. If you are ever asked what type of server is needed to host your website, just say Apache and sit back as others marvel at your technical knowledge.

SourceForge

www.SourceForge.net

If you need a piece of software, it's a good idea to check SourceForge first. SourceForge.net is the world's largest open source software development website, hosting more than 100,000 projects with the largest repository of open source code and applications. It provides free hosting to open source software development projects and sums up the ethos of open source projects; the model is the rapid creation of solutions within an open, collaborative environment.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star