New Software and Technologies

For developers/designers, some recent interesting software and technology releases:

  • Version 3 of the GPL license was released/announced yesterday.
  • Eclipse 3.3 (Europa) has been released. See what’s new and noteworthy about this release. Eclipse is one of, if not the most popular Java IDEs. Netbeans 6, another major Java IDE, is still in development, but you can download preview milestone releases. Milestone 10 is due any day. Both IDEs now support alternative languages like Ruby, and Netbeans has good support for JavaFX as well.
  • Nintendo announced Wiiware the other day. This program will allow 3rd party developers to release games for the Wii that can be downloaded to the console. No details about pricing have been released, however. Most people seem to be assuming it will be free, but I kind of doubt that. A Wii developer license currently costs a couple thousand dollars or so.
  • WiiremoteJ was just released. It allows you to interface with the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote control from a java application. It still is a bit hacky though and relies on a java bluetooth library that has a restrictive license. There are other non-java interfaces to the wiimote out there though, which are free and open source.
  • Folksemantic summarizes some of the open learning services and sites released recently by the Center for Open Sustainable Learning here at Utah State.
  • The Latex Equation Editor is a new web widget released recently.
  • Ubuntu Studio is a new version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution with applications for audio, image, and video editing. I was actually considering using this release in a course I am teaching this fall, but unfortunately they do not have a live DVD version (run Ubuntu from your DVD drive instead of installing it to the hard drive). I tossed around and looked into the idea of remastering my own version that runs off a DVD, more on that later perhaps.
  • A little old news, but a new version of Ubuntu (7.04) was released a couple months ago, and the 2nd preview release of 7.10 was released this past week. I’ve been using it as my primary desktop the past couple weeks. A nice feature in 7.10 will be the easier use of restricted drivers. For example to use the wireless card in most Dell laptops, you currently have to compile ndiswrapper and find the windows drivers yourself to get it working (see these instructions). In 7.10, Ubuntu will download and install the broadcom drivers for you.
  • The unique Novint Falcon force feedback controller has begun shipping. I received one of these the other day actually, and I’m hoping to try interfacing it with some simulations, so maybe I can post more about it another day. The drivers and included software and games are Windows-only, however. The SDK is due shortly.
Posted in development, opensource, programming
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