As mentioned in my previous article on Open Source software testing
tools, I am going to provide an overview of some more test tools hosted
by SourceForge and continue to demonstrate how they can improve the
quality and productivity of a development effort. The previous article
focused on testing tools that can be used for applications written in
Java and Web-based applications. This article will provide an overview
of testing tools for SOAP, databases, Testing suites/frameworks, .Net,
and Linux, among others. Some interesting new Java testing tools have
also been developed since the time I wrote the previous article, and I
would like to include them. Like the previous article, this one will
focus primarily on functional testing tools.
Last Fall, Joe Barr posted a feature on Linux.com titled "New Alien
Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition", yet gave no real comparisons
with other similar games. This was done in the same style as Barr's
previous feature, "Tremulous: The best free software game ever?", which
described Tremulous, but also lacked comparisons and relations to other
games. This feature hopes to be a thorough comparison of the major Free
Last week, I listed what I think is wrong with Make. This week, I offer
my suggestions for alternatives.
Just like writing an article, testing is a skill. While this may come as
a surprise to some people, it is a simple fact. For any system, there are
several possible test cases, and yet, invariably, we have time to run only
a few of them, which in turn are expected to find most of the defects in
the software. We know from experience that this is simply not possible.
Therefore, in order to increase the chances of finding defects, testing
tools may be used. There are numerous testing tools, each with specific
capabilities and test objectives.
Spam is a growing problem for email users, and many solutions have
been proposed, from a postage fee for email to Turing tests to simply
not accepting email from people you don't know. Spam filtering is one
way to reduce the impact of the problem on the individual user (though
it does nothing to reduce the effect of the network traffic generated
by spam). In its simplest form, a spam filter is a mechanism for
classifying a message as either spam or not spam.
This article is aimed at Unix developers who already have some
experience with programming languages and want to start developing GUI
applications (mainly for The X Window System, though portability is
discussed). It may also come in handy if you have used a particular
GUI toolkit for some time and want to know whether others might suit
your needs better. The main focus is comparison and introduction, but
it serves as a bit of tutorial, as well.
Ever since I first stayed up late watching an 8-bit computer
painstakingly draw a Mandelbrot set, I've been fascinated by
fractals. Of course, I had to write a fractal-generating program of my
own straight away; the combination of the amazingly simple math
required to produce the Mandelbrot set and the amazing graphics that
came out was irresistible. Clearly, I'm not alone; every programmer
with even the slightest interest in math writes a fractal program at
some point, and a good number of these are now available as Open
Source. Here's a brief, opinionated, and decidedly non-exhaustive
survey of some of the programs I've found.
The computers you meet on today's desktops are equipped with very fast
processors (usually over 1GHz) and a few hundreds megs of RAM. Even
very complicated and resource-consuming applications don't cause any
problems for them. However, there are still old machines around which
can't easily run such programs. They either don't launch them at all
or run so slowly that sensible work can't be performed.
The freedom of choice offered by GNU and Linux, combined with the
technological design of the X Window System, gives desktop users a
windowing environment with a flexibility and capability that is
unrivaled. In recent times, the desktop Linux world has been enriched
beyond recognition by the KDE and GNOME projects, but window managers
are still at the heart of these environments, as well being used
widely on their own. In this review, I'll delve into this exciting
world and look at the development and the state of the art of some of
the most significant and most popular window managers.
With DVDs quickly ousting clunky old video tapes from the realms of
video rental stores, and DVD-ROMs no longer the expensive beasts they
once were, software to turn your everyday Linux box into a home
entertainment system is becoming increasingly popular. This review
looks at the four major DVD players available to Linux users and the
general state of DVD playback under Linux.
Somehow, some way, people who are new to Linux have gotten the idea
that Linux has limited IM choices. Since the Unix family was the first
to have popular IM clients (with "talk" leading the way), that's more
than a little silly. It is true that if you want the latest AOL
Instant Messenger (AIM) features or MSN Messenger you're out of luck,
but there are many other clients to choose from, and some will let you
talk to your buddies whether they're on AIM, MSN, or even Yahoo!.
The world is filled with Free Software to do all kinds of jobs. From
top-to-bottom, a typical GNU/Linux system provides a kernel, basic
administration tools, servers, clients, a graphical substrate, and
(finally) high-level graphical environments sitting atop it
all. Graphics, sound, input, output, networking... you can find Free
Software for all of these. Despite this power given to hackers, Free
Software games are often considered to be of lesser quality, compared
to those available in the non-Free software world. In this review,
I'll look at the variety of Free Software games available today and
whether Free gaming software deserves its reputation.
There are two separate groups of XML software: Low-level, configurable
software designed to work with any XML-based format, and high-level,
special-purpose software designed to work with one or more specific
XML formats. Like most people writing about XML, I will focus on the
first group, which includes low-level tools and libraries like
parsers, editors, browsers, transformation engines, and search and
Just a few years ago, to most people, the terms "Linux cluster" and
"Beowulf cluster" were virtually synonymous. However, these days,
many people are realizing that Linux clusters can not only be used to
make cheap supercomputers, but can also be used for high availability,
load balancing, rendering farms, and more.
So, you've just gotten a PalmOS-based PDA... now what? Here are some
suggestions for Open Source Software/Free Software available for the Palm,
grouped into the following topics: electronic books, games,
miscellaneous software, and how to locate other software. I'll close
with a few comments about the future of Palms.
The telephony software category includes applications that let you
communicate via voice and/or video through the Internet to other
people, software that lets you set up a software-based telephony PBX
based on standard hardware, tools that let you analyze data from or
control legacy telephony switchgears, and small, simple pieces of
software that let you set up an answering machine using an old voice
freshmeat's Sound/Audio software category lists more than 200 varied
applications dealing with audio and MIDI. The newcomer to this
collection may find himself (forgivably) a bit bewildered, but I hope
to dispel some of that confusion with this review. freshmeat has
already defined the application subcategories (many of which are
self-explanatory), so I will focus on how to access the particular
software to suit a specific purpose.
The best-known databases these days are based on SQL, but are often
overkill for what you need to do. This review discusses lighterweight
alternatives, including xBase, DBM, and ISAM systems.
So you find you need to store some data on your Linux system, and are
wondering what program to use... There are a vast array of database
systems available for use on Linux. Some are simple, some
sophisticated, some cheap, some expensive. One of the first things you
ought to do is ask yourself what you need to do with the database,
as that is critical to bringing the number of choices down from
"stupendously bewildering" to merely "astoundingly many."
To print something from a Free Unix, you use an application, which
uses a client program to speak with a daemon process, which eventually
executes some sort of driver or filter, which eventually sends print
data to your printer. There are no universal standards for any step
in this process; indeed, in many installations, hand-tooled scripts
provide the glue between the various parts. This makes for a rather
unpleasant configuration experience, to say the least.
Applications are available for Linux to help with everything from
balancing your checkbook to managing payroll and inventory for a
Fortune 500 megacorp. This review hopes to point you in the right
direction for whatever you need to do.