Highly anticipated open-source releases coming in '09

These open-source browsers, dev tools, mobile apps and more promise that 'Oooh, cool!' sense of discovery.

The inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama was broadcast via Silverlight, yet more than 50,000 viewers watched it using Moonlight on Linux.

The inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama was broadcast via Silverlight, yet more than 50,000 viewers watched it using Moonlight on Linux.

But business-quality open source isn't limited to traditional desktop apps or enterprise software. Kaltura is an open-source platform for creating and viewing video applications. It's aimed at Web publishers, integrators and application developers. Kaltura currently has extensions for several platforms, including content management (such as Drupal), blogging (WordPress) and collaboration (MediaWiki).

In the second quarter of 2009, Kaltura's Community Edition will be launched under the GNU General Public License, allowing any Web site to build its own YouTube-like video portal, fully independent of Kaltura. Optional enterprise support includes streaming and hosting, ad serving and content syndication.

Dimdim claims to be the first open-source Web meeting company; its software has been downloaded nearly half a million times. Among its existing features are unlimited use, multiparty video and audio conferencing.

Dimdim has big plans for 2009 (though it didn't get more specific than that on timing), including a commercial version. The Dimdim open-source platform will become a full webinar product, allowing meetings of more than 1,000 participants, which will make it attractive to anyone who needs to conduct general meetings or training sessions.

Also worth watching:

LedgerSMB, a fork of the SQL-Ledger accounting package aimed at small businesses. Its rapidly approaching 1.3 release promises better contact handling and security that integrates with a company's network security infrastructure, such as Kerberos.

The Lucid Desktop (formerly the Psych Desktop), a Web desktop (maybe a Web operating system) that integrates with the Web, existing desktop technologies and mobile devices, acting as a portable, online workspace to store files, play media and manage your office documents. Version 1.0, still in beta, is overdue, but it shouldn't be long now.

IT administration tools

Some categories of open-source software are of interest mainly to a niche set of users, such as network administrators or Web developers. That's fine; it just means that these tools are correctly tuned for their audience, and everyone else can turn to the next page. Or as Abraham Lincoln said, "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like."

For IT administrators, the most exciting release this year may be Samba 4.0, which is supposed to have active directory support, an internal Kerberos server and full NTFS semantics for sharing back ends. You might have heard all that before, as Samba has been stalled for a while, but the development team is actively working on it now, and there's a new build as of late February.

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