Category Archives: FOSS

FOSS Under OS X: Filezilla

A FOSS program that I use regularly is Filezilla, an FTP client. This is a cross platform client with versions that run on Windows, Linux, BSD and OS X. It supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It has a very easy to use interface, yet the client has many features.

Below is a sample screen shot of the OS X version of Filezilla. To connect to another system that is running a FTP server, fill in the fields for Host, Username and Password at the top of the page, then click on Quickconnect. Once connected, the right side of the user interface will be populated with data from the server you have connected to. The working directory can be easily changed on either your system or the remote server. Files can be transferred in either direction by selecting the file in either the left or right lower windows, then simply dragging and dropping the file onto it’s destination in the other window.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.34.18 PM

There is extensive documentation on the Filezilla web site including a tutorial. I have been using Filezilla on Linux and Mac OS X for over three years. I find it to be particularly useful when I need to upload/download a file from a server. The code is actively being supported with multiple updates each year.

There are commercial FTP clients for the Mac, but I have been able to do everything I wanted with this Free Open Source program.


To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page


FOSS Under OS X: SeaMonkey

One FOSS program that I recently came across is SeaMonkey. I
originally looked at SeaMonkey as an HTML editor, but I found that
SeaMonkey is far more than that. It is, as it’s web site says, a
“web-browser, advanced e-mail, newsgroup and feed client, IRC chat, and HTML editing made simple—all your Internet needs in one
application”.

SeaMonkey is built on the open source Mozilla Gecko engine, the same code which underlies the highly successful siblings Firefox and
Thunderbird. SeaMonkey benefits from the cross-fertilization with
these other projects, by gaining (and contributing) new features and
the ongoing security updates which are a modern necessity.

SeaMonkey features include:

  • Browser – all of the common features: sync across devices,
    tabbed browsing, session restore, add-ons, themes, popup blocker
    and a safe mode
  • Mail & Newsgroups – tabbed mail, junk mail controls,
    multiple mail accounts, subscription to RSS and Atom feeds
  • Composer – WYSIWYG HTML editing, as well as HTML tag level
    editing
  • IRC chat – Multiple networks and channels are easy to keep
    track of in a tabbed interface
  • Web Development – DOM Inspector, JavaScript debugger

SeaMonkey is available for Windows, OS X and Linux. I have been
using SeaMonkey for a few weeks on my OS X Mac Mini, using it to
write articles on OS X for my blog. So far I have found it to be very user friendly in editing HTML documents.

I have tried SeaMonkey as an RSS client, and it works well. However
since I often want to bookmark full articles in my browser of choice
(Safari) for later use, SeaMonkey does not work well in my work flow
as SeaMonkey opens articles using the included browser. I still prefer the previously covered Vienna as my RSS client.

Since I am trying to stay with the OS X infrastructure to take
advantage of it’s integration, the only feature of SeaMonkey that I
am finding useful is the HTML editor.


Previously-Calibre

To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page


FOSS Under OS X: Calibre

I have been an avid reader for many years, and since getting an iPad
shortly after they were introduced in 2010, I have mostly been reading eBooks. A friend pointed out a really good FOSS application
Calibre – to manage those books that are not encumbered by DRM. I have found Calibre to be of great use.

Calibre is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tool for managing your eBook library that came into being in 2006. Currently there are over 3.5 million active copies of Calibre in use. The features that it provides includes:

  • Library Management
  • E-book conversion
  • Syncing to e-book reader devices
  • Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book
    form
  • Comprehensive e-book viewer
  • Content server for online access to your book collection
  • E-book editor for the major e-book formats

I run Calibre on my Mac Mini and I have begun to load Calibre with
all of my eBooks to make them more manageable. I can search my
library by author or genre, as well as keep track of which eBooks I
have not yet read. The program is available for Mac OS X, Windows
and Linux. If you have a large library of eBooks on your computer,
it may be something that you want to look into.


Previously-LibreOffice                                                             Next-SeaMonkey


To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page

FOSS Under Mac OS X: LibreOffice

Updated 06/21/16

I just saw a notice today that the new LibreOffice 4.3.1 (http://www.libreoffice.org) was now available. What better topic for this series, as this is probably the Open Source program, short of Linux itself, that I have been using the longest.

Well sort of, LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010 and OpenOffice is what I began using years ago. OpenOffice was created as an Open Source version of the 1985 era StarOffice.
OpenOffice had been acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2000 and was being developed by them. The Oracle Corporation bought Sun Microsystems early in 2010, and in September of that year LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice under The Document Foundation. Oracle announced in April 2011 that it was ending OpenOffice development and it donated the OpenOffice code to the Apache Software Foundation later that year.

LibreOffice is an office program suite similar to Microsoft Office which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, diagram/drawing, math and database components. The word processing, spreadsheet and database components all support LibreOffice Basic, which is similar to Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). LibreOffice uses the international ISO/IEC Standard OpenDocument file format as the native file format, and it supports many other office suite file formats through the use of Import/Export filters.

As the LibreOffice web page says “LibreOffice is a powerful office suite; its clean interface and powerful tools let you unleash your creativity and grow your productivity. LibreOffice embeds several applications that make it the most powerful Free & Open Source Office suite on the market: Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine, Draw, our drawing and flowcharting application, Base, our database and database frontend, and Math for editing mathematics.

With it being able to import and export MS Office files, it is a very economical (free versus $399 for Office Professional 2013), yet
powerful way of creating and working with business files. It is the only spreadsheet and presentation tool I have had on my Mac for many years, and I have had no problems with reading or editing Excel or PowerPoint files I have been sent. A user generated comparison between LibreOffice and MS Office is available which gives an overview of how the features of the two compare.

LibreOffice is available for the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X platforms at http://www.libreoffice.org.

Updated 6/18/15 – LibreOffice is now available directly from the Mac App Store! This means you can download and install LibreOffice, then get updates automatically like with other OS X Apps. Two editions are available: LibreOffice from Collabora (a consultancy firm for open source software based in the UK) and  LibreOffice Vanilla. The Collabora edition costs $10 while the Vanilla version is free. The Collabora version is targeted at the enterprise user. Read more here.
Updated 12/9/15 – One thing to keep in mind with LibreOffice is that there are add-ons that can expand the scope of features available [2].

References:
[1] Template Management in LibreOffice 5 – added 10/27/15
[2] 6 useful LibreOffice extensions – added 12/9/15

Related Articles:

  1. 9 Effective LibreOffice Writer Tips to Boost Your Productivity – added 6/21/16

Previously-Vienna                                                                                  Next-Calibre

To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page


FOSS Under OS X: Vienna

UPDATED 3/29/15

I have been a long time advocate of Free Open Source Software (FOSS). Certainly most if not all of the software I use with Linux computers fall into that category. In the case of my Mac Mini running OS X I have found several FOSS programs useful as well. In this, and future posts, I want to share these programs with you.

I try to keep up with several topics. Of course I follow many Twitter accounts for this purpose, but I also fall back on the venerable RSS feed to keep up with many Blogs. RSS for Web syndication has been around since 1999. This is useful as when you find a site that you like and want to follow, you can subscribe to the corresponding RSS feed and get each new post automatically in your RSS Reader instead of having to revisit the site manually to check for updates. Of course not all sites provide RSS feeds but many do. For instance, if I want to follow author Bob Levitus in The Mac Observer I can go to http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/rss/ and find the link to the RSS feed for his columns. As he published the new columns, I will see them in my RSS Reader.

The RSS Reader is the subject of this post. Vienna is a FOSS project for Mac OS X and is a RSS/ATOM Reader application. I have been using it now for a little over 6 months and I am quite satisfied with it. Vienna claims over 450,000 downloads so far so it is widely accepted. Once you install Vienna (Download the file from the website, double click on the resulting ‘.tar’ file in the Downloads folder, then drag the application from the Downloads folder over to your Applications folder) all you have to do is to click on the RSS feed link or icon ico-rss  on a web page and Vienna will be started and the feed added to it. From then on, every time you start Vienna, the latest posts for all of the sites you have subscribed to will be loaded.

Once Vienna has the latest articles they can be viewed and read much like in an email client. Unread article titles appear in bold until they are read. As you select articles, you see a summary of the content in the split screen. Double clicking on the article in Vienna will open the full article in your Web Browser. Folders can be created and subscriptions grouped together so that all of the RSS feed for OS X can be in one folder. Those for Linux can be in another etc.

Using this I can, in a few minutes, review new posts and select which I wish to read. If you are interested in trying this FOSS application, go to Vienna is a FOSS project.

One great source of RSS articles is Apple itself. Go to the Apple Support RSS Feeds page to find over 40 separate feeds (some articles appear in more than one feed) and three categories. Some other good RSS feeds for the Mac user are:


Next-LibreOffice


See the directory to all Mac OS X posts