I am writing this entry for a couple of reasons, one of which may or may not be the state of extreme boredom I have been placed into following the reading of paper after paper on “the grid”. However, the primary reason is that I wanted to share with you all (well, the Mac-owner’s amongst you at least) some information about a few fantastic little tools I have come across.
BibDesk is an application for managing BibTex reference lists. While looking through a number of potential applications I discovered this open source application and it is fantastic. Time and care has been put into the user interface and it provides the ability to link a reference to either a local or remote file. Naturally there are many other features, however this was really all I needed from an application and I now have a simple, intuitive way to manage a list of all my references that is also easily searchable.
Kudos to Michael McCracken for creating such a useful application and for releasing it as open source. Check it out here.
UPDATE: An extra tip of the hat to Adam Maxwell and Christiaan Hofman for some major work they did on BibDesk (see comment from Michael.M)
I was after an application that behaved much like winscp. While I am a certified command line junkie, there are many times where making use of an FTP like program is just quicker and simpler. Sure, I could just use FTP, but I like the security of SSH and it is available by default on almost all the machines I use.
I came across a couple of candidates, but I eventually settled for Fugu. Released under a BSD-style license, Fugu does everything I need and more. Further, the icon is cool It even won an Apple design award in 2003 (and it’s easy to see why).
svnX is a front end GUI for inspecting and manipulating subversion repositories. I use it mostly to see what changes have been going on and what they were, but if you wish you can do much more. My needs are simple and svnX more than meets them. Again, another great little application that has been released to the community as open source.
I’ve left perhaps the best until last. A little while ago I got a little annoyed with some problems I was having with Jabber when using the Fire multi-protocol IM application. Don’t get me wrong, Fire is great and had served me well since the first day I fired up my first Mac (well, recent Mac anyway, not sure the original one could handle Fire :P). I had no intention of switching to something else and I was really just out to take a look at what was around.
Enter AdiumX. Making use of the Gaim codebase, AdiumX is full or personality, starting with the Duck that acts as its mascot. It received a special mention in Apple’s 2005 design awards and the whole application oozes polish and manages to capture a bit of the “mac spirit” itself.
Perhaps the best thing about AdiumX is the community support. The sheer volume of sound sets, dock icons, message styles, contact list styles, add-on scripts and so forth is amazing. As good as Fire is, I am never going back.
There you have it, four open-source applications that I couldn’t imagine my iLife without. For those Mac users out there, if you have an useful little app that you have found post a comment with a link to it, I’m always keen to hear about these sorts of things.