Project watcher update

So, after over two and a half year since its initial release, my Project Watcher is getting a massive update.

The old version has been “released” on March 7th, 2006. It contained a list of projects I was monitoring (you can see the old list in the post linked above).

in November 2007 in two posts (one, two) I tried to update the list starting from reporting what happened in those projects since the announcement but somehow got distracted (yea…).

So, now I’m finally doing the update and together with a minor selective list of updates on what happened with some of the projects listed there and what are the new ones.

We lost Americas Army for Linux/Mac which made me stop playing it, but there are rumors it may return with Americas Army 3.0. Since AA was a very important game as an example of what can be made for Linux, I hope it will return.

Attal and Boson are more or less in the state of coma. Attal did not release anything for two years, but latest updates in CVS are from 2 months ago and are related to the upcoming 1.0-rc3. Boson also did not release anything since Oct 2006, but latest changes are only 5 months old, so maybe…

The problem with both is that they base on QT3, and would probably require an upgrade to QT4 while such a massive upgrade is not the most motivational thing for a small team not actively working on the code, so it may be that we wont see those two anymore. Pity, cause they filed space of HOMM like and RedAlert like games pretty well.

Glest, Vega Strike, Nexuiz, TA Spring, UFO AI and Planeshift are alive and well with new releases every once in a while, but they differ in momentum, shape and size. Planeshift it a big project, with a lot of attention, Glest also is very active. Nexuiz is being developed in a slightly less “community” approach while Vega Strike was almost dead for 2 years before last major update which stimulated project very well.

Planeshift is overall very interesting project, probably the biggest gaming project in the open source world and the team is handling a MMORPG kind of game with amazing efficiency. I believe that everyone who’s interested in how open projects work should analyze this case. It’s one of the rare diamonds.

Danger from the Deep is still very young, and still didn’t get out of version 0.3, but is surprisingly playable, and with beautiful graphics and I can’t wait to next release (which should be soon cause trunk is a huge leap forward).

TA Spring is also very active, they have solid community and a high quality playable engine. I didn’t test the game for over a year now, but videos I saw show a huge upgrades in visual quality.

UFO AI is also alive once again with recent 2.3 release it gives a nice experience to those who miss original UFO games.

I do not track Legends too close, but they also are alive and running, and regarding Eternal-Lands its one of the most mysterious projects I’ve ever met with. I follow its development because I totally don’t understand how they operate. It seems to Slackware-like one-man project, with a great gaming experience that has an extremely solid community but I cannot understand the structure in which they work. Anyway, interesting project. Will keep following :)

New additions are YoFrankie! – game that uses Big Buck Bunny characters and is an experimental project for a game using Crystal Space + Blender Gaming Environment, Urban Terror – simple and highly playable multiplayer FPP game (you can meet stas and me there from time to time) and Battle of Wesnoth – great strategy game with mature gameplay and great community.

Regarding gaming/gaphic engines situation is pretty good. All projects are active. Crystal Space is post 1.0, Ogre3D passed 1.6 release, Blender is growing and does amazing experiments with projects like Big Buck Bunny, Elephant’s Dream and YoFrankie!, and GIMP finally started using GEGL and passed 2.6 release. Yake is somehow less active but they release 0.7 and I hope 0.8 will come out this year.

One big missing project here was Inkscape – vector graphic tool, the other is Irrlicht – yet another good 3d engine, both added.

InitNG seems to lost momentum for the reasons I don’t fully understand. It seemed everyone likes the concept, and that it’ll get a lot of support, but somehow no major distro picked it up, and it’s not gaining much attention this days. Reiser4 is still in “mm” tree, and for obvious reasons lost main developer, but another former employee of Namesys is maintaining the code and I still hope that it’ll land in mainline kernel one day since it really seems to be a huge and great concept for a file system.

Kernel is actively maintained and developed, I’m watching the leadership style of Linus with great respect. It keeps a great balance between new features and stability which allows Linux to get more visibility and gain momentum. I can’t wait 2.6.29 with Kernel Mode Setting.

X.org is also finally alive, and beside of several delays with releases, new features are coming with each of them. Currently X.org 7.5 is on its way with multitouch support. The next big things imho will be Gaillum3D and GEM. My new pet project from this land is Nouveau – open source Nvidia driver.

Xgl on the other hand is rather dead and AIGLX won the title, or at least that’s how I see the situation.

KDE4 is extremely active these days, and I’m reading planetkde.org every morning. It seems to be a routine that the project which has nothing to loose is doing much more exciting things. KDE has been loosing ground for several years and Gnome took over almost all distros. And KDE with KDE4 is now doing more drastic and exciting steps each month than Gnome did in last 2 years. I’m recompiling KDE every 2-3 weeks and I see huge improvements. They found a good formula for experimenting and it seems that KDE4.2 and then KDE4.3 will totally rock. KDE4 is implementing concepts like Zoomable User Interface, Plasma widgets (copied by Windows 7 devs recently), Extenders, Nepomuk Semantic Desktop, and zillion other experiments that are worth watching. At the same time watching Gnome is more than boring. :/

Amarok is getting near to its 2.0 release, which I’m a bit confused about. I love Amarok 1.x and I believe it’s the very best music player on earth (Songbird – you’re the second, but you have to learn from them a bit…) and UI of Amarok 2 is too different, but maybe its a matter of habit and I’ll get use to it.

Krusader is working on their 2.0, but since I don’t use KDE as a main desktop these days, I don’t use Krusader either. But it should be a nice addition for pro’s who find Midnight Commander their favorite file manager ;)

GCC is actively developed with 4.4 planned early next year, but I don’t see them doing really big things now. Performance, which is probably the single most user-visible expectation is not getting too much love and it doesn’t to be a major case for the project. Maybe with 4.5?

MPlayer still failed to release 1.0 and with obsolate UI toolkit and several bugs I failed to fix, they almost forced me too look for something new. VLC – here I come. VLC is multiplatform, QT4 based, powerfull player which I’m currently using on all my platforms and machines :)

Gentoo is having hard time and my prediction that with growing CPU performance and net bandwidth it’ll become more and more popular was wrong. Currently Gentoo is trying to restructure itself and I hope they’ll succeed since I find their project great learning of how Linux work and a great server platform (I like them way more than Debian).

Ubuntu is still gaining more visibility and for mainstream its becoming THE linux distro. It’s getting regular updates, has a great and unique community model but for last several releases seems to be slowing down. Not only nothing big happened during last 3 releases, but they even did not make any major polish improvements (upstart is still not used to its potential, pulseaudio is still non consistent with UI, compiz is exactly the same as 3 releases ago, performance and boot time slowed down) – generally, Ubuntu is a great distro, but it received only minor updates during last 2 releases and from the average Joe point of view is a bit stalled (I know, a lot is going on in Mobile and Server…). I hope for 9.04 to really shake things.

Slack is probably the most incredible one-man project on earth and I love the concept of three open source non-profit and community based distros – Slack, Debian and Gentoo – driving the ground work of what Linux is. (while three others – OpenSUSE, Fedora and Ubuntu are driven by companies). I like this as a base of Linux distro land.

OpenSUSE is preparing their 11 release and I did help in translation phase. I find them being the most beautiful Linux distro and I watch their development carefully.

I added Fedora, which I didn’t like for years, but now I appreciate how much they do to polish the rough corners of Linux experience and I believe they’re crucial to the success of Linux as a whole.

Ardour is active and alive. Ardour 2 is the best audio workstation I’ve ever used and they’re working on Ardour 3 now which should be even better :)

On Internet things are also going pretty well. Flock released 2.0 (which my girlfriend loves!), Firefox is on the way for 3.1, new project is WebKit which is a nice addition to the pack and gained some early points from Trolltech and Google, Lightning is being planned for Thunderbird 3.0 release which should happen early next year, Bugzilla is near 3.2 release (although I never made it to finish my UI concept for it).

AwStats is a bit stalled, probably because of Google Analytics, but there are new releases, and its still my favorit web statistics tool.

Drupal is on its way to 7.0 which should be exciting, since 6.x is really good and in 7.x they focus on the biggest challenge – making UI more user friendly (plus adding some semantic web goodies). WordPress will release 2.7 soon and it’s an extremely polished piece of software this days. I’m using it everywhere I can :)

Dojo lost my vote somehow, and I now more watch Prototype and JQuery.

Jabber is still my favorite IM, but I don’t see a lot of progress around. We’re still waiting for audio/video support and it almost feels like nothing has changed since 2006 here. (yet my friend who’s more in jabber community claims there’s a lot of activity).

Psi released 0.12, I’m using it as my IM client on Mac and Linux, it’s working pretty well, but once more, not much activity around and still my biggest whine is not resolved (I want multicontacts!)

Azureus changed their business model and name (Vuze) and now they are doing some morph of bit torrent client and music/video platform. I switched to Transmission on Mac, but on Windows and Linux I still use Vuze.

MediaWiki is still THE wiki project, but they are totally wasting opportunity imho. It’s one of the major cases where a great tool is being only maintained for the needs of one project (Wikipedia) and somehow cannot get into modern “web 2.0″ world of professional UI and UX.

And Subversion lost its place because is not being developed at all. Mercurial is a king for me now :)

That’s all for today. :)

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