Category Archives: Open Source Software

Mt. Kinabalu Summit Trail Map – using Inkscape

As most of you know, I am an Open Source supporter. Although I don’t know how to write code for software and application, I know how to get involve with the community – by using their software. It’s free, I don’t have to go to Center Point 3rd floor where I used to go, looking for pirated software, and I also contribute back to their community by sending them bugs. I think you should do the same too.

Anyway, yesterday I managed to create a very simple and basic graphic illustration of Mt. Kinabalu Summit Trail Map, using one of the best open source software for creating vector graphic – Inkscape. If you find out that the license for Adobe Illustrator might squeeze your pocket even more after the fuel price hike, then this is your choice. Just download their installation package and get your things running in few minutes.

Learning curve? Not as steep as I expected. I just learned the differences between 3 major photo and graphic extension (jpg, gif and png) for any of my works. By knowing the differences, you will then know how to optimize your photos and illustration in your blog for aesthetic purposes.

After getting some elbow grease (or maybe mouse-and-index-finger movement), I roughly made up a rough sketches of the Summit Trail of Kinabalu. But still, the information on the shelters (pondok), the huts and the peaks are correct.

I know, the illustration looks like very simple. I agree with you that any school children who are taught to use Inkscape will do better than me. But it is better than nothing. Now I don’t have to worry about getting graphic illustrator for the book. I just to learn smarter to create more attractive graphic like the one below…

Well, at least it’s a good start to visualize things that you could do in the future. It makes you work hard towards your goal.

OssBlogger.com – Another blog for Open Source community

Open Source LogoIf you have been following this blog long enough, you might have came across some of the blog post that I wrote in “Open Source Software” category. I am an Open Source Software fan and supporter, and have been trying to migrate all my computer softwares to Open Source.

As this blog has become an authority blog for Mount Kinabalu, writing a blog post about “geeky stuff” in between Majestic Kinabalu seems a little bit odd to me (not to say my reader). I have been thinking for quite sometime on having a separate blog about Open Source, but the timing was never quite right.

However, when Exabytes promote 50% discount for their new web hosting services, I decided to buy another blog hosting, dedicated to my journey to Open Source Software.

I would like to invite you to visit my new blog, OssBlogger.com. Hopefully you can benefit some writings in my blog posts – from an end user point of view. From now on, all my experiences with Open Source Software will have a new home.

As a start, you can read these 3 maiden post on Open Source Software:

  1. How I use Audacity to produce my first podcast interview
  2. Free Antivirus – Moon Secure Antivirus for Windows
  3. How to install WordPress blog in your computer with XAMPP

Would you like to join me in the community?

5 free personal financial software for you

I would like to share with you 5 free and open source personal financial software / personal money management software which I find it suitable for us who don’t really have a solid financial knowledge and background (like me). I used Quicken Money before, but I feel it a bit bloated and I don’t like using it illegally (yes, I use pirated copy. But that’s few years back).

If you are:

  1. A blogger who earn money from your blog, then you can use this software to record all the income and expanses incurred.
  2. A budget traveler who travel around backpacking, then some of the software also have the budget feature, which you can use to tailor your trip to fit your budget.

The good news is that all the software are free, no limitation, no adware and no spyware. All runs in Windows. However, as all of the software are ‘open source‘, you might face some ‘bugs‘ along the way of using it.

These are 5 most recommended personal financial software for you:

Buddi Buddi

Buddi is a simple budgeting program targeted for users with little or no financial background. It allows users to set up accounts and categories, record transactions, check spending habits, etc.

Buddi-screenshot

jGnash jGnash

jGnash is a cross platform personal finance application written in Java. jGnash is a double entry system with support for multiple currencies. jGnash can import Gnucash and QIF files. jGnash - screenshot

Money Manager Ex Money Manager Ex
Money Manager Ex is an easy to use, money management application. It is a personal finance manager. It can be used to track your net worth, income vs expenses etc. It runs on Windows and Linux currently with more ports planned. Money Manager Ex - screenshot
Grisbi
GrisbiGrisbi is a very functional personal financial management program with a lot of features. Brisbi - screenshot
Monex Monex
Personal finance manager based on double entry bookkeeping principles. Features: account tree view, transaction filtering, multiple currencies, multiple exchange rates, transaction scheduling and download of financial data. Monex -screenshot

How to choose which one?

Well, personally I like and use jGnash, as it is the closest to Quicken Money. Although it has less feature than Quicken, it still could give me what I want. I can track all my bank account (including my E-trade and Paypal) and can organize all my income/expenses with jGnash.

Money Manager Ex will be my second choice, as it is very similar to jGnash and the application is smaller.

Grisbi would become my third choice if jGnash and Money Manager Ex could not give what I want. I feel that Grisbi is a bit ‘sparse’…

Both Monex and Buddi is actually more to budgeting. I think those two are suitable for budget travelers who want to work out their budget for any trip.

Enjoy!

Malaysia Open Source Training Centre, Kota Kinabalu

I was surprised when I read a news today about this new centre in town. And, I am happy to know that Sabah state government is keen to migrate their department to open source. The opening of the centre was officiated by Resource and IT Development Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai. You can read the full story about the opening of the centre from New Sabah Times.

I also did some Googling on “malaysia open source training centre”. The centre came out number 4 in Google SERP, with the webpage mostly photos and some of the pages is still under construction. You can check out their webpage here.

Give me sometime. I will surely be there, just to see what they can do for Sabah open source community!

Touring the GIMP from TUX – free downloadable PDF

This article by Michael J. Hammel originally appeared in Issue 1 of TUX Magazine

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP) has been called “Photoshop for Linux”. While the GIMP is not just for Linux and is not an Adobe Photoshop clone, it is a very powerful image manipulation program. It is clearly on the other end of the spectrum from TuxPaint as far as capabilities.

In this first article, Micheal offers a tour of the cabilities. If you are like me, the GIMP seemed intimidating because it has so many capabilities. This article will help you get more comfortable with all the possible things you can do without getting buried in details. In subsequent articles we will explore some specific capabilities.

You can download the attached PDF from TUX website. Yes, it’s free.

Open Office 2.1 – Download your free copy now!

Open OfficeI have been using Open Office 2.0.2 for the past one year, and today, when I visited back OpenOffice.org, I found out that they have a new stable version, Open Office 2.1.

So, if you have been using an illegal copy/pirated version of MS Office (that you purchased for RM5 in Petaling Street), it’s time to change. You will be amazed on how Open Office can do MS Office job, considering that its FREE!

Open Source – The Basic Idea

Open Source InitiativesThe basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.

I am not a programmer. I don’t know how to read/write code, but I think that Open Source is the way of future software life.

Open source file archiver – 7-zip

I have been using a cracked copy of Winzip for the past 2 years, but I don’t think that is a good way. As I was also not be able to upgrade the software, I opted for Open Source Software. So far, the best open source file archiver that I have been using (since December 2006) is 7-zip.

7-zip is a file archiver with high compression ratio. It gives you the same function as Winzip and Winrar, but for you to use for free.

7-zip

The main features of 7-Zip

  • High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
  • Supported formats:
    • Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
    • Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
  • For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
  • Self-extracting capability for 7z format
  • Integration with Windows Shell
  • Powerful File Manager
  • Powerful command line version
  • Plugin for FAR Manager
  • Localizations for 63 languages

Personally, it’s the best alternative for Winzip and Winrar for me. I use to have both as my file archiver, but I am not really easy with illegal/cracked copy of the software. 7-zip did what I wanted and for a free software, I have no complain. It worked with both my OS, Windows XP and Xandros Linux.

Don’t have $ to buy Photoshop? Try GIMP

Wilber - GIMP IconYou can easily get a pirated copy of Adobe Photoshop CS2 here in Malaysia. I got mine for RM5 (less than USD2) from Petaling Street, few copies, few years back. However, most of the time, the installation DVD was corrupted, and the registration process was invalid. As I don’t have that much money to buy the original copy of CS2 (or even Elements), I decided to turn to open source for alternative. I found GIMP.

My experience with GIMP was also not a very good one. When I got the first installation copy from a bundle cd-rom of a computer magazine, it can’t even installed properly. I still remember, it was version 1.x, and it was about 2 years back. It was really buggy back then.
Over the years, it was really good for GIMP as it has evolved to become one of the most reliable application on photo editing. When the latest stable release of GIMP out (mine currently is 2.2.13), I have found that there are not much bug that could give me problem while using it. Million thanks to all the developers.

I would recommend GIMP for anybody who would like to have an options to their Photoshop. Get it here, for free:

http://www.gimp.org/

p.s. Do you know that you can use your Adobe Photoshop plug-in in GIMP? 😉

Switch your N|vu to KompoZer!

If you have been using N|vu to create your HTML based website, try to upgrade to KompoZer. KompoZer is actually N|vu, but the developers has fixed some bugs that comes with N|vu. So basically, you will get a “re badged” N|vu on your desktop!

N|vu >>>>>> KompoZer

In my opinion, it’s really good. Although there are some dispute on this bug-fixed N|vu and KompoZer issues in the forum, I don’t think it matters most to me. As long as I can edit my HTML files, get my website up into the server, and get my message across to Mount Kinabalu climbers from around the world, it is good enough. After all, it’s a free and open source software.

p.s. N|vu / KompoZer is an open source WYSIWYG HTML generator.