OpenPetra: Administer Your Organization With Open Source Advantage

open-petra-logoOften non-profit organizations or small scale businesses have to buy costly administrative software packages to run their organization. It is a heavy cost burden for such organizations with low budgets. Selected as the “Project of the Month” for the month of May by SourceForge, OpenPetra is an outcome of an effort keeping in mind such organizations.

OM International, a Christian mission agency, wrote a software called PETRA. Developed during the nineties, the package was used in 80 offices of the organization located worldwide. To take the advantage of the open source community and to use the tool for the benefit of others who needed it, OM decided to change it to Open Source development process, which motivated the existing developers and also increased the potential for the software. OpenPetra is the outcome of the newly adopted development process.


The OpenPetra project offers a free and easy to use administrative software package for non profit-organizations. It has multi-user, multi-site, multi-currency, multi-language support and much more. It has six modules integrated into it . The following is a brief description of the modules:

1. Partner Module: The main functions of this module are to manage subscriptions, contacts and bulk mailing as well.

2. Finance Module: This module maintains general ledger, payable accounts, double-entry book keeping, budgeting and donation processing . It has the support for almost all currencies.

3. Personnel Module: This module manages personnel information for both short-term and long-term employees as well as process new job applications.

4. Conference Management: This module manages group assignments, accommodation and allocation, arrangement of arrivals and departures as well as attendance tracking.

5. Financial Development: This module manages project funding.

6. System Manager: This module is used by system administrator(s) to manage user accounts.

From 2004 to 2009, the code was developed code on .NET platform. In June 2009 OpenPetra was published under the GPLv3. Now OpenPetra has standard tools and open source databases for better development and implementation. OpenPetraSetup requires Windows XP (or later) or Linux, and uses about 24 MB of disk space. The backend must be a Relational Database Management System. Currently supported are PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite.

An important fact is that the software is modeled after an application that has been in use for an extended period of time in a sizable, global non-profit organization.

Though this promising project has areas of improvement, it has great potential for easing the administration of various kinds of organizations.

[via SourceForge Blog]

Debian Wheezy Moving To Linux 3.0


With Linux 3.0 on its way, the Debian developers have decided to move the Debian Wheezy development from Linux 2.6 to Linux 3.0.

Debian Wheezy is the successor to Debian Squeeze, which was was released earlier this year. Currently it is in development and is available from Sid.

As I have mentioned in the earlier article, Linux 3.0 brings no changes to the API or the ABI. So, moving Wheezy from Linux 2.6 to Linux 3.0 will not be a very difficult task. The developers will have to shorten the version string in their scripts to account for the new version system though.

The challenges to moving to Linux 3.0 are modifying the build scripts and some other programs which uses the version number. Build scripts usually check for a prefix of either 2.4 or 2.6. To account for Linux 3.0, the scripts will have to be modified.

Another challenge will come from the change in the version number system. Prior to Linux 3.0, the kernels are given a version number which consists of three numbers for example Linux 2.6.39. With the new system, the third number has been done away with and the version number consist of only two numbers for example Linux 3.0.

The modifications required to be made to the scripts and programs to account for these are not very big modifications. So, moving to Linux 3.0 should go smoothly for Wheezy. The Linux 2.6 packages will no longer be maintained after it has Wheezy has been moved to Linux 3.0.

The kernel team will not maintain linux-2.6 vs linux-3.0 packages. We will change the binary metapackages whose names include ‘2.6’ into transitional packages, to be removed after ‘wheezy’, and we may rename the source packages linux-2.6 and linux-latest-2.6.

You can read the announcement here.

Linux 3.0 RC Released With “Absolutely No Big Changes”

Earlier today, Linux announced the release of Linux 3.0 RC. This puts to rest the speculation over whether the next version will be 2.8 or 3.0 after Linus revealed that he is ending Linux 2.6.x series. According to Linus, he has ended the Linux 2.6.x series because the numbers has become too large. Linux 2.6.x has been in development for seven years and has seen 39 releases. However, there is a reason for choosing the version number 3.0 over 2.8 – Linux is entering its third decade of development.

I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longer comfortably count as high as 40.

And thankfully, the feared features Linus planned for this release  – “breaking absolutely everything and rewriting the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing version of Visual Basic” – did not make it to this release. (Read this if you do not get it.)

Jokes aside, perhaps the biggest news with this release is that there is absolutely no big feature. Yes, that is right, Linus just had renamed Linux 2.6.40 to Linux 3.0. This release is as simple as that – no magical new feature or no breaking old stuffs. This does not mean that Linux 3.0 will have no new features. There will be only small incremental new features.

Explaining why he has decided not to make any major change to reflect the major change in the version number, Linus wrote that he does not want to do a KDE 4 or a GNOME 3 by introducing changes in the API and the ABI. So, instead of big changes, Linux 3.0 will be developed in the same was Linux 2.6 was developed – small incremental changes.

Although, nothing will break at the kernel level, some third part scripts and applications will break because of the change in the major number and the new versioning system. These should be very easy to fix though.

The final version of Linux 3.0 is expected later this summer.

You can read Linus’ announcement here.

FOSS Friday – Fedora 15 Released, Linux Mint 11 Released And More

This week, we saw a lot of releases ranging from the release of Fedora 15 “Lovelock” to Puppy Linux Wary 5.1.2. Here are the main events that took place this week in the world of Free and Open Source Software.

Fedora 15 “Lovelock”

Six months after the release of Fedora 14, Fedora 15 “Lovelock” was released earlier this week. This is a very significant release not only for Fedora but for GNOME as well because it is the first major Linux distribution with GNOME Shell as the default desktop. Although, GNOME Shell is the most obvious change in Fedora 15, there are also a number of improvements under the hood such as the adoption of systemd, consistent network naming scheme etc. Read our coverage of the release for more details.

MeeGo to get Wayland this year

This is big news for both MeeGo and Wayland. The chief developer and creator of Wayland has announced that MeeGo might switch over to Wayland by October this year. Wayland is a replacement for the X Display Server which is more efficient and does not have the baggage that comes with X’s legacy supports. Refer this article for more details.

KDE SC 4.7 Beta was released for testing

KDE continues to develop the KDE platform at a very rapid pace. This week, they have released the first beta of KDE SC 4.7. The release has three important new features – improved offline search in Marble, GRUB2 integration in KDM and OpenGL-ES 2.0 support for KWin. The final release of KDE SC 4.7 is expected in June this year. Read this article for more details.

Linux 2.6.x series to end

Linus Torvalds has expressed his desire to end the current Linux 2.6.x series. The Linux 2.6.x series has been in development for more than seven years and has seen 39 releases till date. Torvalds said that the number has become too big and he is considering changing it to either 2.8 or 3.0. The suggestion to bump the version number to 3.x has been gaining good support as it can also mean the third decade of Linux development. More here.

Linux Mint 11 “Katya” Released – No Unity or GNOME 3

Linux Mint 11, codenamed “Katya” was released earlier this week. One of the main talking points of the release was not a new feature – rather the lack of it. Although Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint 11 has been released with the classic GNOME desktop. Linux Mint 11 also comes with many improvements such as better software manager and update manager. Read more here.

Puppy Linux Wary 5.1.2 Released

Puppy Linux Wary is yet another Linux distribution that was released this week. Although it is not nearly as popular as Fedora or Linux Mint, Puppy Linux has its own dedicated followers. The release is based on Puppy Linux 5 and has better hardware detection and a new experimental non-root account. Read more here.

Real time strategy game, 0 A.D., reaches 5th Alpha

0 A.D. is a real-time cross-platform strategy game which has been in development for sometime. A fifth alpha of the game has been released and it has better lighting in the game, new map, new faction etc. You can read more about it here. You can also read our previous article on 0 A.D. here.

MeeGo Could Switch Over To Wayland This Year

Even since Canonical decided that they are planning to ditch and are planning to switch over to Wayland, I have been quite excited about the possibilities of Wayland. Today, we have more Wayland related good news – MeeGo might switch over to Wayland before the year ends.

What Wayland?

Wayland is a display server protocol for Linux. Compared to X (which is used in all Linux systems with a GUI right now), Wayland provides a much more simpler and efficient method. Wayland allows the windows manager to communicate directly with both the applications and the hardware, thus eliminating the need for X.

Wayland in MeeGo

The development of Wayland started in 2008. From its early stage of development, the MeeGo project has been been interested in Wayland. However, Wayland came into the limelight when Canonical announced that they will move Ubuntu away from to Wayland.

Kristian Hosberg, the developer who started the Wayland project, gave a presentation at the 2011 MeeGo  Conference  in which he said that they could switch MeeGo to Wayland in October when the  release  of MeeGo 1.3 is scheduled.

Another option before them is to wait for the release of Qt 4.8. Qt 4.8 has a backend abstraction called “lighthouse”. Lighthouse officially makes Qt compatible with Wayland. Qt 4.8 is expected to be released in the next few months. So, even if they decide to wait for Qt 4.8, we are looking at Wayland making its way to MeeGo before the end of this year.

This is very exciting news for all of us who are looking forward to the day when will be replaced by Wayland. If MeeGo switches over to Wayland, it will be the first operating system to do so. There has been demos of Waylands, no doubt, but this will be the first major implementation of Wayland.

You can read about Kristian Hosberg’s entire presentation at Phoronix.

KDE Software Compilation 4.7 Beta Released

KDE has released the first beta of the KDE Software Compilation 4.7. KDE SC 4.7 Beta has some pretty interesting features. Here are the main new features that has been included in this release:

  • KWin supports OpenGL-ES 2.0
  • KDM can interface with GRUB2
  • Marble supports offline search


Now let us take a look at these features in a little more details.

KWin supports OpenGL-ES 2.0

OpenGL-ES (OpenGL for Embedded System) 2.0 is a subset of the OpenGL 3D graphics API designed for embedded devices. OpenGL-ES works for both 2D and 3D graphics.

KWin is the default windows manager for KDE SC. The OpenGL-ES 2.0 support, opens up the possibility of using KDE Plasma on embedded devices such as mobile phones, PDAs etc. The OpenGL-ES support is a very important milestone for KDE.

KDM can interface with GRUB2

KDM (KDE Display Manager) is a graphical interface for logging in users. Although it can be used without KDE SC, it is generally used with the KDE Software Compilation.

GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) is a bootloader which supports the multiboot specifications it allows users to choose between different operating systems to boot into. It is generally used with Linux to dual boot with Windows or another distribution.


In KDE SC 4.7 Beta, support for GRUB2 has been added. What this means is that when restarting, the user can choose which operating system to boot into automatically.

Marble supports offline search

Marble-logo Marble is a virtual globe developed by KDE. Aside from Earth, Marble also supports the Moon, Mars and some other planets.

KDE SC 4.7 Beta includes Marble 1.2. Marble 1.2 improves upon Marble 1.1, which supports offline search for cities, by adding offline search by streets, house numbers and points of interests. The data required for this is huge without any doubt. So, the data is available in smaller packages divided by regions.

As it has just been released, KDE SC 4.7 Beta is not yet available for any of the major Linux distributions. Updates are expected to be available in the next few days for those who want to help out by testing it.

You can read more at the release announcement.


Linux Mint 11 “Katya” Released – No Unity Or GNOME Shell

Just a few minutes ago, Linux Mint 11 “Katya” has been released. Linux Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu which comes with the restricted packages that are not installed in Ubuntu such as audio codecs, video codecs, Flash etc. In short, Linux Mint is an Ubuntu derivative aimed at the new users.

New Features

Linux Mint 11 is based on Ubuntu 11.04 but it does not use Unity. It does not use GNOME Shell either – it still uses the classic GNOME 2 desktop. This makes Linux Mint a viable choice for the many people who do not like either Unity or GNOME Shell.


Software Manager in Linux Mint 11

The Software Manager in Linux Mint 11 has received a lot of improvements. Not only does the new Software Manager look good – it is also more functional. The applications are now given a more accurate description. This is important as most of the Linux Mint users are likely to be new to Linux and would not know all the applications available. The search feature has also been improved to give more accurate results.


The Update Manager in Linux Mint 11 has been given a performance boost. The three steps used by the previous Update Manager has now been reduced to just one in this release. In the previous versions of the Update Manager, it first checks the internet connection, downloads the packages rules and then check for package updates. In the new Update Manager, the package rules are embedded in the Update Manager itself so that it does not have to be downloaded every time. When there is a change in the rule, an update for the Update Manager is released. The dependency handling has also been improved in the new Update Manager. This makes it easier to fix broken packages.

Linux Mint 11 has a new command called apt-download. What apt-download does is downloads the package along with the dependencies and store them locally. I am still not sure when this could be useful.

Changes in the default applications

Here is a brief list of the changes in the default applications in Linux Mint 11:

  • LibreOffice replaces
  • gThumb is the default photo viewer.
  • Banshee is the default music player.
  • Gwibber has been removed.

Looks And Theme


Linux Mint 11 “Katya” Desktop



Linux Mint 11 uses the same theme as Linux Mint 10. However, it comes with a new default wallpaper. Those who have used Ubuntu 11.04 will also notice that Linux Mint 11 also uses the overlay scrollbars.

The Linux Mint team has decided to remove the plymouth boot screen. Instead of the animated boot screen, Linux mint will only have a black screen. According to the developers, because the speed at which many computers boots, the boot screen animation is not generally visible or if visible does not complete the animation giving it an unprofessional look.


You can download Linux Mint 11 “Katya” through torrent. The links are given below:

Linux Mint 11 32-bit DVD

Linux Mint 11 64-bit DVD

Linux Mint 11 32-bit CD

Linux Mint 11 64-bit CD

Note: The CD images does not contain the restricted codecs.

Fedora 15 “Lovelock” Has Been Released

Fedora-logo Today the final stable release of Fedora 15, codenamed Lovelockhas been released. Coming six months after the release of Fedora 14, Fedora 15 continues to bring the latest bleeding edge software to users.


Fedora 15 is a very interesting release for both users and developers. Let us take a brief look at some of the new features of Fedora 15 Lovelock.

GNOME 3 with GNOME Shell as default desktop

With Fedora 15, the GNOME stack has been updated to GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell is now the default desktop. Fedora 15 is probably the first major Linux distribution to ship with GNOME 3.

The Ubuntu users did not like the introduction of Unity in Ubuntu 11.04. Let us see how the Fedora users respond to GNOME Shell.

In case you are not a GNOME user, Fedora has that covered as well with KDE SC 4.6 and Xfce 4.8.

New filesystem BTRFS

BTRFS is a new filesystem which is being actively developed. The installer in Fedora 15 now includes the option install Fedora 15 with BTRFS as the default filesystem. This option is not available on the live images though. It is recommended that users should not try BTRFS on production machines.

systemd finally included

systemd has been finally included in Fedora 15. systemd is a system and session manager for Linux which gives better performance using aggressive parallelization. Here too Fedora 15 is the first among the major Linux distributions to adopt systemd.

Dynamic firewall

Fedora 15 has a new dynamic firewall which makes it possible to change settings without restarting the firewall. An immediate effect of having a dynamic firewall is that it will make persistent network connections possible and make remote printer discovery easier.

LibreOffice replaces

Like many other Linux distributions, Fedora 15 has dropped and replaced it with LibreOffice. The user interface of LibreOffice and are almost identical. So, users will not have any trouble adapting to the new application.

For the complete feature list of Fedora 15, refer to this page.

Download Fedora 15

You can download Fedora 15 from here.

However, it is recommended that you download using torrent. As Fedora 15 has just been released, the direct download could be slow right now.

Sources: Fedora Mailing List, Digitizor, Phoronix

FOSS Friday: Ubuntu Developers Summit Oneiric Concludes, Linux 2.6.39 Released

This week in the world of Free and Open Source Software, we had a lot of interesting things taking place. The Ubuntu Developers Summit – Oneiric had concluded and we now have an idea of what to expect from Ubuntu 11.10. We also saw the release of Linux 2.6.39 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 this week.

PiTiVi Video Editor and Computer Janitor dropped from Ubuntu 11.10

For the Ubuntu 11.10 development cycle, two applications have got the axe. PiTiVi was removed because not many people use it to do video editing works. Another reason seems to be the fact that it has not been the most stable of applications and have been known to crash quite a few times. The other application, Computer Janitor, has been dropped because it is deemed not user-friendly and dangerous.

You can read more about it here.

Deja Dup To Be Installed By Default In Ubuntu 11.10; High probability of Thunderbird replacing Evolution

At the UDS-O, it has been decided that the backup tool Deja Dup will be included by default in Ubuntu 11.10. This is great news for users as a backup tool is a very important application. Yes, users can always install it from the repository, but including it by default exposes it to more people who would have never discovered it otherwise. Read more about it here. You can also read our guide to using Deja Dup here.

There is a strong possibility that Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client could replace Evolution. The decision has not been made yet as works are going on to integrate Thunderbird with Unity. If it goes as planned, Thunderbird will replace Evolution. Development of Ubuntu 11.10 will, however, start off with Evolution as default. Read more here.

Linux 2.6.39 Released

Linus Torvalds had announced the release of Linux 2.6.39. This was a relatively small update but includes a few important features. The Radeon driver had been updated to support AMD’s Cayman series of GPUs. Users will also appreciate the improved performance of the EXT4 file system that the update has brought. You can read more about it here.

Ubuntu Studio chooses Xfce over GNOME

Ubuntu Studio has decided that they will use Xfce in its next release instead of GNOME. According to the announcement, neither GNOME Shell nor Unity are suitable for the target users of Ubuntu Studio. A safe upgrade path will be provided for the current users when Oneiric is released. Find out more details here.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Released

Six months after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, RHEL 6.1 has been released. The update is said to bring improved stability, scalability and p[performance. A number of new features has also been added of which the improved virtualization seems the most exciting. You can find out more details about it here.


Unity 2D Ported To openSUSE

Whether you like it or not, Unity is here to stay and it looks like developers from other Linux distributions want it as well. openSUSE developer Nelson Marques has announced that Unity 2D is up for inclusion in the GNOME:Ayatana repository in the openSUSE Build Service.

Marques has already got Unity 2D working on openSUSE and has posted screenshots of Unity 2D running in openSUSE.

According to Marques, many of the features of Unity 2D, such as the launcher auto-hide and the workspace selector are already working. He has also implemented transparency in Unity 2D by turning on the compositing in Metacity.

Not everything seems to be working just yet, though. The AppMenu, also called the Global Menu, is not yet working. Texts are also missing from underneath the icons in the Unity dash.

The final plan for Marques is to port Unity (not Unity 2D) to openSUSE. To achieve that the performance of Compiz in openSUSE will have to be improved.

Here are some more screenshots of Unity in openSUSE. You can see more screenshots here.

On the completion of the port, Unity and Unity 2D will be available for openSUSE users through the GNOME:Ayatana repository.

openSUSE users, do you like the idea of using Unity?