"We needed technical guidance and support and thanks to the team at Three Rock we now have streamlined processes and can manage the project with ease."

Steve Sherlock: Managing Director 'Oodles' car hire comparison web site

Today's Tech News

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Three Rock - Useful Open Source Software
What is Open Source Software

The term 'Open Source' generally means that the source code that makes up a piece of work is open for the world to see. This means that the developer(s) who created the program have kindly donated their work for public scrutiny, use and amendment.

In order to preserve some level of decency and fairness in these troubled times, the concept of open source is actually protected legally by licensing arrangements. These licenses set out guidelines of fairness to ensure what was donated for free can not be used directly by others to make profit.

Licences such as the GNU General Public License (GPL) or the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) set out the terms under which users can use the open source software and how others may help contribute to projects in the same light of benevolence as the originators of the project.

A comprehensive list of open source license types can be found here Open Source Initiative Licenses List

 
Firefox and Thunderbird

No, it's got nothing to do with Lady Penelope and her driver (Parker). Thunderbird is an email application that focusses on doing one job very well. You know the way the Microsoft Outlook application has a calendar, and a task list and a kitchen sink attached, well Thunderbird doesn't. It allows you to read, process, sort, filter and tweak how you operate your email. There's no better mail reader around. Click here to visit the Mozilla site. Firefox is probably one of the best web browsers on the market. Ooops, did I say market? Guess it's not a market if it's free! If you're set in your ways and have been brought up on Vegemite and Internet Explorer all I can say is please open your mind just a little. Once you've tried it for a day or so, you'll be clicking the orange fox for a long time to come.

 
Open Office
OpenOffice is a free (as in open source) and full replacement for the Microsoft Office suite of products. Yes, that's right, free. No dollars, no yen, no euros. It is an amazing initiative that has produced amazing results. At the time of writing (May 2009) version 3.1 has been released. Once you've Opened your Office you won't look back. Click here to visit the OpenOffice.org site
 
Eclipse - The Developer's Dream
Eclipse has been a stalwart of the software development community since 2001, although for some it may seem like longer! Eclipse is an Integrated Development Environment originally designed to help Java developers get their work done. It has proved so useful over time that you'll now find plugins for every major programming language. Eclipse is a biggie to download, but installation is a simple unzip and you're laughing all the way to your next coffee. Click here to visit the Eclipse site
 
Gotta get Firebug
Firebug - If you develop anything for the web, your best debugging friend may be firebug. It's a whole lot of useful debugging tools rolled into one Firefox add-in.