Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An early Glance at GIMP on OS X

Anders Carlsson two months ago started with a Cocoa port of Gimp so that it will finally run natively (without needing X11) on OS X. Now he's ready to show the first very early screenshots together with some information. Of course the source will be made public so any OS X developer will soon be able to help him out.

If this takes off, GIMPShop for Mac could be *even cooler!* Aquafied Cocoa

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 20, 2005 2.0 2.0 is here!

After Two *very long* years of saying "2.0 is on the way" and just a bit late for it's 5th birthday - 2.0 has finally been released!

From the OOo 2.0 Press Release 2.0: A Choice for A Real Change released the long-awaited version 2.0 of its free office suite for Windows, Mac and Linux on 20 October 2005 adding a new database module, support for the OpenDocument file format, a fresh user interface, and plenty of improvements and bug fixes. 2.0 is the first open source office suite to offer thorough support for the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) OASIS Standard. OpenDocument is an XML file format that was developed by OASIS, the international body for the development and ratification of e-Business standards. The OpenDocument format can be used by any office application without fear of vendor specific lock-in or onerous licensing terms and fees, with the confidence that documents can be viewed, edited and printed for generations to come.

The suite now also offers a database module, Base, to complement the word processor (Writer), spreadsheet manager (Calc), presentation manager (Impress) and drawing tool (Draw) modules. These give all users the tools they need to be productive in the modern world. Free for all, offers everyone the enduring freedoms to use, study, improve and share the software. Users can download it for free from the Project's Web page at

With a new user interface, 2.0 is easy to learn and use by the most inexperienced user, and is significantly more compatible with Microsoft Office files than prior versions. Supported by dozens of professional companies, 2.0 will be available in more than 60 languages. Able to run on Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris and other platforms, is increasingly the choice of businesses and governments throughout the world, and earlier versions have been downloaded over 49 million times since the project's inception.

The feature that I'm most happy to announce is the frigging *WORD COUNT* - something I've been begging the developers for since 1.0.3


Saturday, October 15, 2005


True to his word, Matthias, aka Dakira, has released his much anticipated version of GIMPShop for Windows.

You can read his announcement here.

And you can download his version of GIMPShop.

From his blog:

The installer includes a recent GTK (which should make GIMPshop work in Win98), the GTK WIMP Windows theme and the GIMP Deweirdifier plugin to make GIMPshop a single window application which usually is more comfortable in windows.

Get it here

Let the GIMPShopping begin!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The New GIMPShop - sorta

Well, it's finally here, folks! The newest version of GIMPShop has been compiled for Windows!

You can visit John's blog to pick up your copy. Or you can just click the linkidy here to download the latest GIMPShop for Windows.

For this version, you won't get all the tweaks that Matthias did for the last GIMPShop for Windows. the Deweirdifier, the built-in GTK, the WIMP theme... In fact, I wasn't able to get it to work on my machine. I might need to update my GTK, I dunno.

I wanted to let everyone know about the new version. Let me know of your sucessful installs, and/or your trials and tribulations.

Hopefully I'll hear back from Matthias soon, and we can have the ubercool Windows-ized version we all know and love.

I'll also be on the lookout for a new compiled Mac version as well.

UPDATE: 10-15-05

The Latest version of GIMPShop has been ported to Windows by Matthias!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New GIMPShop Update - part 2

As I posted earlier, Scott has released the source for GIMPShop based on GIMP 2.2.8.

Well, we will soon be able to use the said source to actually do stuff very soon. I've been in contact with Dakira, the compiler of the Windows version, and he says the new source should be up within a couple of hours - I'll edit this post with the link when he has it ready.

In the meantime, all my Linux brethern can compile GIMPShop from source. These directions from Suramya should be helpful.

UPDATE: 10-15-05

The Latest version of GIMPShop has been ported to Windows by Dakira.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blender3d - when two dimensions just aren't enough

I've been working with Open Source programs for over 2 year now, and I've been amazed at what people are willing to give away. Programs like and Firefox are completely awesome, and they allow users to get the job done when it comes to common computing tasks like web surfing and word processing. It kind of makes sense that people would be willing to help other people handle the basics, and even to do so in an feature-rich way, but 3D graphics, animation, and interaction? You mean people are handing out free and legal copies of a program that could easily cost a couple of grand? No way!

Yes Way!

Enter Blender. No, not literally, sir. Please get out of the food processor.

Blender is the first and only open source fully integrated 3D graphics creation suite on the market. It allows modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, real-time interactive 3D and game creation and playback with cross-platform compatibility. All of these features are available in one neat, easy to install, and freely downloadable open source program! It's available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Irix.

I'll have to admit, in reviewing this program, I'm a tad bit over my head. I am no 3D graphics artist, and I can't remember the last time I created a "The Incredibles" quality film on my PC, but with Blender, it is possible. (Okay, maybe not on *my* PC, but one with some horsepower, then it's possible.)

I'm going to include some artwork created using Blender just to wet your appetite before I start throwing features at you. (All graphics taken from the gallery of

These are just a few examples of what's possible through the use of this free 3D graphics program. Notice the use of light, shadow, and reflection. The photo-quality realism that can be made, as well as the smooth, colorful cartoon-like characters, mean Blender users can make whatever kind of graphics they need.

This graphics program has served different purpose than GIMPShop. GIMPShop is excellent at its job of a two-dimensional raster graphics creator/editor. Photo editing, jpeg making, Photoshop replacement, creation and editing of photorealistic 2d images - these all look like jobs for GIMPShop.

Blender 3D is different. It's 3D. That all-important difference does come with a price, not a financial price, of course, but one in terms of ease of use. It's easy to ride a bike, it's not hard to drive a car, it's very difficult to pilot a helicopter, and nearly impossible to fly to the moon. It's all a matter of what the user wants to be able to do, and how hard he is willing to work to learn how to do it.

Blender comes with a range of 3D object types including polygon meshes, NURBS surfaces, bezier and B-spline curves, metaballs, and vector fonts (TrueType, PostScript, OpenType). It offers 'smooth proxy' style catmull-clark subdivision surfaces, Boolean mesh functions, editing functions such as extrude, bevel, cut, spin, screw, warp, subdivide, noise, and smooth Soft selection editing tools for organic modeling. All of these tools serve as your base for modeling your 3D objects in the construct space.

If you don't know what any of those words mean, then Blender might not be for you. In fact, I only know half of them. Curves I recognize. But if you are a graphics engineer with a need of a program to use to make your next movie, then here you go.

Which brings us to animation. Blender can make some awesome movies - and games. Blender uses Armature (skeleton) deformation with forward/inverse kinematics, auto skinning and interactive 3D paint for vertex weighting, a non-linear animation mixer with automated walk cycles along paths, a constraint system, vertex key framing for morphing, with controlling sliders, a character animation pose editor, and a ton of other features. It has audio tools as well, including playback, mixing and editing support for sound synchronization.

Now for the *really* cool part. Blender can make GAMES, even without programming! Blender makes this possible by using a graphical editor for defining interactive behavior, so you can point and click your way to your own video game! It includes collision detection and dynamics simulation, so your characters won't "ghost" through each other. It's got some awesome lighting tools and reflection, as I mentioned before, so your characters can have real-time shadows and look in a mirror in the game, just like in your 3D pictures. And your games can be made into a stand-alone executable (i.e. program) with a plug-in. You can download and try out some of these Blender created games here.

Blender has a ton of other features, like powerful rendering tools, so you can take your 2D graphics and wrap them around 3D frames, and give the surfaces of your objects all kinds of depth and characteristics - like rough, reflective, shiny, dull, soft, hard, muted, etc.. It also supports a ton of different file formats, including jpg, png, iff, avi, tiff, psd, tga, sgi, gif, dxf, and more. Users can save an entire 3D scene or movie sequence in its native .blend format. So you don't have to have a ton of files lying around for one 3D scene, which is nice.

To sum up, Blender isn't for everyone. But then again, not everyone sits around making their own video games, movies, or 3D landscapes. However, if you ever want to get into graphics design, and you don't want to spend $3000 on a program to do it, look no further than Blender. You can learn more and grab your copy at the Blender homepage,

New GIMPShop for Windows coming soon

I have been told by Matthias (aka Dakira) - the porter of GIMPShop to Windows - that he will soon (within the next two days) - have the latest version of GIMPShop ported to Windows. To my knowledge, this will be the first port of GIMPShop to any platform based on GIMP 2.2.8. You can compile GIMPShop from source on any platform you wish (if you know how to do such things). But this will be the first publically available binary, (aka actual program you run instead of the source code) of the latest version of GIMPShop.

Latest version of GIMPShop in source code form

Direct downoad link

Home of the Windows port of GIMPShop

(And where you should look for the binary or .exe file for the latest version, but I will have it posted here as soon as I hear anything.)

UPDATE: 10-15-05

The Latest version of GIMPShop has been ported to Windows by Dakira!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Google Group

I just started a Google Group for GIMPShop - it will be another fun interactive way for us to share the latest info about GIMPShop and GIMPShop related news.

Join up today, and get the latest stuff in your mailbox, or usenet client.

This is just one more way to interact, added to our comments option, the Hello GIMPShop photo submission, and the Atom feed. Okay, the Atom feed isn't so much interactive, but it is very Web 2.0.

Google GroupsSubscribe to Gimpshop News
Browse Archives at

Friday, October 07, 2005

Share your GIMPShop Images


No, I mean - but, yeah, Hi to you too.

I've signed up for this great service, it's free, it's called Hello. It's kinda like an instant messenger, but it's works a lot better with photos than other IM clients. I signed up for it, so we could share the images we've created with GIMPShop. My name is gimpshop (pretty creative, huh?).

If you have a picture you've created or editted with GIMPShop, and you want to share it with the world, just send it to me, and I'll put it on my blog.

I don't want any porn, anything mean or violent, or anything illegal - so please make sure the picture is *yours* and actually editted by GIMPShop. And I do reserve the right to pick which ones I actually put up. Let's play nice guys.

I basically want to show off what GIMPShop can do, and what GIMPShop users - creative souls that you are - can do. 8^) Put any info you want about who you are, how you made it, what OS you used, or whatever, in the caption when you send it to me, and I'll be happy to include that too. (Again, I may reject the pic if I can't post the language.)

The Internet is interactive, and "We" are far more creative than "I" - so show the world what you can do. :-)

Thanks in advance for your submissions. I look forward to working with you.

And, if you don't already have GIMPShop - you can grab it here, just pick the Operating System you're using.

Download GIMPShop:
For Mac OS X
For Windows 98 +

For Linux (RPM)

For Solaris

GIMPShop in da NEWS!

Check it out! GIMPShop got reviewed in PC Magazine!

GIMPshop was created by Scott Moschella, who hacked the GIMP's interface so it would resemble Photoshop more closely. He made GIMPshop for Mac OS X, and his Web site hosts a beta version for Windows XP. We examined both.
(This article was picked up and carried by ABC News!)

It gives GIMPShop 3 out of 5 stars. I, of course, think they should have rated it higher, but at least they spelled the name right!

And the Inquirer out of England included GIMPShop in one of their hardware reviews.

Artículo de GIMPShop en español

(I'm not sure what it says, but it's about GIMPShop - ;-))

This article is a little old, but I wanted to give another shout out to the folks at OSDir for covering GIMPShop.

That's all for the moment - much more to come.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

AbiWord - When a Word Processor is all you need

This post's featured project is AbiWord. As the name suggests, AbiWord is a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word and WordPerfect.

A little history, AbiWord is part of a larger project known as AbiSource, which was begun by the SourceGear Corporation. The goal of AbiSource is the development of a cross-platform, open source office suite. They started with the project's word processor, AbiWord.

SourceGear released the source code to AbiWord, and a development community formed around it. SourceGear no longer works on the project, but the developer community continues to improvement and enhance AbiWord.

If you are looking for a small, stable, but still feature-rich word processor, look no further than AbiWord. The main claim to fame for AbiWord is the shear number of operating systems it supports. Unix, Linux, Windows 95 or later, Mac OS X, BeOS, and QNX Neutrino 6.2 (whatever that is :->). It's designed in such a way that making ports to different OSes is easy. It's also easy to port AbiWord to different languages.

But, most of us don't worry about porting software, we just want something that works well and works now. AbiWord is that too. AbiWord is fully compatible with Microsoft Word files, and has filters for many other formats, like WordPerfect,'s native format, HTML, RTF, and even Outlook Express email. Of course, you can always use AbiWord's own native format, which is based on XML.

AbiWord is not just a glorified text editor, either. AbiWord has advanced document layout options available for you. Tables, bullets, numbered lists, graphics, footnotes, endnotes, and styles can all be added to give your documents the professional and exciting look that you need them to have.

Common word processing features like spell-check, word count, and mail merge are all included, so updating a form letter or report with a database file or comma-separated/tabbed text files is a breeze.

Do you ever need to work in a language other than English? AbiWord has dictionaries available for over 30 languages, including some languages for which dictionaries are hard to find. And AbiWord can work with languages that are right-to-left as well as left-to-right, and supports them both in a single document.

How about server environments? Do you work on one? Do you think you ever might? If so, AbiWord works great for that too. AbiWord includes a powerful command line interface that allows you to generate form letters, print documents or convert documents to any file format AbiWord supports - all from the command line, if you are into that kind of thing.

AbiWord's System Requirements for the base program are so small, that it will amaze you. To run AbiWord on Microsoft Windows 95b or later, you need a 486dx or better processor, at least 16 MB RAM, and at least 10 MB of free HD space, (although the download is only 5 MB).

While the main AbiWord program is very compact and demands very few resources to run, the extensive plug-in architecture gives AbiWord the ability to be suited to your needs. The smaller base download is perfect for an environment with older hardware, or over-worked resources. But adding plug-ins just serves to increase the already impressive power of this small, free program.

The plug-in system was designed to give AbiWord all the functionality you expect from a modern word processor. Plug-ins include document filters, a thesaurus, image importers, a summarizer, and more.

To wrap things up, if you have MS Works and somehow didn't get MS Word, or if you use WordPerfect and want something small and light to work with Word documents, or if you just want something in between Word and WordPad, without having to pay a dime, you need AbiWord. And if you are building a system for someone else, and you want to give them a legal, powerful, lightweight word processor that won't kill their RAM, AbiWord is for you.

It's great for older or hand-me-down systems that are just used for basic computer functions. And it can be a life-saver if you have a bunch of Word or WordPerfect files, and don't have access to the actual programs. With as small of a footprint it has (mine, with all the plug-ins I could find on the website is just over 15MB), why not include AbiWord in all the systems you use, build, or sell?

You can learn more about AbiWord, and download the program and a bunch of optional plug-ins for it, at the AbiWord website.

Monday, October 03, 2005

7-Zip - The best Archive tool around

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the concept of compressing files. This is where one takes a file, or a group of files, and, using software like the one I'll talking about here, creates a new file that is smaller than the sum of the original files, but still contains all of the information and functionality of the original files. File compression is a popular way of reducing download times and making back-ups easier.

I'm sure many of the knowledgeable readers out there are already asking "Why do I need to download compression software at all? XP has it built in." I'm glad you asked.

7-Zip is open source, released under the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL). And, just like GIMPShop, it is a free download, although paid support is available.

7-Zip is the best archival/compression software on the market. It can create and unpack several formats of compressed archives, including its own 7z format, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB files. That's the first reason even XP users need 7-Zip. It works with formats that XP can't handle alone. It's even more valuable to 9x/NT users.

Another benefit of 7-Zip is that it is highly configurable, (a common feature in most open source projects). This allows users to balance the level of compression and speed. It has self-extracting capabilities for it's native 7z format. And 7-Zip is also available in over 40 languages.

Familiarity is another feature that makes 7-Zip a must-have. The interface of 7-Zip is designed to mirror the look-and-feel of Windows Explorer, so most users will barely know that that are opening anything other than a folder when they are using the program. It's almost like having the built-in ZIP function of XP on your 9x/NT machine. Even the most basic users will feel at home using 7-Zip.

7-Zip works on Windows 98 , 98SE, ME, NT, 2000, XP, and 2003. For those "GUI-is-for-WIMPs" guys out there, 7-Zip has a powerful command-line interface available as well which works on Windows and Linux (although WINE is needed for 7-Zip to function in Linux).

But by far, the best reason to use 7-Zip is the huge amounts of space you'll save when you archive your files using it's native format, 7z. I took this comparison test from their website,

Compression ratio results are very dependent upon the data used for the tests. We compared 7-Zip with some of the leading archivers: WinRAR 3.10, WinAce 2.3, CABARC 1.0, PKZIP 2.50.

FILE SET: The GIMP 1.2.4 for Windows after full installation (127 subfolders, 1304 files totaling 27,128,826 bytes). The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It can be downloaded from

Archiver Compressed size Ratio

7-Zip (7z format) 5445402 100%
WinRAR 3.10 6004155 110%
WinAce 2.3 6242424 115%
CABARC 1.0 6455327 119%
7-Zip (zip format) 9461621 174%
PKZIP 2.50 9842800 181%

As you can see, the 7z format is close to half the size of the old ZIP format. And about 20% of the size of the uncompressed files.

Even with the standard ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % smaller than the ratio provided by PKZIP,WinZip, and the XP built-in ZIP software. 7-Zip's native 7z format can provide a whopping 30-50% reduction in the size of the file when compared to the same files in the common ZIP format. That's the highest level of compression available today.

FILE SETS: Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7 for Windows and Google Earth 3.0.0616 for Windows after full installation.

Archiver Mozilla Firefox Google Earth
161 files
15,684,168 bytes
115 files
23,530,652 bytes
Compressed size Ratio Compressed size Ratio
7-Zip 4.23 (7z format) 4621135 100% 6109183 100%
WinRAR 3.50 5021556 109% 6824892 112%
CABARC 5.1 5131393 111% 7434325 122%
WinZip 10.0 beta (maximum-PPMd) 5277118 114% 8200708 134%
7-Zip 4.23 (zip format) 6222627 135% 8909446 146%
WinZip 10.0 beta (maximum-portable) 6448666 140% 9153898 150%

Some of the other benefits of the 7z format are: open architecture, strong AES-256 encryption, the ability to use any compression, conversion or encryption method, even ones that don't exist yet - since it can be developed by anyone who wants to work on it, support for files with sizes up to 16,000 Petabytes (That's 16,000,000 Terabytes or 16 BILLION Gigabytes!!!), Unicode file names, solid compressing, and archive headers compressing

With the glut of shareware/crippleware/trialware compression software available today, it may seem that building up about another "free" zipper would be a waste. But getting the highest compression available for free, without any annoying ads, appeals to "Upgrade to the full version", or spyware /adware, is truly something to write about.

There you will also find further details about the world's greatest archiving program, support information, and find out about other programs from the 7-Zip team.

More Open Source Links - A free full-featured office suite for Windows, Linux, and Solaris NeoOffice - ported natively to Mac OS X 10.2+
TheOpenCD - A collection of high quality Free and Open Source Software for Windows. (GIMP is included on this CD.)
Nvu - A WYSIWYG HTML Editor for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X

Audacity - The only audio editor you'll ever need - A free expandable Audio Editor for Windows, Linux, and Mac (OS 8 - 9.22 and OS X 10.2 and later)

Firefox - An *AMAZING* free, fast, stable, secure, extensionable web browser for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Thunderbird - The email client from the makers of Firefox

AbiWord - A free cross-platform word processor

Tux Paint - A fun kid-centered painting program for Windows, Mac, Linux, and more.

Ubuntu Linux - A Free operating system, if you ever want to leave Windows.

DistroWatch - A warehouse of information on different Distributions of Linux.

7-Zip - An archival tool for Windows with the highest compression on earth.

Inkscape - A vector graphics program. Not a photo-type editor like the GIMP, but a creator of images that can be scaled easily and smoothly.

The Open Clip Art Library - A collection of Public Domain vector graphics. Free for any use, even commerical.

ClamWin - A free open source AntiVirus program for Windows with regular updates.

GIMPShop Links - My list of Links about the GIMP and GIMPShop

More GIMPShop Links

GIMPShop Links

What is GIMPShop?

The Home of the Original GIMPShop - for Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4

GIMPShop for Windows
GIMPShop for Linux - Detailed Instructions for Installation
GIMPShop for Solaris - Now Available!

GIMPShop Info in German

GIMPShop dot Net - Information about GIMPShop. You are here! :-) Thanks!

The Original GIMP

What is the GIMP?

The Original GIMP

Original GIMP for Windows

Deweirdifier Plug-in for GIMP for Windows - This plug-in puts all of the GIMP's windows in one nesting window, making it act and look more like a Windows native program.

GTK+ - The GIMP Toolkit - Required for GIMP on Windows
(GIMPShop for Windows has this included)

GIMP.App - The Orinigal GIMP for Mac OS X
Apple's X11 - Required for Orinigal GIMP on Mac

The GIMP Users Group - GIMPShop users should expect a few original GIMPers hating on ya, but most folks are nice. Also be warned that the tutorials and whatnot are for the original GIMP, so their menu structure will vary.

Free Stuff for GIMP - It's stuff for GIMP and it's free!

A Guide for how to make GIMP portable - it's for Windows only, and AFAIK untested with GIMPShop. Let me know how things work out for you if you try it.

GIMPTalk - a place to talk about GIMP.

CoolText - a Free Web-Based Logo/Button Creator that uses GIMP to make user-defined buttons and logos. A great demonstration of the power of the GIMP and of the ideals of Free Software and Open Source.

More Open Source Links - my list of links to other awesome open source projects - free stuff you really need to get.

Thunderbird Email Client - Reclaim your Inbox

Thunderbird is the email companion to Firefox. Thunderbird makes emailing safe, fast, and easy with the implementations of features such as intelligent spam filters, a built-in spell checker, extension support, and more. Thunderbird is designed to boost users' productivity. There are no hassles of wading through ads and junk mail.

Emailing should be efficient and convenient. So Thunderbird uses open,industry leading standards. Thunderbird provides very effective tools for detecting junk mail. These tools analyze e-mail and identify those that are most likely to be junk. A user can automatically have junk mail deleted or it can be put in a specified folder for later inspection. If a user really wants to keep some "special offers" like DVDs of 1940's westerns for only $29.99 each - then the simple click of the big "Not Junk" button tells Thunderbird not to get rid of those emails.

Thunderbird also provides corporate and government level security features such as S/MIME, digital signing, message encryption, support for certificates and security devices, in case you are really into securing your data. Thunderbird also supports user level features, like HTML mail, IMAP/POP support, quick search, a smart address book, handling of return receipts, address completion, import tools, and support for multiple email and newsgroup accounts. Thunderbird reads RSS feeds like threads of emails.

Like FireFox, Thunderbird has many downloadable Themes and Extensions, which make its functionality and appearance virtually limitless. Apart from the use of themes, users can control the appearance of Thunderbird with customizable views, including a new three-column view, and Mail Views, which make sorting emails a snap. The toolbar is also easily customizable; using simple drag and drop to add an icon. Icons aren'tthe only items that can be dragged; spaces between each icon can be adjusted also for users who wish to keep it simple and uncluttered.

Thunderbird is much more secure from viruses than Outlook Express, because it deter the spread of worms and viruses by not allowing scripts to run by default. Thunderbird also takes up much less hard drive space than Outlook. Thunderbird can also save the user disk space by restricting certain messages larger than a specified size to be downloaded. Thunderbird also has the option of leaving emails on the servers where they are more secure.

With the addition of the free Mozilla Calendar, or the stand-alone version called Sunbird, the FireFox/Thunderbird combo can easily replace Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. The calendar allows users to organize their lives easily with the ability to%0Aschedule task and reminders. It lets the user schedule an event or task%0Afor a specific date and features an alarm for the event or the ability%0Ato keep it private. The calendar options are customizable allowing the%0Auser to control several aspects, including the alarm settings.Thunderbird and FireFox both can be run from removable media - like a CD-Rom or USB stick, so users can take their internet programs with them.

ClamWin Anti-Virus - Make Windows Safe - For FREE

There are more than 70,000 *known* viruses "in the wild" for Windows. By "in the wild" I mean the viruses have been written and released and are spreading from one computer to the next. These viruses can be as harmless as merely slowing your computer down a little bit to corrupting your software to the point that all of the data stored on your computer is lost.

Viruses can attack from many different angles. You can get viruses from visiting an infected webpage, opening a virus-carrying email or attachment, loading an infected program from a disc, or even just by sharing a network with a virus-packing computer... There are some simple precautions that one could take to help prevent the spread of viruses, like don't open emails from people you don't know, and especially not attachments from unknown emails, turning off ActiveX controls on Internet Explorer (or switching to an alternative browser, like Firefox). Not installing programs that you don't remember downloading or asking for, and other things like that. But even the most cautious user - if he is conneceted to another computer at all, especially by the internet, is at risk.

That is why Anti-Virus software is so important, no one should ever connect to the internet without some sort of protection. I'd feel like I have let the users down if I didn't mention that the most secure way to avoid viruses is to use any operating system other than Windows. Mac OS X has *zero* known viruses in the wild, and the number is well under 200 for Linux (I actually don't know of any for Linux, but there may be a few.) Changing your operating system is a tall order, though, and involves a good bit of work, especially learning the new system, and you lose all of your applications, (although most of the open source programs I've reviewed are cross platform, so you can use them on Linux or Mac).

That being said, let me introduce you to a free, open source, and simple way to protect your Windows machines - ClamWin. ClamWin is a front-end of ClamAnti-Virus, or ClamAV. When I say "front end" I mean the part that the user sees, the GUI (Graphics User Interface), the menus, the buttons, the graphics - all of that. ClamWin/ClamAV is a regularly updated anti-virus program that gives users, free-of-charge, a wall of defense against the thousands of viruses out there.

ClamWin can be setup to automatically update the virus definitions on a daily or weekly basis, so you'll never be left with outdated definitions. It can also be automated to run full-system scans of your hard-drvies every night or whenever you'd like to schedule it.

ClamWin intergrates into the Context Menu of Windows Explorer, so the user can scan indivuidual files without having to open the full ClamWin program. ClamWin also has a add-in to Microsoft Outlook, which will automatically delete infected attachment files.

If you don't want to download and install the software, ClamWin offers a free online scanner that can check files on your computer from the internet. You can scan your files for free here.

You can download a copy of ClamWin Free Antivirus, or learn more about it visit there website.

Firefox Web Browser - Take Back the Net

Firefox is the little open source browser that is taking the world by storm. I say little, not in regard to its popularity, they report over 90 million downloads, but in regard to its actual size. The installed Windows edition only takes up 52 MB of the users hard drive. It's also quick and light in the performance department. Firefox really does surf at blazing speeds (bad pun intended).

But FireFox isn't just about saving hard drive space or RAM. It's also about saving your data. Firefox is built with the user's security in mind. This awesome free browser keeps the users' computers safe from malicious spyware by not loading harmful ActiveX controls. Even CERT, a US government internet security watchdog group said not to use IE, but to seek alternative browsers whenever possible. Firefox is definitely ready for the job.

A comprehensive set of privacy tools keep your online activity your business. And all of the data that builds up as users surf (cookies, saved form data, histories, cached files) can be removed by clicking one button. And unlike with Internet Explorer, it is really gone when it says its gone.

Firefox also includes as powerful pop-up blocker that refuses any un-requested pop-up windows. Unless the user deactivates that feature, pop-ups should never be a problem.

Sometimes pop-ups are needed. That's why whenever Firefox blocks a popup window, an icon appears in the status bar. The user can click on this icon to display a list of sites that Firefox has stopped and then just unblock a popup window that they want.

Tabbed browsing has been around since the early days of Netscape and Opera, but for some reason, the world's "most popular" web browser has yet to utilize it. Firefox, on the other hand, makes good use of this awesome feature. Tabbed browsing allows multiple pages to be opened in the same windows, instead of having multiple windows open at the same time. It is possible, of course, to still open more than one Firefox window, but it is far from necessary.

Another time-saving feature of Firefox is the built-in Google bar. No need to download a separate adware-bloated search bar, Firefox's Google bar is built right in - ad free. Don't like Google? Adding your favorite search engine is a breeze through Firefox's power-packed Extensions library.

Extensions are small programs that add new functionality to Firefox. It can be anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature, such as mouse gestures or media player control. That's right you can play music or video right from your web browser with the FoxyTunes extension.

The great thing about extensions is that they allow Firefox to stay small and unbloated. Anyone who requires more features can download the appropriate extension. With basic knowledge of industry standards such as XML, CSS and JavaScript, anyone can even create his own extensions.

And boy have people been creative! There are Firefox extensions for everything you can think of. Want to keep up with the Terror Alert status of the United States? There's an extension that puts the color code right in your status bar. Want to keep up with the weather? A mini up-to-the-minute forecast can be placed at the bottom of your screen. Are you a follower of the world's most popular sport, Football? (or Soccer as we call it in the States) Then FootieFox is perfect for you. Current scores are put right on your screen. You can follow your favorite team, league, or scan through all of them with the click of a button. Extensions let you play games, get instant stock reports, change the way you download stuff, anything you can imagine!

Firefox's built-in Extension Manager for easy installation, removal and automatic updating of extensions. It also informs the user with an alert in case there is an update for any of your installed extensions. Thus, relieving users of the task of constantly checking for them manually.

Firefox is also the first browser to have the feature to keep itself up-to-date. "Smart Update" checks with Mozilla update site, and informs the user if there are any updates available for the browser. Smart Update also takes care of the installed extensions and themes by checking if there is an update available. Firefox can search for updates in the background and provide the user with an alert if there are any.

The good folks at Mozilla (makers of Firefox) have always recognized that the personal expression is important. Through the use of themes, users can completely change the look and feel of their own Firefox. A theme can change anything from just the toolbar buttons to the whole browser appearance. Themes can be downloaded and install themes with just a few simple clicks. You can make Firefox look like Netscape, or IE, or something completely different.

Pick up your copy of Firefox today and see how safe and fun surfing the web was meant to be.

If you'd like to help spread Firefox, visit this website. - Free your Files

I'd like to tell you guys about another awesome cross-platform, free, open source application that everyone should have. This program allows you to create word processing documents, create killer presentations, maintain huge databases of information, create spreadsheets, charts, and graphs to make all that data understandable, and even draw vector graphics for your charts. The program in question is

Now I know, that looks like a website I just gave, but it's actually the URL of the website, the name of the program, and the title of the project. is a powerhouse of an office productivity program that can replace MS Office for most home users. Add in the popular Mozilla Suite and even MS Office Pro can be replaced. But, what is

OOo (as it is called for short) is a program that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, vector graphics editor, database, html editor, math equation component, and presentation mode. Notice the wording of that sentence. It's not a suite that offers 6 programs; it's a program that offers 6 modes. It is a format called a works program, (which is where Microsoft Works got its name, but OOo is *much* better than MS Works!).

The four main modes of OOo are Writer (the word processor), Calc (the spreadsheet), Draw (vector graphics), and Impress (presentation). But with the one-program-different-modes format, a user can open any document that OOo supports from any window of OOo. It is a much more convenient way towork with multiple documents.

OOo is compatible with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with other industry standards, like WordPerfect, AportisDoc, PocketWord, and HTML. It can even export files to PDF with the click of a button! (A PDF export feature for Microsoft Office can be as much as $300.) And it can export graphics or presentations to Flash. However, the native format for OOo is a great way to save important data. It usually takes up less room that MS Office documents, and if anything happens where you can no longer open the file, the format is based on XML, which means the file will always be human readable (once unzipped) in any text editor. This means your data is safe.

Along with exporting to PDF, can also export presentations and drawings to the Macromedia Flash format (.swf). That means with this free program, users can create complete presentations using OOo Impress and then save them to Flash so anyone with a web-browser and the Flash plug-in can view them. No need to buy PowerPoint or download a special viewer just to watch a slide show. OOo does it right on your browser. This also means no need to buy the very expensive Macromedia MX Studio just to make simple Flash presentations.

Another assurance that your data is secure is the fact that the specs for the OOo native format are open. This means any programmer can write a filter or a program that will open OOo's files. So even if OOo were to disappear, you'd still be able to fully read your documents, format and all. Try that with some other office programs.

And, since is open source itself, there is no reason it should ever disappear. No company owns OOo, although it is currently hosted by Sun Microsystems. But the code is freely available for anyone to use, so OOo will always be available. And it will always be free. is truly cross-platform. That means you can use it on Windows (95 - 2003), Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, and other operating systems. This is good news to anyone who has ever worked in a multi-platform environment. Some programs, like Microsoft Office, have editions of their software made for Macintosh, but it's not the same program, it is completely rewritten for Mac. This means that there is a learning curve when moving from, say, MS Office 97 on Windows to MS Office 98 on Mac. This allow means there are potential compatibility programs. This is not true for OOo. It is written in such a way to allow different "ports" to be made of the same program (the same source code) for each OS it supports. The features on the Windows port of OOo will be in the same place on the Mac port of OOo or the Linux port.... This can significantly lower the TOC for companies with multi-platform networks . It also means if you have a friend with OOo on Linux, and you need to do some work on a file you made with your OOo on Windows, you don't have to ask him were the spell-check is on his program.

For Mac OS X Users, I *strongly* suggest the NeoOffice port of It is more Apple-native in form and function than the "official" X11 port. NeoOffice does not require any strange dependancies that make you dig out your OS X install disc. NeoOffice is a great office suite and no Mac should be without it. Just like on other operating systems, NeoOffice is free, open source, and fully functional. is not some MS Office knock-off. It is a program with similar features to MS Office, but it also has features Office doesn't, like a vector graphics program, built in PDF/Flash export, and support of the OOo file format. It is compatible with MS Office, like WordPerfect, Lotus SmartSuite, and AppleWorks are. OOo is a great program that has a ton of features. And, of course, it is absolutely free. To get your copy of, or to learn more about it, visit the website: has a number of sister projects that have spring up around it to find of fill in the blanks that OOo hasn't gotten to yet. Many of these projects work closely with OOo proper and are run by people actively involved in OOo. One of the parts of an office suite that makes it usable is the "extras" that come with it: the templates, the clip art, the macros. in its basic download form is a little light in these areas. So here are some links that you may find useful after you grab your copy of

You can pick up your copy of from their website, where you can also learn more about this great application that is totally free!

Nvu - Free Cross-Platform HTML Web Authoring System

Would you like to have your own website but you don't know a stylesheet from a hole in the ground? Do you want to build a home for yourself on the net, but you can't even spell HTML? Are you a power-programmer but you get sick of typing a ton of code every time you start a paragraph, and then closing them all again at the end? Do you want a simple way to build a professional polished looking website, without having to learn a computer language? If so, have I got the free product for you!

It's Nvu, the free, open source, complete, and powerful Web Authoring System, to the rescue!

Nvu, (pronounced "In-View"), makes managing a website a snap. Now anyone can create high-quality web pages and manage an active website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML, or a high-priced commercial WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver or FrontPage.

WYSIWYG, by the way, stands for What You See Is What You Get - meaning what is shown on the screen during the editing process is what will be seen when the page is put on the web - the user doesn't even have to see the HTML code, much less understand or write it. Nvu makes creating a web page as easy as writing something in a word processor.

Of course, if the user needs to see/edit the HTML, it's as simple as clicking a tab to switch to the code-view. In fact, multiple pages can be opened in the same window using the tabbed interface, similar to tabbed browsing on Opera, Netscape, Mozilla, and Firefox. The similarity is no coincidence. Nvu is based on the Composer element included in the popular Mozilla open-source web suite. This common ancestry makes Nvu the perfect compliment to Firefox and Thunderbird. Unlike FF and TB, Nvu is not maintained by the same group as Mozilla, but just like FF and TB, Nvu has a lot to offer that the Mozilla Suite component does not. Things like integrated website management, better form and table support, better browser compatibility, and more.

The integrated website management is done through built-in FTP. This means once a user is done editing a page, he simply clicks a button, logs in to his web server , and posts the page. It is instantly put up in its new edited form. The FTP client is not limited to mere posting of pages, all the sites listed in the Publishing Settings can be browsed in a sidebar. The user can add as many sites as they wish. The sites can be viewed in a tree format, or in a one-directory-at-a-time view. Nvu contains tools to get rid of most of those annoying that some WYSIWYG editors fill the page with. Combined with the ability to call W3C's HTML validator from within Nvu users make valid, reliable HTML coded web pages that will work with all of today's most popular browsers.

Nvu includes full-featured support for forms, tables, and templates, as well as the indispensable Cascading Stylesheets. CaScadeS, the well-known CSS editor add-on to Mozilla Composer, is integrated into Nvu. Create stylesheets easily and manage the styles attached to your documents. Full-powered by Gecko, the engine that powers Mozilla, Netscape, and all the Mozilla derivatives, a user can see the style settings applied '"live" to the document he's editing.

One of the areas the Nvu has made some great improvements over Mozilla Composer is the selection of colors. Composer offered only a very basic color picker. Nvu has a new extended color picker, more conformant to what power users are used to. Users can set a color from its red blue and green components, or its hue saturation and brightness, or just point and click to pick the color off of the color-wheel.

In trying to maintain its word-processor-like form and function, Nvu allows users to customize the toolbars. Users can add, remove, and move buttons, and even add and remove complete toolbars. Nvu also includes an automated spellchecker that underlines all the words it doesn't recognize as they are being typed in to ensure correct spelling throughout the page. Images and tables can be dragged and resized just as easily using Nvu as they would be in a desktop publishing program.

Nvu is available at It's the best free WSYIWYG HTML editor I've found - and I've been looking. My whole job revolves around the Net: making and maintaining web pages, and Nvu is the best tool out there. I highly recommend it to anyone, novice or pro, who wants to get great looking pages up on the net without a lot of work.

The GIMP - Free Cross-Platform Image Editor

I have found in my experience with Open Source programs that it is hard to talk about them for long without having to mention Linux. For those who might not know, Linux is an alternative operating system that primarily runs on servers but is recently making some serious headway onto desktops and laptops. Linux is similar, both in name and structure, to Unix, and is therefore fairly different "under the hood" than Windows. This means taking a program that was first written for Linux and bringing it to Windows can be a complex task. Such was the case with the GIMP.

The GIMP or just GIMP as it is sometimes called, is a powerful graphics editor that was first made for use on Linux systems. But as GIMP grew and became more user friendly and more powerful, it became clear that everyone should be able to use this free program.

So the developers of GIMP came up with an elegant solutionto a very complex problem. They created a package of files that would allow the GIMP to be ported to Windows with relative ease. They called this package the GIMP Tool Kit or GTK.

It turns out that this library of files also made the transition from Linux to Windows easier for several other programs. So, the name has been altered to the GTK+, since it works for GIMP "plus" other programs. Just to clarify, the programs that use the GTK+ require the GTK+ be installed on Windows or they will not work. Fortunately, installing the GTK+ is as simple as installing any basic program. You can pick up the GTK+, (and the latest version of GIMP for Windows) here.

The source of the ugly sounding name gets pretty complicated. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. And GNU stands for Gnu's Not Unix. Unix is an operating system that runs mostly on servers. Open source programs are *not* known for their pretty sounding, simple names. I mean, come on, "gimp" is a slang word for someone with a disability! Since open source stuff is free, they have very little marketing budgets, so their names usually suck.

Contrary to what it's unfortunate name may suggest, the GIMP has a ton of abilities. It a great program for everything from a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, and much more. GIMP is expandable and extensible. It can be enhanced with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. And its advanced scripting interface lets everything from the simplest task to complex image editing procedures to be easily done by command line.

I'd like to break down just a few of the many features of the GIMP.

GIMP includes a full suite of painting tools including brushes, pencils, airbrush, clone, and support for custom brushes and patterns. It offers sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high quality anti-aliasing. It offers an extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool.

The image size, number of images, and number of remembered undos and redos are limited only by available disk space.

GIMP offers full alpha channel support, controls for layers and channels, editable text layers, transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip. GIMP can make just about any kind of graphics file format there is. Supported formats include: bmp, gif, jpeg, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and so many others I just got tired of typing. The GIMP has a number of selection tools including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy and intelligent. And it has an advanced path tool doing bezier and polygonal selections, so its easy to draw straight lines, rectangles, or even twisty curves.

The GIMP is massively extensible. It has over 100 readily-available plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters. And the number of available brushes, gradients, and other add-ons make the GIMP extremely customizable. Even most of the popular Adobe Photoshop brushes and add-ons also work with GIMP, (see the documentation for more details).

For users who need Photoshop quality without Adobe prices, the GIMP is hard to beat. That's not to say it is perfect. There are a few drawbacks to going with GIMP. It doesn't have nearly the documentation (books) or education (classes) available that Photoshop has.

Another is its clumsy use of windowing. Unlike Photoshop - and most other programs on Windows - the program isn't contained inside of one big "nesting" window with other little windows inside. It is simply a collection of any number of windows open at one time. It's easy to loose toolbars and even graphics by simply putting a window or two over them. That does take some getting used to. And - like Photoshop - its shear number of options and depth of control can be overwhelming to simple users who just want to paint a simple picture.

With free unlimited upgrades and community-based support, over the life of the user, thousands of dollars could be saved. But, even without that, it is just about as powerful as Photoshop, and has much more flexibility.

GIMPShop, however, takes care of the few problems the GIMP has. GIMPShop standardizes the menu structure of GIMP to the Photoshop language. Therefore, the vast amount of documentation that exists for Photoshop can be better utlized for GIMP. And, on the Windows port of GIMPShop, the Deweirdifier Plugin is used, making it all one window, like Photoshop, (and just about every other Windows program on Earth!)

Anyone at all who is interested in the world of image editing owes it to themselves to try the GIMP or GIMPShop. You'll be glad ya did!

What is GIMPShop?

(view more screenshots)

GIMPShop is a free Open Source image editor that is similar to the popular Adobe Photoshop. Specifically GIMPShop is a version of the GIMP that has been edited to be more user-friendly for Photoshop users.

GIMPShop was created by Attack of the Show's Scott Moschella. The menu structure and terminology are adapted to to look and feel more like Photoshop, and other adjustments were made to make the GIMP more usable. In the Windows version, the Deweirdifyer Plugin has been used to place all of the various windows into one nesting window, so it will act more like a single program that multiple little programs.. Also the menu structure and terminology are adapted to to look and feel more like Photoshop.

GIMPShop was orginally developed for Mac OS X, but has been ported to Windows, Linux, and Solaris.

For more information - check out GIMPShop on Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Windows Screenshot

Here's a screenshot of me creating the banner for this site using GIMPShop on Windows XP Posted by Picasa

Mac OS X Screenshot

Here's a screenshot of GIMPShop running on Mac OS X Posted by Picasa

Update on GIMPShop dot Net um, Update

Hi everyone,

I'm planning to move my entire website - GIMPShop dot Net - over to my blog. It's a very fast, easy, and cheap (read: free) way to build, host, and maintan a website. I'll still be using other places to host my pictures, and such, but the bulk of the site will be rebuilt here.

Hey, if a blog is good enough for Scott Moschella, and it's good enough for GIMPShop for Windows - then it is good enough for me.

Details to follow