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Ask Slashdot: What Does the FOSS Community Currently Need? 356

First time accepted submitter d33tah writes "In the summer term of my final year of IT's bachelor's course in my university, every student is obliged to develop his own project; the only requirement is that the application would use any kind of a database. While others are thinking of another useless system for an imaginary company that nobody would actually use, I'd rather hack up something the FL/OSS community actually needs. The problem is — how to figure out what it could be?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Does the FOSS Community Currently Need?

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LizardKing ( 5245 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:13AM (#42933713)
    Better hygiene. Less beards. More women.
  • ...I'd be working on it. Interesting question, though. Hopefully you'll get some good answers and not just an argument regarding the merits of one type of database versus another...
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:00AM (#42934075)

      If the OP really means what the community as a whole needs rather than one useful thing for part of that community, then ironically I think you've just nailed it: more than anything else, the community needs a way to match up willing and able contributors with projects that could benefit from their contributions.

      To do that, the OP could develop a simple database that understands things like:

      • different kinds of contribution ("I want to help with programming")
      • technical skills ("I program C++ pretty well, and a bit of Ruby")
      • application domains ("I like graphics-related projects")
      • levels of difficulty ("this is a million-lines project" => it will take a while to get into and might need significant infrastructure installed to work on it)
      • availability ("I can spare an hour or two a week" => probably better to help with small things on smaller, more accessible projects).

      Provide some sort of keyword store (extension: recognise related entries/common aliases) or defined scale for each property, let projects say what they need and volunteers say what they're willing to contribute, and help people get matched up.

      This has the handy advantage for the OP of being readily scalable from a simple proof of concept with a simple native or web-based UI right up to a full-blown and genuinely useful service if you can find a way of getting it hosted properly. It might help particularly with contribution in areas other than programming, which in practice is often where OSS projects run by volunteers for free start to fall behind commercial projects run by businesses with cross-disciplinary teams.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jevring ( 618916 )
        It's strange that such a site doesn't already exist. There are a bunch of hire-a-freelancer sites out there, but nothing for something like this. If you build it, I will come! :D
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I'd love to have something like this.

        Many years ago I used to contribute to quite a few open source projects here and there; but now I'm married with a daughter and my job has become more demanding, I found the projects I was contributing to were taking up too much time that I'd rather spend with my family. I'd still really like to be able to contribute it some way, but finding things to do is the hardest part. With a system such as this, I could get matched up to projects that meet my time limitations, p

      • Great idea, though several sites try to do this to some extent. The fact is that they fail, or we'd all be more aware of them. In the end, the main problem is there aren't enough hackers with enough hours to contribute. There are lot's of projects that need people, and just not enough willing coders.

        I think the main problem the FLOSS community faces is inability to innovate, due to shackles we've placed on ourselves. We need to dump the popular binary package managers from Debian and Red Hat and start o

    • RTFS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:23AM (#42934449)

      How many people here can't read the fucking summary? here's a shot at it. How about a de-duplicator for music/photos that would (nicely) hunt for media, throw the metadata in the database, search for identical and almost-identical files, and then beautifully show the output. Bonus points if you beat the standard interface to these things which is just a list of duplicated files. I'd suggestb bubble diagrams that show how many files in which folders are duplicates of others.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        My take on the "hypothetical company" was to take a REAL company and see what they actually need. There's probably a vertical app that you could replicate. You could destroy yet another situation where Windows is used for no other reason than "everyone else uses it".

        Clone a legacy app today!

      • if you're going to that trouble, then don't make the god damn mistake of not showing reasonable sized thumbnails of the duplicate images. Hell I'd love someone to clone the functionality of Dpeg 5 (not the god damn shit they call Dpeg 6) with the UI of VisiPics but showing thumbnails larger then 20x20px as I have a 1080 monitor and they're damn near useless. Hell auto detect the display resolution and size em accordingly.

  • by djsmiley ( 752149 ) <> on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:18AM (#42933729) Homepage Journal

    What are we missing.... while its easy to ask what we need, what ever you've found lacking in the past is the best place for you to start.

    • by jevring ( 618916 )
      This is such a cop-out. Yes, we know that this should be high on the list for a project you want to do, but that's not what was asked...
    • Re:What do YOU need. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by azalin ( 67640 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:34AM (#42933803)
      What about an MP3 Database over removable drives, that lists duplicates and relatives (ie copies or same song - different sample rate, or same song live - studio version), allows mass renaming/updating (or even auto labeling from an online source) - Bonus feature: remember update for other copies of the file on external drives. Along with the option to label drives as "backup of x" (needs all songs in x), player (files may be removed if they exist elsewhere), storage or import (no changes to drive). Add a timestamp for last sync in the database for each drive.
      This might not be the holy grail, and may even exist(?), but it would be useful and is the first thing that came to mind.
  • by zakkie ( 170306 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:19AM (#42933743) Homepage

    And for that matter, the big social networks and their apps or app-like interfaces. These are two sides to a common threat: the partitioning of the internet into a device- or social network-delineated series of ecosystems.

  • by dan_barrett ( 259964 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:20AM (#42933747)

    Definitely need another web framework option

  • Statistics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jevring ( 618916 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:28AM (#42933783) Homepage
    How about something fun, like filesystem statistics? Keep track of the most used files to make sure you spread the disk and your mental load equally. Quite possibly useless, but could be fun to do. The hooks into the FS might be the hardest part about this, though.

    Write a generic ETL app. Quite useful. Might be many out there, though. Probably few good free ones..

    Or something that converts a (well known) log format into database entries for the purpose of easier statistics than what grep can provide?.
    For instance, take a webserver log, dump it into the database and generate something like a visitation path..
    The database isn't technically needed for this, of course, but with a large dataset, you can't keep it all in memory, so it would be useful..
    • Re:Statistics (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bertok ( 226922 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:50AM (#42934041)

      Write a generic ETL app. Quite useful. Might be many out there, though. Probably few good free ones..

      That's actually a very good idea, because I've found the exact opposite of your suspicion: there's few out there and they're all bad!

      The kind of insanity I see regularly:

      * Visual programming languages, which are known to be inefficient and just all-round bad. They promise a lot, but fail to deliver.
      * Poor re-use or re-factoring of common tasks, such as consistent handling of groups of columns from disparate sources.
      * Poor parallelism. I suspect that there's no ETL tool out there that can parse a CSV file in parallel. It's hard, because all but the first thread has to "hold" its results and potentially back-track. There are organizations out there that import multi-gigabyte text files!
      * Poor adherence to standards. For example, SQL Server 2008 R2 and earlier don't support the CSV standard. No joke!
      * Poor scaffolding or get-started-quick importing. Lots of ETL tools make you drag & drop at least each table once. Performing an "upsert" merge (or similar) between a database and a subset involving many tables is almost always months of fiddly work. God help you if you need to perform more complex merges...

      Essentially, writing an advanced ETL tool in a high-level and safe language like C# or Java wouldn't be too hard, and would be useful to a lot of people. There's also great tools [] out there now for developing new Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), which would allow a full-fledged ETL language to be developed quickly.

      Lots of good programming practice in a project like that: parallelism, databases, and parsers. Yet, it's easy to get started, and even a very simple version might be useful for some things!

      • by jevring ( 618916 )
        I wrote half of an ETL tool at my previous employer for the same reason, there was nothing out there. Of course, I couldn't open-source that... By "half" I mean that, while it was certainly an ETL tool, it only supported the subset of operations we needed. This is also fun, because it teaches you things about databases that you might not encounter otherwise, as pushing millions of rows into a database isn't necessarily a "normal" use-case that you'd otherwise encounter. If you focus on the E and L parts,
    • by h2oliu ( 38090 )

      The file system app has security uses. If you see a sudden change in behavior in file system access it can alert you to the fact that you have been compromised, or that an internal employee is doing something they shouldn't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:29AM (#42933785)
    • This is a good list, but not what the OP was asking for. None of these are overtly database driven, and all of them are pre-existing projects.
  • by HEMI426 ( 715714 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:33AM (#42933797) Homepage

    It's not really any particular project...There's tons of them out there. There are some areas that are lacking, though...QA, RE and documentation practices suck. The major projects tend to be better at them, but most of the smaller projects are pretty terrible at all three.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:01AM (#42933895)

      I actually find the documentation of most projects to be quite good. And honestly it has to be because what the FOSS community really needs is some human interface design lessons.

      Many of the apps are currently spread between the realms of so configurable and customisable that anyone but the smartest of power users can understand how to run the settings, and then on the opposite end of the spectrum with the whole uber user friend unconfigurable touch garbage like Unity.

      • by FBeans ( 2201802 )
        ^^Underrated. I agree, there must be some middle ground. Adding usability without losing configurability!
      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:58AM (#42934287)

        "And honestly it has to be because what the FOSS community really needs is some human interface design lessons."

        Hell, Apple needs interface lessons. And Canonical. And...

        It's almost like they have forgotten, or never learned, much of the human interface research of the past 40 years.

        Take Apple just for example, though I don't want to pick on them particularly. When they came out with Lion with an understandable desire to bring their mobile and desktop worlds somewhat more together, they did "mobile" things on the desktop that just didn't make any human interface sense! Like making narrower scrollbars that no longer have any color, and disappear. And sidebars that no longer have color icons; they're all gray. And so on. "Upgrading" to Lion was a huge "WTF?" experience for me.

        All of those "trends" are contrary to what we know about efficient human interfaces. Narrower scrollbars are harder to use. Greyed-out scrollbars are harder to see. And you have to wait for disappearing scrollbars to appear again before you can use them. Minus 3 usability points, for just one interface item. Removing the color from the scrollbars, and other similar things they did, are all definite steps backward in human interface.

        Let's get it straight, folks: the 3D look was not just a fad. There were real reasons for it. Colors are important in efficient eye-hand coordination. Smaller and narrower elements are harder to use. And so on.

        The sad fact is, Microsoft did a lot of, or paid for a lot of, research into many of the human-computer interface elements we use today. (A lot of it came from PARC, too, but Microsoft picked it up.) Then... apparently they threw away 20 years of it for Windows 8. Go figure.

        • Gotta give people what they want. And we often want crap. See Justin Bieber et al.

        • by cusco ( 717999 )
          That's just what I was going to post (except for the Apple notes, since I never have to touch them). There are reasons that my 70-something year-old mom can sit down in front of a Windows app that she's never seen before and muddle her way through at least the basic usage; it's because MS has published interface design specifications, has held their own developers to those UI specs (mostly), and most of the rest of the industry has followed suit. I could never install something like Gimp for her, becaus
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You've identified a problem, the FL/OSS community need a database of applications that the FL/OSS needs.

  • by PSVMOrnot ( 885854 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:46AM (#42933843)

    You should really be thinking of what your course teachers expect from this project. From their point of view they are likely after their students building a basic CRUD program (create, retrieve, update, delete) to show that they understand the basics of designing and implementing a system and have some basic database skills.

    The thing is, CRUD programs are not really that interesting or really, that difficult to make. There will be dozens of them available open source, and these will likely cover all the high impact general cases. What you could contribute relatively easily is a a program for a specific case.

    For example: I play around with 3D printing, and I have lots of various coloured filament in varying quantities. I want to know how much I have of each so that I can use up the scraps on little prints, and save the longer lengths of filament for bigger prints. At present this means a little guesswork and some time with a tape measure.

    This problem could lead to a nice simple project: build a simple database backed system to monitor filament stock levels, which allows putting in info, saying "I have used x much of this spool to print" and asking "which is the shortest spool with enough for this print?". If you kept it to the assumption that it would be a light weight program not requiring an existing database environment that would make it easy to demo as well - jsut use one of those lightweight DBMSs that dumps it's stuff in a single file. Nice and simple, but extensible.

    The extensible bit is important, since it means if you get the basics done you can add on some features for extra credit. I don't mean shiny to the user features, but rather shiny to the markers features.

    For example: you could make it pseudo distributed, so that I could have it running on two machines independently and synch them at will; this would mean you could look into transaction systems where you store what was done on each and synch them by applying in time order (something that is useful in big commercial database setups such as retail management systems).

    Another example: you could have it capable of generating QR code labels linked to the particular spools records, and have a mobile app. Scan the QR code and have the phone call a web service front end to the database and look up exactly how much is left, and offer the option to mark it as printed with.

    Basicly: pick something which is simple, but lets you show off your technical skills. If you can help the OSS movement now that's just icing, but you're better off looking after yourself at the moment so that later you can help with less constrained projects.

    • by LSDelirious ( 1569065 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:03AM (#42933899)
      Instead of guessing or tape measuring remaining filament lengths, is there some reason you can't weigh the remaining materials? Seems like the filament would be a consistent diameter and density that with a scale of decent precision you could weigh a known length and have a fairly accurate idea of the remaining length.
      • Not a bad idea. It would depend on how accurately I could weight it though: it works out as about 3g per meter, and I would ideally like to know to the resolution of 10's of centimeters.

        • > It would depend on how accurately I could weight it...

          I think that any digital kitchen scale should work. You don't really need accuracy: just reproducibility.

    • You should really be thinking of what your course teachers expect from this project.

      Good advice for getting A's. But if instead you do what is right instead of what the teacher wants, you will get a B. Which is more important to you?

      It's why I shy away from straight-A students when hiring.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        You should really be thinking of what your course teachers expect from this project.

        Good advice for getting A's. But if instead you do what is right instead of what the teacher wants, you will get a B. Which is more important to you?

        It's why I shy away from straight-A students when hiring.

        When I am hiring, I definitely want an employee that will put company objectives above whatever they feel like doing. Being creative and innovative is great, but not at the expense of fulfilling your customer's or employer's requirements. If a student spent his school years thinking he was too good for every assignment, how is he going to feel about the projects I put him on?

        The only people who shy away from straight-A students are people who still have a chip on their shoulder from their own lazy youth, a

  • OpenStreetMap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:47AM (#42933845)
    Mapping tools for mobile devices. Like "OSMPad", but better, if it possible at all.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:48AM (#42933851) Homepage Journal

    Probably the target is something that can be done by you alone and resulting in something functional in short term, then kick it into open source (not sure if could be considered yours for the course if had major contributions from a community).

    A web app or a webservice to be used by a mobile app could be popular. Think in something in that categories that you could need (so you'll be your own client, knowing the requirements), and don't find in F/OSS (or what you found don't match your exact needs).

    Another alternative would be extending an existing open source program with a plugin or extension with a functionality that it don't have currently (it could be implemented already in alternative, maybe commercial, software) and you would like and understand (but must to be one that actually uses a database). CMSs and similar are good candidates for that.

  • Specifically, taking into account the high incidence of atypical neurologies, and the problems caused by things like "but I *really really* need to concentrate so only interrupt me if it's genuinely that important", stuff like that. But underneath it all, that implies a pretty solid database of items.

  • bioinformatics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tloh ( 451585 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:51AM (#42933863)

    If your comfort zone can be stretched into biotechnology, there are many opportunities for analyzing huge volumes of data in genomics/proteomics. As one modest example: a select number of model organisms are commonly used for basic research. Is it feasible to build an app/tool that can gauge the suitability of an experiment subject for a particular scientific inquiry based on available genomic data? Recently, I heard a talk by a researcher in autism attempt to find a mouse model of the disorder based on observed behavior in cognitive experiments across many different laboratory strains that have been inbreed to very exacting parameters for other experiments. Given the level of detailed information on these particular strains, it is easy to see how convenient it would be to have a tool that can mine their genomes for a particular trait or set of traits or perhaps even do an in silico genetic engineering experiment before any resources are physically committed. Even if hardcore biology isn't your forte, you might maybe talk to someone who teaches the subject and ask what tools can be developed to help visualize or otherwise communicate conceptual information that derive from databases of the type kept by organizations like NCBI [].

  • copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:56AM (#42933883)

    Double check your university's policy on copyright of student work.

    • This. Someone please mod this up. I'd use my points, but I had already commented here.
    • You should care less what your university thinks their policy is on a copyright of a students work. Unless you signed them away when you registered, you own your own copyright. just because the university thinks they own it, doesn't mean anything.
  • by Cory Fisher ( 2844357 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:01AM (#42933893)
    Write a cross platform easy to set up and use peer code review software (take hints from CodeCollaborator theirs is good but expensive). It should have hooks into Git/SVN and be easily extended in the future to include other version control systems. It would also be cool if it had the ability to have source code scanning plugins like phpcs (code sniffer) or phpmd(mess detector)... I'm a PHP guy you can tell, but I'm sure the guys from the java, c++, and other communities could use similar tools. Make sure it has an easy to set up web interface (you could package a webserver into the deal that listens on whatever port is configured during the setup process).
  • by Makali ( 13158 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:08AM (#42933913) Homepage Journal
    If you want to learn a lot about code, really help out the community, and get a lot of love, write some documentation for other people's code.

    Now how you work the database requirement into that, I don't know. Perhaps you could write a documentation request tracker for - their site is on GitHub at so you can fork it, write something that lets people request and prioritise projects that need docs, then submit a pull request.

    If you're really ambitious, write a web-based environment for writing, editing, and submitting documentation to projects on GitHub, BitBucket, etc.
  • by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:17AM (#42933943)

    the free software world needs a good video editor.

    a database would be very helpful in the editing workflow - strangely enough no edit suites have it but most photo programs do.

    to be able to assign tags to clips and subclips and all media, sort by timecode, sort by who is in it, sort by how good a take it is, right-click a shot in the sequence and be able to see a list of things relevant to that particular clip would be amazing.

    of course, there's way more than a bachelor's in a project like this.

    you could always just make an innovative xmms plugin that implements a database of the tags in your music library, and maybe helps you to choose what to play next...

  • What I've been planning to look into as a project is the following problem:

    I have several instances of a platform, each with several customers. I'd like to be able to move customers around, but this would cause all kinds of problems with primary keys and foreign key relations in our database. To make matters worse, the database doesn't contain actual foreign keys all the foreign key relationships that are used and it contains a few text-fields which would require search-and-replace on some of the foreign ke

  • Why not set up a database system which can be used to keep track of which database systems are used (mysql, postgresql, etc) in which opensource projects and which version of the database is used along with the table/memory/thread-usage limitations of each instance?
    Example: firefox uses sqlite for its internal database needs. What do others use? You can populate your database with info like that, and perhaps build a good LAMP/web based front end to allow more entries to be collaboratively updated.
    • Xzibit, is that you?
      • re Xzibit, is that you?:
        Had to hook it up, dude!
        HaHaw! Well, I didn't start that database of databases statement with a "Yo Dawg!" [], so I'm probably not Xzibiting! It's either turtles all the way down, databases all the way down, zero-one-bits all the way down, or hypercubes all the way down, eh? Or is that a false equivalency to say turtles and hypercubes are the same thing? ? ?
  • Knowing your potential customers is essential. A databse of neighborhoods and survey results could be used to expand FIOS offerings to include more potential customers.

    For example, how many people want Internet and NOT the bundled Telephone and Subscription TV packages? This package is hard for customers to obtain at reasonable prices due to the pushing of Value Added services the customer does not want or wish to pay for.

    ISP phone packages for example are $30 + with taxes in the US. Great you can call a

  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:39AM (#42934001) Homepage Journal

    OSM is now growing. There is tonnes of mapping data available,
    How about improving offline navigation capabilities.
    For example, currently OSM AND simply does offline navigation based on POIs. How about integrating an offline address search.

  • A tabular data app. Think MS Access, but without the hassle of having to set up tables or fields beforehand. Actually, forget MS Access. Its just a white graph-paper canvas, and you control it using your digitizer/tablet pen.
    The ideal tool no more complicated as sketch paper, enabling to quickly count inventory in your tablet (handwriting recognition and tally) the way you always have, but it understands and helps to plot your data if you decide to do so afterwards. It would also work if you start with a ph

  • by DarwinSurvivor ( 1752106 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @07:56AM (#42934059)
    There are a lot of utilities that convert log files (from Apache for instance) to databases and perform data mining on them but there are still a lot of services that do not yet have these tools. This would make for an interresting database project as you could do a lot of really complex queries and have it create human readable reports.
  • not some tablet wannabee.

    • We have those already: MATE, KDE 3, Xfce, etc. The problem is just that Gnome and Ubuntu have gone off the rails in their quest to be more like Apple.

  • by water-and-sewer ( 612923 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:49AM (#42934241) Homepage

    Semi-serious. I think Slashdot's got one of the best content/comment/moderation systems around - certainly better than Reddit, way better than the ashes of Digg, and more useful than Usenet.

    Build a FOSS database with whatever improvements you design, as the underpinnings for a new Slashdot not owned by some mega-corporation intent on shoveling crap articles at us, like "how to get employed by RedHat" or video interviews about random horse crap?

  • I love what Ubuntu has done with the idea brainstorm ( But I would love to see a similar platform but in general for open source ideas. I'd be happy to offer web hosting for this. An additional feature could indeed be matching savvy people with projects, but we need to identify great ideas first.
  • Of the 3 IPAM solutions out there, none of them do well when it comes to subnetting IPv6 address ranges from existing, larger prefixes.


    A tool to search by package, distro, version, etc...etc.. and output the results of all distros that match. Imagine if you will the following example;

    Q: Which distribution is apt based, has kde 4.9.4 in it's current stable branch?
    A1: Linux Mint 14 - KDE (x86)
    A2: Linux Mint 14 - KDE (amd64)
    A3: Kubuntu 12.04 (x86)
    A4: Kubuntu 12.04 (amd64)

    Does that make sense?

  • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:06AM (#42934331)

    Write a (Linux, BSD) filesystem driver that keeps its file metadata in a database.

    Use queries to construct the filesystem layout. E.g.

    • /bin -> files where executable=true and package=LSB (or whatever)
    • /sbin -> files where executable=true and package_owner=root (or whatever)
    • /usr/local/{name}/ -> files where package={name}
    • /etc/{name}/ -> files where package={name} and type=configuration

    ...and so on. Don't ask me what the exact queries should be - the idea is just that files are arranged in the filesystem because of their attributes rather than having a single home.

    Add a chattr command (or somesuch) to modify metadata for a particular file, or implement the inverse of the queries as attribute changes (i.e. mv /bin/ls /sbin/ls causes the owner=root attribute to be set on the file).

    I'm not saying it'd be useful to anyone in the FOSS world, but it would be great fun.

  • OS/2 Clone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martiniturbide ( 1203660 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:19AM (#42934421) Homepage Journal
    The OS/2 community is in need of open source clone for our beloved OS.
    We have partially open source components on all the layers, but some need to be finished and glue them together.

    We need:
    - Workplace Shell replacement (xWorkplace can be used)
    - SOM replacement (FreeSOM can be used)
    - OpenDOC (docshell)
    - PM (Presentation Manager) replacement (FreePM can be used but is missing a more)
    - OS/2 Kernel replacement
    - TCPIP replacement.
    - Drivers
    - OSFree project code can also be used.
  • PostgreSQL todo list (Score:5, Informative)

    by leandrod ( 17766 ) <> on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:27AM (#42934487) Homepage Journal

    PostgreSQL has a wonderful wiki todo list []. Just pick your task.

    My pet peeves are on domains [], localisation [], derived relations [], and integrity constraints [].

  • by Celarent Darii ( 1561999 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:30AM (#42934517)

    From the submitter:

    I'd rather hack up something the FL/OSS community actually needs. The problem is — how to figure out what it could be?"

    Well, there we go, you already have a problem that needs fixing! So how about this:

    A database that keeps track of FL/OSS community needs. Some possible features:

    1/ People go to your website/program and input their software needs. Could be a form with relative requirements on each need. You put the requirements and users in a database, with some sort of relationship between user and need.
    2/ People with projects can put their project in the database by stating its goals, as well as state of completion. The state of completion implies (negatively) what requirements still need to be fulfilled for each project.
    3/ Your fancy program tries by some algorithm to match 1+2, using some sort of database. Your program brings people's needs and the projects needs together in some form that allows the needs to be fulfilled. Bonus points for making it some sort of social site. Your software is not only open source, but even "community driven".

    Actually your question points out a need - how about fulfilling that need? You have already tried to find something that would help you, but couldn't find it - how about doing something about it? This is the best way to do software - not by taking an arbitrary list of stuff from others, but actually experiencing the need yourself. Since you know the requirements in some degree, you should put your energies in fulfilling them. Would make an interesting and useful project.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  • Maybe port [] to Rails3 or rewrite in PHP.

    I especially like the PERL/Ruby APIs, but the thing is written for Rails2 and would need some refactoring.

    I know there's GLPI - but I don't need most of the stuff it provides (and I'm not sure if it would fit our use-cases) and I'd rather want something that can be plugged into existing solutions via APIs...

  • Since you are finishing school, you know something about what students want, and could easily get feedback about what teachers want. Many schools do online classes using the Moodle framework, a modular learning management system. The Moodle forums and bugzilla have ideas for new modules. Someone above mentioned a fast, lightweight quiz system. That's something that Moodle users need - there have been multiple requests for it recently. Specifically, people have need for a quiz system which loads separately from Moodle, but talks to the Moodle database or webservice. Currently the existing quiz system is integrated into Moodle, so opening a quiz page drags in a MILLION lines of Moodle code. That's not scalable. People want a lightweight quiz so that 20,000 students can take the quiz at the same time, then send the data to Moodle, either directly to the database or import it from a file.
  • Why not contact some (local) charity's and see what you can do for them?
    You get your project, you help a good cause and it looks good on your resume.

  • A network mapping software with a modern UI. It should be able to use CDP, LLDP, MAC tables.. Bonus points for IPAM.

    Making the puppet for network devices more complete and / or providing an alternative.
  • is a good FOSS version of a program similar to printmaster or printshop, something to do simple signs and other designs - you could have an address lebel component that uses a database... or the database could manage the graphics... (this is probably way more work than a simple class project though)

    so down to some easier data driven application....

    Hers one that I think has postential and not too terribly complex - a "movie tagging database" web-based where you can plug in basic details of your favorite fil

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @10:41AM (#42935073)

    Seriously, FOSS is a self limiting activity. For example, since I lack the patronage of a mother and a basement, and I'm not still at university, I have to make actual money to support my luxurious lifestyle, which includes eating every day and shoes. Being single is a big plus for FOSS, but against all odds, a few of us have managed to engage in actual reproductive activity with a single partner for a sustained period (We even got a license for it!). To really give a boost to FOSS, this sort of thing should be abolished.

  • Web based IP Address Management software. There are a few out there, most of them dead. Some are add-ons to bigger projects (NOC Project, Infoblox,) or doesn't work like I want (GestióIP), or cost too much for us (Solarwinds). DB backed with auto-discovery and a useable web interface. I use NOC, but most of it is wasted since I don't use any of it. Mostly just the IPAM stuff.

  • Here's a cool idea: modify a package manager to install software concurrently. Probably all the siblings in a dependency tree could be installed in parallel, resulting in a quite measurable performance improvement, if we are talking about a multicore CPU and fast enough storage.
  • It's not a new concept, but as we get more massive filesystems on all sorts of backend storage, there should be a way to abstract the backend. Certain types of operations are expensive from a traditional filesystem standpoint but trivial from a database. For example, metadata on files often requires a multi-step process of looking up the filename in an index then opening each file to query the data. I have multiple computing devices with local storage. When I want to search for a file, it is sometimes a ted

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.