Releases Galore

There are so many new FOSS software releases lately, I thought I’d hit on a few:

  • The previously mentioned OpenLayers 2.7.
  • Ubuntu 8.10 should be out by the end of the month. As I do every year, I promised myself to wait for the final release, but instead jumped on the first release candidate. Updated kernel, gnome, some new apps, new theme, general polish, the latest “unbreakable” Xorg, guest account, encrypted folder, etc. Nothing revolutionary, but still very nice. The RC seems pretty stable - no crashes thus far.
  • Firefox 3.1 beta 1 is out. Other than Google Gears, it seems fine with all of my extensions (after disabling version checking). But the big deal is the Javascript speed. Set javascript.options.jit.content to true in about:config and hold on to your chair. I’ve seen benchmarks that have it slightly faster than Chrome, and after playing with it for a while, I believe it. Plus, it doesn’t break any of my sites, the hallmark of a fine web browser.
  • GeoServer 1.7 is out. This is a gigantic release. Aside from 200 bugs squished are a host of new features. You can control security at the layer level instead of just at the service level. Performance is even faster than before. There’s also a big improvements on the raster side of things - with the GDAL extension GeoServer now supports a ton more formats, including MrSID, ECW, and JPEG 2000. You can now also use the SLD RasterSymbolizer to make GeoServer an image processing powerhouse, defining channel selection, color maps, contrast changes, and more.
  • After something like 14 release candidates, uDIG has it’s official 1.1.0 release. uDig is a great desktop GIS tool built around Eclipse. I’ve found it also works as a decent SLD editor (my empire for a “great” SLD editor).
  • Python 2.6 is out. This is a bridge between the 2.x series and the 3.0 release, which is due fairly soon. The 3.0 release breaks some backwards compatilibity, so in 2.6 you can turn on Py3d warnings to see what parts of your code are going to explode.
  • Back in September, Django had its 1.0 release. I find the fact I still haven’t had a chance to mess about with Django a major crime. I really liked what I saw at OSCON last year.
  • This isn’t exactly a release per se, but Amazon’s EC2 service lost it’s beta tag and is now in full production, complete with a service level agreement. Not only that, but for those that like to not have their cake and eat it too, there’s a beta availability of Windows Server, complete with SQL Server. You can now easily deploy your ASP.NET web apps and databases in the EC2 cloud. It’ll cost you more than the existing FOSS OS’s (Linux, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris), but if you’re a big Windows shop you’re used to it.
There were probably a dozen other releases I oogled in the last month and have since forgotten. It’s a good month for technophiles.