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Old 12-22-2003, 10:53 AM   #1
wapcaplet
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Got that programming itch - suggestions?


I've been out of school for more than 6 months, and haven't done any programming to speak of in quite a long time, but now I'm getting that itch to program something! I want to write software. Trouble is, I have no idea what kind of software I want to work on. I checked out the list of unmaintained free software hoping to find something that sparked my interest, but nothing there really grabbed me. Also thought of contributing to an existing project, since I've never done that - but I think I'm more interested in writing something new.

How about it? What software is Linux, and the rest of the open source world, lacking? Any off-the-wall suggestions are welcome, but I'm hoping to set my sights on something relatively smallish, since it'll be my first serious software project outside of school. A while back, I built a simple ray-tracing program that was capable of (badly) rendering spheres with light sources. It was a fun learning project, but the world does not need another raytracer. A project with some kind of graphical component would be of the most interest to me, but I'd be happy to entertain other ideas. I do not want to make games, and I don't want to do something boring like a hardware driver. I have pretty solid C/C++ knowledge and a good background in HTML, along with some OpenGL experience. I've even written a couple of compilers for school courses (but the world does not need another programming language, either - or does it?)

Some ideas I've tossed around: A LEGO modeler similar to MLCad, which is one thing I sorely miss since switching to Linux; A modular synthesizer like Buzz, which I also miss; or a simple/easy generalized database program like Access, but nowhere near as complex. Of course, the ideal thing to do would be to come up with something that isn't just a rip-off of a Windows program!

What do you all think? Have you ever said "Gee, I wish there was some ___ software for Linux"?
 
Old 12-22-2003, 11:03 AM   #2
quietguy47
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have you seen this:
http://developers.slashdot.org/devel...id=152&tid=185
 
Old 12-22-2003, 11:18 AM   #3
wapcaplet
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Quote:
Originally posted by quietguy47
have you seen this:
http://developers.slashdot.org/devel...id=152&tid=185
Yeah, I saw that. Looks pretty cool! It's about time someone put all that latent processing power to some use other than higher FPS in games. Looks to be more research-oriented than what I'd like to participate in, though. Having just completed 6 years of school, research is the last thing on my mind.
 
Old 12-22-2003, 11:29 AM   #4
quietguy47
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Something I'd personally like to see is e-books(websites, howto's) that test the reader.
Every so many random paragraphs you are given a quiz; every so many chapter's you are tested with random questions from the material you have just covered.
Kind of a substitute A.I. proffesor for the subject you are studying.
I think this is a bit more involved than you want to get.
 
Old 12-22-2003, 01:29 PM   #5
wapcaplet
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That's a pretty neat idea, actually. I've considered working on educational software, but I haven't investigated much to see what's already out there. Though, the kind of thing you're suggesting would depend on having questions/answers related to the material in the e-book, and would have to be part of the e-book itself. Something like that would be fairly easy to work up, I'd think; the e-book can be marked up with XML or some such, and the software could choose from the questions given in certain XML chunks. Thanks to Project Gutenberg, there are a lot of free books, and plenty of other free resources for learning about stuff. But it'd be a pretty enormous project to go through and turn them into more interactive learning tools. I'm sure that's the kind of thing that'd be good for schools, though - open-content textbooks! Think of all the budget savings to be had, especially for the college student who's spending hundreds of dollars a semester on textbooks. Assuming, that is, that administrations would be comfortable with teaching from such resources. It'd probably take a while to gain acceptance.

You're right, though; that sounds a lot more involved than I want to get, especially since not much actual programming would be involved, at least not initially Something to keep on the back burner, though.

Edit: I looked around a bit and found an Open E-Book specification, which is XML-based and looks like it'd be a great framework for something like this.

Edit 2: Heh. And no sooner have I said that than this article appears on slashdot. What are the odds? So maybe we really *do* need a good open e-book specification...

Last edited by wapcaplet; 12-22-2003 at 02:13 PM.
 
Old 12-22-2003, 06:01 PM   #6
SykoMachine
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i donno right now
but im sure i could think of some
give me a couple days...
 
Old 12-22-2003, 06:59 PM   #7
ezra143
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how bout some gui tools for a handful of common distros for the complete newbie linux user. Maybee add some explainations along with the gui so that it is educational as well. Or possible a very informative installer, since thats where alot of people seem to get hung up. just a few ideas, not exactly along the lines you initially asked for, but very needed.
 
Old 12-22-2003, 07:15 PM   #8
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An app that reads and prints autocad files would be lovely.
 
Old 12-22-2003, 11:42 PM   #9
wapcaplet
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Quote:
Originally posted by burnpile
An app that reads and prints autocad files would be lovely.
Looks like there already is one, though you bring up an interesting point; it doesn't seem like there's a lot of good open-source CAD software. One thing that might be fun is one of those home-design packages, where you can design house plans, add furniture, and preview it in 3D; I don't know how involved something like that would be, but I don't think a rudimentary one would be too difficult. True CAD software would, I'd assume, have to be designed from a mechanical engineering standpoint in order to be useful in real-world situations.

But anyhow, I'm straying from the point. The above viewer looks to support DXF and DWG files. Is there another format you had in mind? As long as the file format is well documented, I think such a piece of software is within my capabilities.

As for ezra's suggestion about a GUI walkthrough-installer... that's also something to think about. Though, that seems to be the kind of thing that may be distribution-specific, since they probably all use different methods of installation. You're right, though, there are a lot of aspects of installing Linux that could stand to be better automated. Some of the more mainstream distros like Mandrake and Redhat already handle "hard" concepts like choosing how to divide up hard drive partitions, what software to install, and so on, by automating or streamlining the process a bit. Really, ideally what we would have is the Newbie Linux distribution, which we can all recommend to newbies for their first Linux install. All hard and potentially dangerous stuff would be taken care of, and explained (in the rare case that the user is interested in actually learning about what's going on behind the scenes). Of course, *really* ideally, all distributions would be so easy to install I'll definitely take it under consideration though, since I was pondering the idea of creating a new distro.
 
Old 12-23-2003, 05:26 AM   #10
titanium_geek
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Graphical installer. definitly.
like in windows (don't hit me!), you get that little program that asks you which directory to put the program in, (usually C) whether you'd like the min, max or custom install, then shows you a progress bar.

if a geek type person installs linux for someone, then they can use it happily, but problems come when they have to install some new software.

would be nice.. :]

titanium_geek
 
Old 12-23-2003, 03:58 PM   #11
speter
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Re: Got that programming itch - suggestions?

Quote:
Originally posted by wapcaplet
Got that programming itch - suggestions?
I would suggest hydrocortizone cream.

Steve
 
Old 12-24-2003, 02:28 PM   #12
jailbait
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I've got a program on my to do list that seems to be dropping down the list rather than rising to the top. I want to write a program that searches for all available operating systems, presents you with a list (ncurses screen) of every bootable OS, and then boots whichever one that you want (or allows you to exit without booting anything).

Such a program exists as a utility on SuSE's rescue CD but it is SuSE proprietary. There is an open source bootloader named Gujin which partially does what I want to do.

http://gujin.sourceforge.net/

Gujin works as a bootloader. As such it is operating system independent. I would like to change Gujin to be a command that runs from the Linux command line.

One problem to be overcome with such an OS booter is that it does not shutdown Linux when it boots. Therefore you would have to run fsck the next time you boot Linux. One way to solve this problem is to run the proposed command line Gujin from a memory resident OS such as LifeBoat or Knoppix. Another way would be to have an option on the Gujin screen to shutdown the currently running OS before booting the next.

If anybody wants to pick up this idea and run with it I am sure that they will get it finished before I do.

___________________________________
Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.
http://users.rcn.com/srstites/LifeBo...home.page.html

Steve Stites
 
Old 12-24-2003, 02:57 PM   #13
MartinN
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If you want an extra ball, then I'd say that you should make an installation/setup tool for debian. Talk to "nowonmai" about it:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...hreadid=119711
(3:rd reply)


Martin
 
Old 12-24-2003, 05:17 PM   #14
burnpile
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Quote:
Originally posted by wapcaplet
Looks like there already is one, though you bring up an interesting point; it doesn't seem like there's a lot of good open-source CAD software. One thing that might be fun is one of those home-design packages, where you can design house plans, add furniture, and preview it in 3D; I don't know how involved something like that would be, but I don't think a rudimentary one would be too difficult. True CAD software would, I'd assume, have to be designed from a mechanical engineering standpoint in order to be useful in real-world situations.

But anyhow, I'm straying from the point. The above viewer looks to support DXF and DWG files. Is there another format you had in mind? As long as the file format is well documented, I think such a piece of software is within my capabilities.
heh, the one you pointed at works pretty well, thanks.
 
Old 12-24-2003, 08:35 PM   #15
teval
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Make a game, don't start one though.
Go to a game which is in need of developers, (basically everyone on sourceforge). Not one which has 3-4 developers, one which has 1. Help that person with programming, and all else that is required, and you've contributed.

Anything you do, don't start another project... help out an existing one, it's more efficient
 
  


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