Monday, April 15, 2024

Useful Utility Tools and Fun Simulators

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TORCS—The Open Racing Car Simulator

This is a fun and engaging 3D car racing simulator available as open source. It supports major operating system platforms like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, as well as FreeBSD and OpenSolaris. To play, you can use either your keyboard, mouse or a wheel input device. The latest version available for download is 1.3.8-test 1. It contains a new playable track, improved simulation code for slopes and banking, tire wear and temperature models, and better z-collision effects. You can also participate in the TORCS Endurance World Championship. The simulator is developed with C++ and licensed under the GNU General Public License.

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If you ever wanted to be the authority of a city-wide transport corporation, Simutrans is a great simulation game for you. You will be in-charge of constructing and managing different transportation systems like trains, trams, monorails, roads, planes and waterways that will be used by passengers or for goods. The gameplay experience is highly enjoyable due to the different destinations and circumstances set by the game’s AI. Simutrans v120.2.2 comes with multiplayer feature and an expandable mod.

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Stellarium open source tool creates a planetarium simulation. With the help of OpenGL program, it simulates a realistic projection of the constellation of the night sky in real time. Stellarium 0.16.1 runs on Linux, Mac and Windows. The optimal system requirement is a 3D graphics card supporting OpenGL 3.3, 1GB RAM and 1.5GB on the disk.

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LibreELEC is an open source Just Enough Operation System (JeOS) for Linux distribution purpose. JeOS is an operating platform that is customised to support a specific application with only the OS components that support the application and a third-party appliance. LibreELEC 8.2.0 has an improved hardware support for Intel and Raspberry Pi. The platform is mainly developed to support the entertainment software Kodi. Its recent upgrades support SMB2/3.

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Specific to Windows operating system, this open source media centre can act as a great alternative to Windows Media Player. Other than exploring local media files, MediaPortal also allows audio and video streaming online with the help of plugins. Users can access and record live TV and radio audios with the help of a personal video recorder. The latest version, MediaPortal 1.18.0, has a large list of bugs fixed and spectrum analyser plugin support.

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This is an open source portable media streaming tool supported across platforms including Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS and Tizen. It supports a large group of video decoding and encoding libraries, procuring major codecs from the libavcodec library. Hence it is compatible with all the major video file types. The latest upgrade of VLC comes with an improved interface and more protocol support.

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This open source audio-video player is also an interesting tool for running Internet TV application. Miro version 6.0 can run on Kindle alongside other mainstream platforms. Two devices with Miro installed can share and transfer files with each other if available under the same Wi-Fi network. Miro allows torrent downloads and video conversions, too. It is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android, FreeBSD and Linux.

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LibreOffice is a well-known open-source office tools suite. Developed under The Document Foundation project, it packs all essential documentation and office utility features like document writer, presentation developer, diagram and drawing tool, spreadsheet and databases. It is set as a default office tool for many Linux platforms and is also supported on Windows and MacOS. The latest version 5.4.6 has import compatibility with dotx and dotm files, improved footnotes and endnotes, and a new toolbar.

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