FFOSS (Freeware/Free & Open Source Software) Friday

by Todd Ogasawara

Here's a summary of last week's Mac Freeware & Free & Open Source Software (F/FOSS) discussed in my personal blog. If you have freeware or Open Source software to recommend for Mac users, please post it in a response here (or email the information to me if you prefer to remain anonymous).

Inbox.com: 5GB Free Email & File Storage
This is one of those I hope this is not too good to be true items. I read about...


...and was immediately both curious and suspicious about a free web service that provides 5GB (gigabytes) of storage for email, files, and a photo sharing.

So, I signed up for it and it sure looks for real so far. The only drawback so far is that the email only provides POP3 and not IMAP4. But, hey, Yahoo! charges for POP3 and Gmail doesn't provide IMAP4 either. So, this is probably not a big deal.

Data is not backed up for free accounts. However, you can get your 5GB of space backed up for a reasonable $9.90 per year and even increase the storage space to 30GB (with backup) for $29.96 per year.

Xdrive: 5GB Free Online Storage With Backup
Unlike Inbox.com's free 5GB of online storage that does not include backups unless you upgrade to the reasonably priced for-fee service,


...provides 5GB of free online storage with backups (but no email feature). Xdrive also provides a Microsoft Windows utility to allow the ability to drag and drop files between Microsoft Windows folders and your Xdrive folder.

I had an account with Xdrive during the first dot-com boom. They provided, I believe, around 100MB of free space back then. Then, they changed their model to fee-only and dropped the free service. I seem to recall being a paying customer for a while before dropping the service. I have not tried this dot-com 2.0 free Xdrive service yet.

Locomotive: Ruby on Rails Assistance for Mac OS X
Here's an interesting Open Source app for Mac OS X.


It sets up what appears to be a sandboxed Ruby on Rails environment for Mac OS X to reduce the pain of configuring Ruby on Rails with graphics libraries and the like.

Turtle Geometry (see Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas) started out at MIT's AI Lab way back in 1970. If you've seen or heard of LEGO Mindstorms NXT, you'll find that many of the concepts it embedded into this robotics kit came from Seymour Papert's Mindstorms book and Turtle Geometry.

Aquamacs: Emacs for Mac OS X (Text Editor)
Yep, I'm old. I remember when the Free in Free Software was a philosophical notation (Free as in Freedom). And, the first piece of Free Software that really impressed me back then was GNU EMACS. It is not accurate to refer to Emacs as a text editor. It can be its own environment. Many years ago when I managed a large (for its time) UNIX system at a university, I had a linguistics professor ask me to make GNU Emacs his login shell! He literally lived in Emacs. If you want an Emacs tuned for Mac OS X, take a look at...

Aquamacs: Emacs for Mac OS X


2007-01-05 06:37:31
Todd, why exactly do you think the Inbox / Xdrive services are "Mac Freeware & Free & Open Source Software"? Strikes me they're just services, not software (to the user at least)... or maybe I missed your point!!
Todd Ogasawara
2007-01-05 08:28:55
TheBoyKen: The line between applications and web-based services has become a thin fuzzy one. Especially as we see more and more AJAX based ones that look and feel like client-side apps (Google's Writely and Spreadsheet come to mind). I personally find that many free web based services are valuable to me and thought it should be included in the freeware category. And, there are some websites (a US Federal Government forms site comes to mind) that do not work with OS X (it specifically requires IE) If you feel differently about my categorization, that's fine.
Todd Ditchendorf
2007-01-05 10:13:39
Hi Todd :). I've recently released a free beer TextMate Plug-In called TeXMLMate. TeXMLMate is an integrated floating palette that allows you to check XML and XHTML documents for Well-Formedness and Validity while editing them in TextMate.

The TeXMLMate palette contains a special list showing errors and warnings that, when clicked, open and select the error in your source document or schema for easy fixing.

TeXMLMate allows fine grained control over the XML parser's settings and can validate your XML document against DTD, W3C XML Schema, RELAX NG, Schematron. XInclusions are supported. Recently added is support for defining your own XML Catalog for validating against local custom schemas and offline parsing.

Hope you can check it out.

Todd Ogasawara
2007-01-06 13:04:47
Hi Todd D. (nice name, btw :-). Just took a look at your website and read a bit more about TeXMLMate. Nice work! Thanks for pointing me to it.
Todd Ditchendorf
2007-01-09 15:36:07
My pleasure. Thanks for taking a look!