5 Unusual Open Source Apps for Unusual Small Businesses

Small businesses encompass a wide range of occupations, and some of them are less common than others. They often require niche or specific software. Fortunately, there’s a lot of great open source software to support these businesses.

In this roundup we’ll learn about great open source software for some of the more unusual professions: music composition and score writing, movie pre-production, payment processing for performing artists and arts organizations, micro financing, and open source journalism and broadcasting.

Unusual Open Source Software

1. MuseScore Score Writer and Composer

One of the crown jewels of open source is MuseScore, the beautiful, elegant and powerful musical score writer and composer. MuseScore is open source and free of cost, and it’s one of the most widely-used score writers in music education. It runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

You can start playing with MuseScore as soon as you install it, because it opens to a sample score titled “Reunion.” MuseScore has a built-in synthesizer, so click the play button to hear it. A fun thing to do is go to the Display menu and enable the Play Panel, which lets you instantly adjust the volume, tempo, and play your score in three different styles: straight, swing and shuffle (figure 1).

MuseScore open source software

Figure 1: The Play Panel in MuseScore provides a nice set of instant score edits.

MuseScore supports a wealth of great features: composer, editor, colored notes, tons of effects, fingering charts, concert pitch, multiple styles and score templates. It’s wonderful software, and it even prints scores pretty, elegant scores.

2. Celtx Makes Movies

Octopus open source software

  • Newscoop: an open source content management system (CMS) for journalists and news publications with features like scheduling and article status, archives, front page management, and “citizen journalism” management, which includes special tools for managing site-visitor participation.
  • Airtime: run an Internet radio station, with scheduling and automation, staff management, multiple live and Web-stream integration, and media library.
  • Superdesk: manages newsrooms and story creation workflow, and supports both print and online publishing.
  • Booktype: a comprehensive book publisher that handles everything from writing, editing, and publishing to paper and digital formats.

Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook,and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She’s the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.

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