Toonz goes open source, Apple open sources CareKit, and more news

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Toonz goes open source, Apple open sources CareKit, and more news

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Toonz animation software's open source release, Apple's CareKit, a GNOME usability study, and more!

Open source news roundup for March 19-25, 2016

Toonz animation software going open source

Toonz, a 2D animation program used by Studio Ghibli and others in the animation industry, will be released as open source edition today, March 26. As part of deal involved in the acquisition of Toonz by Dwango, a Japanese publisher, OpenToonz will become available to users for free and as open source, though at the time of this writing no specific license has been announced. This free open source edition will include tools designed by Studio Ghibli for their own internal use, allowing users to have access to the tools Studio Ghibli used in creating their iconic animated films. The premium version of Toonz, ToonzPremium, will still be available to purchase for "companies willing to invest in the customization of Toonz for their projects."

GNOME usability study

Usability testing is something that is often overlooked in open source development. This week, FOSS Force published an article by guest authors Gina Dobrescu and Jim Hall describing a usability study conducted by the authors. Dobrescu's and Hall's study explored how users handled a variety of tasks in the GNOME desktop environment. The users were asked to perform a series of tasks using a variety of GNOME applications. The researchers compiled their findings and shared them in the article. Key findings included things that worked well, such as the Calendar application, and areas in need of improvement. According to Dobrescu's and Hall's findings, users had issues with Nautilus's location bookmark feature, Evince's annotation feature, location specific symbols in the Characters application, and most importantly with the menu area in the header bar (i.e., the "hamburger menu" and other buttons near it) for various applications. Even non-GNOME users should consider reading the article in order to understand usability testing and how it can and should be applied to open source projects.

Apple announces open source CareKit framework

Building on Apple's earlier release of their ResearchKit framework as open source software, Apple has announced CareKit. Applications developed using ResearchKit include projects that help diagnose autism, help Alzheimer's patients manage their care, and track data from epileptics in an attempt to develop a method of detecting an oncoming seizure. Like ResearchKit, CareKit is a framework for building health related apps, but CareKit focuses more on personal healthcare. CareKit products focus on the individual, with Apple's initial CareKit modules being designed to help keep track of taking medication and meeting physical therapy goals, tracking symptoms, and sharing their data with healthcare providers. CareKit projects already in works will monitor maternal health, help with diabetes management, and help Parkinson's patients with their daily care.

In other news

Thanks, as always, to staff members and moderators for their help this week. Make sure to check out our event calendar to see what's happening next week in open source.



I downloaded this open source software this morning. It is extremely buggy and crashes quite often. It doesn't work well with my tablet at all. Toonz requires TWAIN drivers in order to scan any drawings into the program. Twain drivers are an archaic technology; Mac owners are pretty much screwed in using this feature. I know it's just the first day it's open source but it's not looking very good. A huge disappointment.

I tried building OpenToonz on Linux. It looks like there might be some Linux-porting to do for the sound subsystem at least.

I haven't delved too far into the code to see how hard or easy it will be to port over the sound system, and I haven't had the chance to try to hack around in CMake to attempt a build without sound support. But otherwise, Qt5.5 and lots of other open source tech. Looks promising.

OpenToonz has been released under a modified BSD license. There have already been a number of commits and merged pull requests on the GitHub page for the program (including a fix for crashing on initialization in some cases on Windows). Preliminary tests from a few people show it's certainly a full-featured program with an approach that has a lot of focus on traditional animation workflows.

For Linux support, there are also a number of pull requests in the effort to get OpenToonz compiled and working there (folks who follow Blender development might recognize the name of the developer responsible for those pull requests).

All in all... exciting times are afoot.

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