Open source news roundup for March 19-25, 2016

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

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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.


About the author

Joshua Allen Holm
Joshua Allen Holm - Joshua Allen Holm is one of's correspondents and a Linux distribution reviewer for He is a advocate for open access, open educational resources, and open source software. He holds a master's degree in library and information science from Wayne State University and a master's degree in higher education from Grand Valley State University. Joshua can be reached at