Programming tools and languages
Open-source developers understandably invest a lot of effort in improving the tools they use to write better software, whether it's a programming language, development platform or content management system. This category could have filled up an entire article by itself, but here are a few of the highlights.
In December 2008, the communities behind the Web development frameworks Merb and Rails agreed to merge rather than maintaining parallel development tracks. They intend to preserve the flexible configuration and advanced features appreciated by Merb users, along with the rapid productivity and ease of use that has given Rails so much attention from developers.
According to the Rails blog, the "overly optimistic" date for the Rails 3 beta is for the Rails Conference in early May, but it'll be worth paying attention to whenever it arrives.
Moonlight is an open-source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight, a browser plug-in for streaming video and Internet apps. The result of a technical collaboration between Microsoft and Novell Inc. and related to the open-source .Net implementation Mono Project, Moonlight is primarily for Linux and other Unix/X11-based operating systems.
The Moonlight community has access to Microsoft's test suites for Silverlight and distributes a media pack for Linux users with licensed media codecs for video and audio. Moonlight 1.0 was just released in February, and work is already under way on Version 2, to keep it in sync with Silverlight.
(You might also keep an eye on Moonshine, a Firefox browser plug-in and desktop player that encapsulates any WMV or WMA content into a Silverlight container.)