Article from Issue 284/2024

This is Nate's first time writing FOSSPicks after Graham passed on the baton. On behalf of all at Linux Magazine, we're eternally grateful for Graham's years of spotting the top FOSS picks. This month Nate looks at Audacity, Endless Sky, GCompris, Switcheroo, MS-DOS, Qemu, and more!

Audio editor


When Graham reviewed the Tenacity fork of the popular audio editor Audacity last year, he touched on Audacity's acquisition by Muse Group in 2021. Controversy was sparked when a draft proposal was introduced to the code for opt-in telemetry to record app usage, leading to accusations that Audacity had become spyware. Muse quickly backpedaled but managed to provoke yet another backlash over changes to the Audacity policy that would have allowed the company to share customer data with the head office in Russia and US legal counsel. The FOSS Post team also published a damning indictment of the new terms and conditions in November 2022, claiming that unhashed IP addresses were being stored temporarily on Audacity servers. They also cited a provision which stated that Audacity wasn't permitted for users under 13, which technically would be a violation of the GPL.

Nevertheless, Audacity remains nominally open source software under GPLv2, as well as one of the most popular audio editors for Linux. It's drawn praise in particular for its simple interface, as well as its extensibility via various plugins. The editor remains available for download in most Linux repositories. However, for the most recent version at the time of writing (3.5.1), users need to visit the main site to download an AppImage. The release notes correctly state that more modern versions of Linux – like our Ubuntu 24.04 test machine – will need to install libfuse2 in order to launch the editor.

After the controversy of Muse Group's data collection practices, Linux users may prefer to use Audacity entirely offline. Still, doing so will cause them to miss out on the latest "cloud save" feature, which allows uploading of projects to via a linked account. The Audacity Support pages note this should make collaborating, sharing and restoring previous versions of projects much simpler.


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