We recently looked at the brilliant cameractrls, a tool for editing your webcam settings while it is being used. Cameractrls was particularly useful for video conferencing because it enabled you to adjust the brightness, exposure, and color balance while you were in a meeting. But cameractrls could only adjust parameters supported by your hardware and couldn't process the images itself. This is trickier to achieve because it requires more than simply changing device settings and instead requires the video stream to be intercepted, processed, and passed on to a destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. The amazing OBS Studio can do this, and so too can Webcamoid.

Webcamoid is a far more modest desktop application than OBS Studio. Rather than being an entire suite of tools for live-streaming, it's a far more focused photo and video effects processing tool. This makes it less resource hungry and easier to use. It can record videos and take photos from your webcam, capture your desktop, and run captures through one or more of over 60 effects. Alongside the same inbuilt settings you can control with cameractrls, you can turn your video into ASCII, a cartoon, or a black and white movie, with or without distortion, blurring, and aging. These and many other effects can be stacked and exported to any format supported by FFmpeg, which is driving the processing. Like OBS, Webcamoid can install its own virtual webcam driver so that processed video with its audio can be passed through to another application. After setting this virtual device as the source, any application accessing this virtual device will receive the processed video as if it were a live feed, which is a great way to improve the quality of your own video meetings, or at the very least, make them more interesting.

Project Website

If you're unhappy with the built-in effects you find in Zoom or Google Meet, run your streaming video through Webcamoid first.

Text editor


There are many projects whose popularity only becomes clear when those projects came to an end. Canonical's Unity desktop is a good example of one that also continues to thrive as a community project, and so too is GitHub's now defunct text editor, Atom. Atom was a code and text editor that became the torchbearer for a new generation of graphical editors whose functionality could be profoundly changed with plugins and a configuration file. More importantly, it was built using Electron – the web-based framework that enabled developers to build desktop applications with web technologies – and Electron was built for Atom. This synergy between the two lasted until the end of 2022 when GitHub ceased its active development of Atom, at which point its immense popularity became apparent. For any such popular open source applications, that really just signals the end of the beginning.

Pulsar is a community and open source continuation of the original Atom code editor and IDE. Like the original, and as you might expect from a modern web framework, it's fantastically well designed, with beautifully rendered fonts and a UI that supports multiple panes from the very first launch. The new branding looks excellent, and while there are still a few rough edges where the old themes haven't quite been replaced, Pulsar already feels like its own project. There's context-sensitive help, a filesystem browser, a built-in package manager for plugins, and smart autocompletion. The old packaging system was closed source, and while Pulsar can still access and use the old package repository, the intention is to replace it with a new one containing open source package equivalents. Everything else is as it was in the original editor, and Pulsar means you can continue using your old configuration and project files with your own projects. Better yet, it's now in the hands of a community who are free to take the editor into completely new and untested directions, which is where Pulsar could really start to shine.

Project Website

If you loved the Atom text editor, you'll equally love the open source and community-supported Pulsar fork.

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