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Open Source Tools We Love

We’re building an open source ecommerce platform, so naturally, we’re always on the lookout for new tools that are handy, nice to look at, and well-made. Above all, we support tools that carry on the DIY ethos of open source, which Derek Powazek wonderfully describes as “that moment when the rest of us take over and build the things we want to see in the world, relying only on our guts, our smarts, and each other to make it real.”

We asked the Reaction team, both developers and creatives, to share some of their favorite open source tools for optimizing workflow. Text editors, dev tools, music players— we’ve got ‘em all, and they were all made by a global community of contributors! Here’s what we came up with:

Everyone: Atom
The general consensus among the team? Atom is the quintessential text editor for All the Things. The interface is beautiful and intuitive, the package manager installs thousands of community-made packages right from the tool, and it’s still fully hackable and customizable. Plus, it’s built on Electron, the same framework that powers Slack. There’s a good reason why pretty much everybody and their moms swear by it.

Aaron, Cofounder:
I had to stop and think about this, and then I realized that the OSS tools I use the most, sometimes without even thinking it, are iTerm2, an alternate macOs Terminal, and the ZSH shell, currently with the flazz theme.

I'll often be using Docker for Mac and Docker Toolbox, which are GUI applications for using Docker. You may find it confusing that I use a GUI for Docker, which is essentially a command line tool in itself, but still spend most of my time working in the terminal. Well, you’re probably right, but I just really love menulets. The Docker for Mac menulet whale is just cool enough, and it's really such an easy way to use our Docker images for Launchdock and Reaction.

Erik, Software Engineer:
I really like HyperTerm, a terminal emulator entirely based in Javascript and CSS. VLC media player, of course, for videos. Chromium, which is responsible for Google Chrome’s source code, is a good one, and I use Adium for messaging.

Mike, Software Engineer:
Robomongo is the best MongoDB admin tool out there. I’ve been using it for years now, since nothing else really compares. In fact, I’m using it right now. I also appreciate the fact that it’s native.

Sophie, Content Manager:
I would definitely recommend Ghost— it’s the best publishing platform I’ve used so far. Also, I hate transcribing audio interviews, but oTranscribe is a simple little tool that takes some (but not all) of the pain out of it. Definitely worth a try if you’re a reporter or researcher who frequently works with dictation.

Ryan, UI Designer:
Google Fonts is a pretty great tool, especially with their new redesign. The League of Moveable Type is another one. Who doesn’t love free fonts that are also cool? They’re one of the first places I go to whenever I’m on a project that gives me the creative freedom to work outside of brand guidelines.

Brent, Software Engineer:
For music, I use Clementine, which is a cool library and player, and Tomahawk, a music aggregator. As for dev-related tasks, I like using Brave and Flycut, among others. Brave was created by Brendan Eich, the guy who originally created Javascript, and I like supporting stuff he works on. It’s also just really, really fast. Flycut lets you scroll through all the things you’ve ever copied and pasted, and it just works great.

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