The Open Source Rookies of the Year Awards

Diem Do

Black Duck picks the top 10 open source projects launched in the past year.

The sixth annual Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year awards recognize the top open source projects initiated in the past year. This year’s Open Source Rookies honorees span cloud and software virtualization, privacy, social media, and Internet of things projects that address needs in the enterprise, government, gaming, and consumer applications, reflecting important trends in the open source community.

Projects considered as candidates include those with a first commit date on or after Jan 1, 2013. Using project data tracked on Black Duck’s Ohloh community site, a weighted ranking is applied based on the total number of commits, commiters, distribution of commits across committers, watchers/forks/stars, and social media traffic. The results are then filtered to eliminate projects that solve atomic, discrete problems (such as individual UI components written in HTML and JavaScript). We also screen out projects that are purely commercially driven, with committers from a single company only.

The trends behind the winnersThe open source community is endlessly creative. In recent years, open source has also become increasingly agile, as cloud-based code repositories such as GitHub and BitBucket provide shared spaces in which far-flung participants can collaborate easily. This responsiveness is reflected in the themes that emerged from this year’s crop of winners:

Cloud and virtualization. As the cloud becomes an assumption rather than a novelty, new deployment and management challenges arise. Docker provides a virtual container that packages an app and its dependencies so that it can run on any Linux server, including those in the cloud, creating a new level of application portability using lightweight virtualization. At the same time, rampant cloud scale-out has created new challenges for networking, now being answered by SDN (software-defined networking). The OpenDaylight project, backed by the leading network providers, was launched to address that need. As for cloud server infrastructure, Serverspec enables admins to run automated test scripts for server configuration across large-scale deployments.

Privacy. The security and privacy of our personal information continues to be a major focus, from those wishing to communicate under the radar of government snooping to those who need to protect the personal information stored on smartphones. Two of this year’s rookies will help: XPrivacy locks down private data on Android mobile devices, while Tox provides secure instant messaging using encryption.

Social media. As social media continues to grow and mature, new, more flexible solutions are emerging for blogging and messaging. Ghost provides a new open source blogging alternative, while the rapid expansion of timeline-based data produced in social media creates the need for new kinds of data storage and access, spawning projects like InfluxDB . We also discovered a gem of a social learning tool for coding called Exercism, started by a software development instructor who wanted her students to learn in a more social way.

The Internet of things. As the Internet of things gains momentum and begins connecting the world’s devices, projects like OpenIoT are defining important communications standards that will enable billions of devices to interact seamlessly.

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