Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year

InfoWorld's Test Center picks the top open source platforms, middleware, applications, and application development tools

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Will the flexibility beat out the confusion? Does this licensing and business model offer too much flexibility for developers and phone manufacturers? Or will the absence of restrictions encourage more contributions and thus lead to harmony? The Android world will be a fascinating experiment at mixing openness, cooperation, and competition.

Open source and commercial: A work in progress
All of this complexity presented a real challenge for judging the packages. Some purists might exclude all of the hybrid projects because they withhold something from the programmers. The openness, they suggest, is just a con to lure in the developer and seduce users into buying a commercial version. These hybrid companies will forever withhold the best features and the most important innovations to keep the money flowing.

But others suggest that just as a rising tide lifts all boats, a successful commercial branch of the code will leaven and support the open source core. The best code may lie out of reach, but the paid developers will want to improve any open core because it supports the commercial features. Even if the paid developers spend 90 percent of their time on the commercial features, the project will still blossom. The remaining 10 percent of their time is better than nothing.

In the end, we chose not to choose based on the business models. The quality of the product matters more than the structure of the business model. This, we admit, is a tacit approval of the hybrid business models, but we feel that they're impossible to ignore. The licenses and the businesses are as much a part of the ecosystem and the lines of code. Everything is competing for the hearts and attention of developers throughout the Web. Here, for better or for worse, is our list of notable projects and piles of code that are changing the world.

Bossie 2010 winners:

Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year
Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source applications
Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source application development software
Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source platforms and middleware
Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source networking software

Related articles:

The greatest open source software of all time
Top 10 Open Source Hall of Famers
Best of Open Source Software Awards 2009
The best free open source software for Windows
The best free open source software for Mac OS X

This article, "Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.

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