What do a McLaren Supercar, a refrigerator, a camera, a washing machine, and a cellphone have to do with open source? They're all examples of how a good pile of code can take on a new life when it's set free with an open source license.
The same forces are turned loose in every corner of business computing, from application development and big data analytics to the software that runs our desktops, data centers, and clouds. This year's edition of our annual Best of Open Source Software Awards rounds up more than 120 top projects in seven categories:
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source applications
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source application development tools
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source data center and cloud software
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source desktop and mobile software
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source networking and security software
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source admin tools
- Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source big data tools
When the Android developers started releasing their operating system in 2007, they just wanted to colonize the world of mobile phones. The iPhone was incredibly popular, and attracting any attention was a challenge. Choosing an open source license was an easy path to partnerships with the phone manufacturers around the world. After all, giving people something free is an easy way to make friends.
In 2013, something unexpected happened: The camera engineers noticed the explosion of creative new software apps for taking photographs with mobile phones. Someone asked, "What if we put Android on our camera?" Now Android cameras with better lenses can leverage the fertile software ecosystem of Android apps.
This is the way that open source software is supposed to work. Developers share, and software proliferates. Is it any surprise that the folks at Samsung are now making an Android refrigerator? Or an Android clothes washer? Or an Android watch? Or that McLaren, the maker of overjuiced cars, wants the radio in its car to run Android? Will there be Android in our doorbells, our cats, and our sofas? Only time and the programmers know. The source code is out there and anyone can install it.
As in years past, this year's collection of Bossie Award winners celebrates this tradition of sharing and cross-fertilization. The open source software ecosystem continues to flourish and grow as old projects continue to snowball while new projects emerge to tackle new needs.