Bossies 2016: The Best of Open Source Software Awards

InfoWorld editors and contributors pick the top open source software for datacenters, clouds, developers, big data analysts, and IT pros

Bossies 2016: The Best of Open Source Software Awards
Jane Van Ginkel

Does anyone even try to sell closed-source software anymore? It must be hard, when so many of the tools used to power the world’s largest datacenters and build the likes of Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have been planted on GitHub for everyone to use. Even Google’s magic sauce, the software that knows what you will read or buy before you read or buy it, is now freely available to any ambitious developer with dreams of a smarter application.

Google didn’t used to share its source code with the rest of us. It used to share research papers, then leave it to others to come up with the code. Perhaps Google regrets letting Yahoo steal its thunder with Hadoop. Whatever the reason, Google is clearly in the thick of open source now, having launched its own projects -- TensorFlow and Kubernetes -- that are taking the world by storm.

Of course, TensorFlow is the machine learning magic sauce noted above, and Kubernetes the orchestration tool that is fast becoming the leading choice for managing containerized applications. You can read all about TensorFlow and Kubernetes, along with dozens of other excellent open source projects, in this year’s Best of Open Source Awards, aka the Bossies. In all, our 2016 Bossies cover 72 winners in five categories:

The software tumbling out of Google and other cloudy skies marks a huge shift in the open source landscape and an even bigger shift in the nature of the tools that businesses use to build and run their applications. Just as Hadoop reinvented data analytics by distributing the work across a cluster of machines, projects such as Docker and Kubernetes (and Mesos and Consul and Habitat and CoreOS) are reinventing the application “stack” and bringing the power and efficiencies of distributed computing to the rest of the datacenter.

This new world of containers, microservices, and distributed systems brings plenty of challenges too. How do you handle monitoring, logging, networking, and security in an environment with thousands of moving parts, where services come and go? Naturally, many open source projects are already working to answer these questions. You’ll find a number of them among our Bossie winners.

We’ve come to expect new names in the Bossies, but this year’s winners may include more newcomers than ever. Even in the arena of business applications, where you find many of the older codebases and established vendors, we see pockets of reinvention and innovation. New machine learning libraries and frameworks are taking their place among the best open source development and big data tools. New security projects are taking a cloud-inspired devops approach to exposing weaknesses in security controls.

Open source software projects continue to fuel an amazing boom in enterprise technology development. If you want to know what our applications, datacenters, and clouds will look like in the years to come, check out the winners of InfoWorld’s Best of Open Source Awards.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.