Open-Source Systems You May Have Taken for Granted: 10 Examples

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-10-04 Print this article Print

A key moment in IT history took place in Mountain View, Calif., on Feb. 3, 1998. That was the day a small group of Silicon Valley software developers (which included Dr. Larry Augustin, now CEO of SugarDB, Eric Raymond and Christine Peterson) sat down to decide that there needed to be an actual name for a new software development genre. The now-familiar term "open source" was first coined at this meeting. Since that day, the open-source movement—led today by Linus Torvalds' Linux—has evolved to affect every corner of the IT industry. Open source now is more mature than ever, with today's landscape encompassing a much broader range of applications benefiting industry and society. From Web servers to big data analytics to cloud computing to research and exploration, the following is a look at some of the most innovative open-source technologies and projects that illustrate just how far the movement has come. In this slide show, eWEEK and Concurrent CEO Gary Nakamura provide a listing of 10 well-known IT use cases that rely heavily—or even solely—on open-source software. Concurrent makes an software platform for Enterprise big data applications.

  • Open-Source Systems You May Have Taken for Granted: 10 Examples

    By Chris Preimesberger
    0-Open-Source Systems You May Have Taken for Granted: 10 Examples
  • Big Data Relies on Open-Source Tools

    As the big data space continues to explode, so has the variety of projects that help make the most of it. Most people are already familiar with Apache Hadoop, and many are leveraging Cascading. However, we're also seeing emerging solutions from companies such as Wibidata that are connecting big data directly to the front office, and projects like Storm and Kafka that are set to change the future of stream processing. Even open-source solutions from established players like Jaspersoft and Pentaho are driving innovation and creating enormous value for companies focused on big data execution.
    1-Big Data Relies on Open-Source Tools
  • NoSQL Stores

    From graph databases to enterprise search through archives or high-security storage, there are options for solving the most difficult data search and analysis problems. Examples include Facebook's Graph Search, Parquet, MongoDB, Giraph, Neo4j, CouchDB, Cassandra, Elastic Search and HBase, to name a few. Open-source data storage currently supports hundreds of thousands of successful deployments and continues to grow in use.
    2-NoSQL Stores
  • Cloud Computing

    Open-source software has provided the foundation for many cloud computing implementations, including those from Cloud Foundry, CloudStack and Zoho. Perhaps the most surprising of all has been the rapid growth behind OpenStack, which in only three years has garnered support and commercial distributions from companies including Red Hat, Piston, Intel, Dell, Midokura, Cisco, IBM and HP.
    3-Cloud Computing
  • Content Management Systems

    Used as a back-end system to manage Websites while largely avoiding the need for hand coding, most of the most successful CMS solutions are open source. Examples include Liferay, concrete5, Joomla, WordPress and Drupal.
    4-Content Management Systems
  • Storage Software

    Alternatives to traditional storage, like those from Amazon and EMC, are gaining market momentum. With popular open-source offerings from ZFS (Zettabyte File System), Open Solaris, Ceph, Gluster, FreeNAS and SwiftStack, storage software is undergoing some serious open-source changes.
    5-Storage Software
  • Research and Exploration

    Open source is driving global research innovation with efforts that include OpenROV, a community-driven research and development project aiming to make underwater robotic exploration accessible to almost anyone. Another one is OpenQuake, a suite of software tools designed to aid the uploading and sharing of earthquake data to support better global research and response efforts.
    6-Research and Exploration
  • Mobile Development

    Mobile applications are literally changing the world, and they continue to permeate our lives. Front and center has been Google's Android operating system, but there are many other projects within the space that are driving innovation and value, from productivity applications and games to mobile management. The freemium method of introduction works well: "Free" is awfully hard to beat in any business.
    7-Mobile Development
  • Infrastructure Management

    An emerging project, SaltStack is a dynamic infrastructure communication bus that provides server orchestration, remote execution and configuration management. Puppet, Chef, Mesos and OpenNebula are other excellent options for operators who are looking for alternatives.
    8-Infrastructure Management
  • Web Design Software

    Adobe's Dreamweaver is one of the most popular programs for creating and designing Web pages, but its high price tag is a big drawback. Alternative open-source options include BlueGriffon, KompoZer, Amaya, Bluefish Editor and Aptana Studio.
    9-Web Design Software
  • Programming Languages

    If you're a developer, you'll have your favorite languages with which to code, whether system-level or scripting. If they happen to include Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Scala, Clojure and Tk/Tcl, then you are also a fan of open source.
    10-Programming Languages
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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