13 open source companies to watch 2018

Open source software is growing in popularity among leading CIOs for providing a flexible and agile escape from vendor lock-in that is typically low-cost if not entirely free.

Producers of the software provide original source code that is freely available to redistribute and modify. They rely on communities of developers to write, improve and inspect their code, with the business objective of turning those users into customers by providing support services to those using the free open source code.

Read on for our pick of open source companies to watch this year, and let us know if you think there are any we’ve missed.

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By Christina Mercer & Thomas Macaulay

TensorFlow is an open source software library for data science and machine intelligence that Google launched to the public in 2015. Since then, it has become a popular platform for machine learning due to its usability and versatility. It’s been used to develop a vast range of applications, from language translation to cancer detection.

The system was developed at Google Brain, the search giant’s AI research project. The company rolled out TensorFlow to the public for free with the intention of accelerating the evolution of AI. Google continues to regularly update the software.

Described as the “ultimate free open source solution for team communications”, Rocket.Chat offers a free web chat development platform for businesses to privately host their own chat service – similar in some ways to Slack but, of course, open source.

It is also well-tested, with over 200 contributors to the toolkit offering helpdesks, group chats and video calls.

For organisations that struggle with container management at scale, Kontena is here to help. Founded in March 2015, Kontena offers an open source platform for running containerised apps and microservices.

Kontena offers a user-friendly service for on-premises, cloud or hybrid infrastructures. It requires little devops or Linux knowledge to use the system, which aims to provide “everything you need to run and scale containers in production”.

Nextcloud is a next-generationopen source file hosting service that was launched in 2016 as a spin-off from Struktur AG, a leading web conferencing and financial planning firm

The service offers workflow management, sharing across multiple devices, workflow management, while also providing secure audio and video conferencing.

In terms of file security, it supports Two-factor Authentication and runs on a whole host of operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux, Windows and Android. You can download its encryption app, which can encrypt data for both local and remote storage.

Founded in 2013, Akeneo is a French-based organisation specialising in product information management.

Written in PHP, this open source management tool is available in over 165 countries, with an active community of 2,500.

Akeneo’s product information management is available on-premises for enterprises or as cloud service for smaller organisations. It is aimed at marketers, e-commerce managers and data governance drivers.

Similar to more commonly used Magento, Hybris or Demandware, Spree Commerce is written in Ruby and with over 500 contributors it is one of the largest open-source e-commerce projects.

In 2015, British luxury retailer Fortnum and Mason saw 20 percent more customers check out online thanks to its brand new open source from Spree Commerce.

Developed by Capital One, Hygieia aims to support organisation’s devops strategy by enabling users to visualise near real-time status of their delivery pipeline via its enterprise-level dashboard.

This Capital One open source project aims to provide comprehensive end-to-end viewing of business procedures, via one dashboard.

Facebook-developed Reactive Native offers a mobile app building platform structured on JavaScript exclusively. Reactive Native’s Javascript code library, released on Github in 2013, allows developers reuse code across the web and on mobile channels. This means engineers won’t have to build the same app for iOS and for Android from scratch.

The first cross-platform React Native app – ads manager – was developed by the London-based dev team. Ads manager lets businesses that advertise on the social network manage their accounts and create new adverts.

In December 2015, Fujitsu released its first open source project called the Open Service Catalog Manager. This platform aims to provide enterprises and service providers with cloud management software.

The Open Service Catalog Manager lets organisations build their own enterprise stores, taking advantage of cloud services and applications in a self-service mode.

Written in Golang and React, Mattermost offers an open source and on-premise team chat programme.

Similar to Slack, Mattermost provides self-hosted messaging and file sharing channels, almost matching Slack feature for feature, but as Mattermost is open source, a number of applications can be integrated.

MXNet is a multi-language machine learning database offering an open source library for deep learning resources aiming to connect developers to other programming frameworks.

At its core, MXNet uses a dependency scheduler that automatically parallelises symbolic and imperative operations. Not only this, MXNet offers a graph optimisation layer which aims to makes MXNet faster.

Aiming to declutter devops workflows, InSpec automates the compliance testing process by providing an open source framework, producing data tags for prioritising controls and runs tests quickly via a command-line interface. InSpec will inspect workflows, flagging any security, compliance, or policy issues.

Produced by Google, Bazel provides a quick software building platform utilising a shared code repository.

Bazel offers automated testing, using caching to speed processing. Notable companies including Braintree, Stripe and Databricks.

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