Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Top 10 Rookies of the Year in Open Source

BlackDuck Software has named its list, but I have a few opinions of my own.

Despite everything, 2009 was a bumper crop for new open source projects. It is estimated that developers created 52 new open source projects a day on average.  So who was the best of the best in new open source for 2009? According to BlackDuck Software, a company that bills (no pun intended) itself as “the leading provider of products and services for automating the management, governance and secure use of open source software, at enterprise scale, in a multi-source development process” (that’s a mouthful and I didn’t even cut and paste all of it), here are your top 10 Open Source Rookies of the Year:

  1. Live Android - for those who want to try Android without buying a phone, Live Android lets the user run Android on his or her PC without affecting other files.
  2. Open Health Natural Language Processing - developed by the Mayo Clinic and IBM, the project gives medical clinicians and researchers access to unstructured textual documents (e.g., pathology reports, clinical notes, etc.)
  3. Mobile Browser Definition File - provides all the information needed to adaptively render content for mobile phones and devices, presenting server applications with a set of 67 capabilities or properties - from screen size to cookie support - to describe a mobile client device.
  4. Redis (REmote Dictionary Server) - An advanced key-store database which supports very fast, persistent access to a dataset. A simple way of storing data and a concept that can scale to the cloud.
  5. Smasher - Audio loop slicer designed to create striking effects from WAV, MP3, FLAC or AIFF files in seconds without a sequencer. Effects include filter sweeps, phasing, flanging, delay, and distortion.
  6. AbiCloud - Infrastructure software for the creation and integral management of public and private clouds based on heterogeneous environments. The project aims to offer users a tool with the capacity for scaling, management, automatic and immediate provision of servers, storage, networks, and virtual network devices, as well as applications.
  7. Transdroid - Remote torrent client for Android that supports faster downloads of large video, audio or software files.
  8. Rainmeter - This customizable PC resource meter can display various performance data in different formats. Rainmeter can measure CPU load, allocated memory, network traffic, performance data, uptime, free disk space, and more.
  9. TweetCraft - This World of Warcraft add-on enables players to send and receive tweets using Twitter without leaving the game; automatically upload and post screenshots using TwitPic (shares photos on Twitter) and automatically tweet certain in-game events such as achievements.
  10. Native Client - Runs x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of ensuring browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety.

Now first of all don’t shoot the messenger! Like I said this list is according to Black Duck, not according to Alan Shimel. Truth be told, of the 10 up here the only one I have personally used is Rainmeter. I thought it was very solid, but there are a lot of solid products in the same category. That being said there are obviously some names missing from the list. The obvious one is Android itself. I spoke to Peter Vescuso, EVP at Black Duck and he informed me that Android technically came out at the end of 2008. Therefore it was ineligible for this year’s awards. It did lead the list of honorable mentions though. You can find the top 5 honorable mentions to the list here on the BlackDuck blog.

As you would expect mobile in general and Android ecosystem projects led the list. You might ask what about iPhone apps? Well what about Apple and iPhone is open source? There is your answer. Cloud based projects were another hot one. I think 2010 maybe even bigger for them.  Was surprised that were as many or more projects hosted by Google than Sourceforge. Sourceforge traditionally leads the way in hosting open source projects.

What were missing for me were meat and potatoes traditional computing applications. Productivity, security, office type of projects are absent from the list. I don’t think it was due to them not being developed or not being good. It had more to do with how BlackDuck weighted the selections. The rankings were based on number of releases, developers on project and by how many links to the project by external sites. They were not based on users or downloads of the software or apps.

In another sign of the robustness of the open source market, Vescuso also told me that BlackDuck experienced 37% year over year growth last year. Not bad considering the state of the economy. They are very dependent of course on the use of enterprises of open source projects, so there is a direct correlation. They have very optimistic hopes for a bigger year this year.

Congratulations to the winners and let’s keep our eyes out for next years contenders!

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Are open source business models successful?Nothing in life is free (so why do governments love open source?) Also, check out more Network World blogs.Follow me on Twitter.

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