The Complete Magazine on Open Source

Top community projects that start with word ‘open’

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There are millions of community-driven open source projects that developed and maintained every day. Ever thought of how many open source projects available starting with the word “Open”? This article brings few of the popular products and projects having such name. The idea takes an interesting turn when we really try to find out exactly how many such software exists. Just have a look, some exciting facts being uncovered during this search.

Operating systems:

OpenBSD: OpenBSD is free and UNIX-like operating system forked from FreeBSD, which is derived from University of California, Berkeley. BSD is considered to be a branch of UNIX and closest descendants of the original AT&T UNIX. Interestingly, the project develops some other sub-systems like OpenSSH and OpenNTPD – a network time protocol to synchronise the local clock with remote NTP servers.

OpenSuse: OpenSuse is a popular community-developed and one of the original implementation of Linux operating system (formerly known as SuSE Linux). It is sponsored and maintained by Attachmate Group after the acquisition of Novell.

OpenWrt: OpenWrt is an operating system (in particular, an embedded operating system) based on the Linux kernel, primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic. Some of the main components are the Linux kernel, util-Linux, uClibc or musl and BusyBox. Components are optimised for size to be small enough for fitting into the limited storage and memory available in home routers.

OpenSolaris: OpenSolaris is a Unix-based operating system. The platform was created by Sun Microsystems but following the acquisition by Oracle, it was renamed to Oracle Solaris and became a closed source project. Originally, Solaris was a version of Unix System version release 4, jointly developed by Sun and AT&T.

OpenIndiana: OpenIndiana is derived from OpenSolaris after Oracle discontinued it. It is stewarded by the Illumos Foundation which also oversees Illumos operating system. By this, OpenIndiana and Illumos are only two currently available open source Unix operating systems as of now. BSD and Linux are considered to be Unix-like operating systems.

Rival commercial products: Microsoft Windows, HP-UX, IBM OS/2 and RedHat Enterprise Linux.

File Systems:

OpenZFS: The OpenZFS is an umbrella project aimed at bringing together individuals and companies that use the ZFS file system and work on its improvements — aiming as well at making ZFS more widely used and developed in a true open-source manner. Sun Microsystems originally developed ZFS file system for the Solaris operating system. Moreover, ZFS file system now supports almost all BSD and Linux Operating systems. It provides self-building packages for Debian, Fedora, RHEL/CentOS, Ubuntu and builds instructions for several other distributions.

Identity Access Management systems:

OpenAM and OpenIDM: Originally developed by Sun Microsystems but forked by ForgeRock after Sun’s acquisition by Oracle. Both these products provide authentication, authorization, federation services and single sign-on including high availability. The products are free to download with the availability of commercial support and maintenance.

Rival commercial products: Oracle IDAM and IBM Tivoli.

LDAP Server:

OpenLDAP: Open source implementation of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) developed by OpenLDAP Project, is a community driven project available for free under OpenLDAP public license.

OpenDS: OpenDS is again conceptualised by Sun Microsystems. After acquisition by Oracle, this product is no longer maintained, and it has been renamed and upgraded into Oracle Unified Directory.

OpenDJ: Originally forked from OpenDS to maintain open source code after Oracle’s acquisition. This product is maintained by ForgeRock along with the availability of paid support and maintenance.

Rival commercial products: Oracle Internet Directory and Microsoft Active Directory.

Vulnerability Assessment Tools (Scanner and Manager):

OpenVAS: Licensed under GPL, this product is sponsored by Greenbone networks — useful for Server vulnerability scanning and vulnerability management solution. It is mainly based on service-oriented client-server architecture often used along with Greenbone Security Assistant and communication is SSL-secured.

Rival commercial implementations: Nessus, AlienVault USM and Nexpose.

Exchange Servers and Exchange protocols:

OpenChange: OpenChange is an open source implementation of Microsoft Exchange Server and Exchange protocols (Messaging Application Programming Interface – MAPI). It is aimed to provide a complete solution to interoperate with Microsoft Outlook clients or MS Exchange Server. Another advantage is, OpenChange server is a transparent Microsoft Exchange server replacement using native Exchange protocols and does not require any plugin installation in Outlook.

Rival commercial implementations: Microsoft Exchange Server

Secure Network Communication solutions:

OpenSSH: OpenSSH helps to secure network communications via an encryption of network traffic over multiple authentication methods and by providing secure tunnelling capabilities.

OpenSSL: OpenSSL is a software library to be used in applications that need to secure communications against eavesdropping or need to ascertain the identity of the party at the other end. It has found wide use in internet web servers, serving a majority of all websites.

Rival commercial implementations: Tectia SSH, SharkSSL and RSA BSAFE.

Programming language development kits:

OpenJDK: OpenJDK is an open source implementation of Java Platform SE. After the acquisition of Sun by Oracle, OpenJDK is the official reference implementation of Java SE since Version 7.

Similar closed source implementation: Microsoft .Net Framework.

Digital Asset/Content Management Frameworks:

OpenDAM and OpenKM: OpenDAM and OpenKM are open source digital asset management platforms to centralise, organise, manage and share picture and video files.

OpenCMS: OpenCMS is website content management system based on Java and XML. The fully browser-based user interface features configurable editors for structured content with well-defined fields. Alternatively, content can be created using an integrated WYSIWYG editor similar to well-known office applications. A sophisticated template engine enforces a site-wide corporate layout and W3C standard compliance for all content.

Rival commercial implementation: WebDAM

Virtual Networking:

OpenVPN: Open source implementation of Virtual Private Network (VPN). It uses Custom Security protocols utilising SSL/TLS (OpenSSL specifically) to provide encryption. Private Tunnel VPN is a commercial implementation through OpenVPN technologies.

OpenConnect: OpenConnect is an SSL VPN client initially created to support Cisco’s AnyConnect SSL VPN. It has since been ported to support the Juniper SSL VPN which is now known as Pulse Connect Secure.

Rival commercial products: Fortinet, Cisco VPN and End Point Security and Juniper networks.

Workload Schedulers:

OpenLava: OpenLava is an open source workload job scheduling software for a cluster of computers. The IBM Platform LSFTM compatible workload scheduler supports a variety of HPC and analytic applications.

OpenPBS: Portable Batch System (or PBS) was originally developed for NASA by MRJ Technology Solutions in 1991. Its primary task is to perform job scheduling, i.e. batch jobs, among the available computing resources. The open source implementation is not actively developed as of now. However, commercial implementation named PBS professional is available through Altair Engineering.

Rival commercial implementation: BMC job scheduler.

Productivity suits:

OpenOffice: Well-known Office Software maintained by Apache. Originally, open sourced by interestingly none other than Sun Microsystems named StartOffice. After the acquisition by Oracle, it was donated to Apache Foundation.

OpenProj: Initially developed by Projity, it got acquired by Serena Software and since then, OpenProj is no longer maintained and ceased to be enhanced. However, its fork called ProjectLibre is available as a free and open source solution which is compatible with Microsoft Project.

OpenProject: Developed and maintained by OpenProject Foundation since 2010. OpenProject is web based Project Management solution built on Ruby and Rails. Commercial Support available for OpenProject including hosting services for OpenProject Enterprise Edition as well.

Rival commercial products: Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project

Virtualization solutions:

OpenVZ: OpenVZ is container-based Virtualization only for Linux. It can create isolated Linux containers on a single physical server. Each container can perform stand-alone and can be rebooted independently.

Rival commercial implementation: Virtuozzo


OpenTTD: An open source simulator based on the classic game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. It attempts to mimic the original game as closely as possible.

Rival commercial product: Transport Tycoon Deluxe

There could be much more such projects exist which may not have been covered. But the whole idea of this article was to make it interesting by covering some of the popular items.

  • Sanjay Tank

    very informative article…