In a relatively short period of time, mobile devices have become ubiquitous in the workplace. A recent survey of enterprise and small business workers found that just 3 percent of organizations ban their employees from using personal iPads or iPhones for business use, and only 7 percent ban Android devices. In fact, 40 percent of organizations provide iPhones for more than a quarter of employees, and 25 percent provide Android-based smartphones.
The open source community has responded to this trend with a host of new projects, including solutions that help enterprises track and manage mobile devices, mobile development tools for creating new apps and open source apps that enable greater productivity. This month, we've put together a list of 50 of these tools that are worth notice. While there are many good open source mobile apps for home users, this list focuses instead on those that would be most useful in the workplace.
Please note that this is not a ranking. Apps are divided into categories and arranged alphabetically within each category.
As always, if you know of additional open source tools that you think should be on our list, feel free to note them in the Comments section below.
Convertigo is a full-featured enterprise mobility platform for developing, deploying and managing apps. In addition to the free community edition (which has been installed more than 50,000 times), it comes in paid standard and extended editions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X with clients for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry
ForgeRock offers several different access management and identity management tools, including several that support mobile devices, mobile apps and APIs. Support is available through a paid subscription that comes in several different tiers. Operating System: Linux
Many IT departments use OCS Inventory NG to track their on-site hardware, and now the tool offers agents for Android and Windows mobile devices as well. It detects active devices on the network and provides information about the type of device and installed apps. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, Windows Phone
This tool includes both a mobile backend as a service that can be deployed in private clouds and a mobile enterprise application program (MEAP). Features include an enterprise sync platform, push notifications, mobile remote procedure caller (RPC) and a management console. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X (supports Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices)
This comprehensive enterprise mobility solution includes MDM, mobile app management, enterprise app store and mobile data security features. Paid support and training are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Solaris
Short for "Android Privacy Guard," APG is an implementation of the OpenGPG encryption standard for Android. It offers encryption, decrption, signing and key management capabilities. Operating System: Android
Ever wonder if your Android apps are watching you? The Android Security Evaluation Framework (ASEF) attempts to answer that question by running apps through a test suite to locate malware, adware and bandwidth hogs. Operating System: Android
The Guardian group offers numerous security- and privacy-related apps for Android devices. In addition to Orbot (see below), this project includes Orweb private Web browser, ChatSecure private and secure messaging (formerly Gibberbot), ObscuraCam privacy camera, Pixelknot hidden message and Ostel encrypted phone calls. Operating System: Android
KeePass is one of the most popular open source password safes available. Developers have ported the app to all of the major mobile operating systems. Operating System: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
LBE claims to be the "most powerful privacy protection software for Android." It blocks malware and unwanted traffic as well as giving users more control over which data apps can access. Note that in order to use it, you'll need a rooted phone. Operating System: Android
Instead of saving your passwords in a vault, MasterPassword generates secure passwords on demad using an algorithm based on your name, the site and your master password. The benefits of this approach are that you never have to worry about syncing and you don't have to trust your passwords to a cloud provider. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android
Orbot allows Android devices to access the Internet via the secure, private Tor network. In order to provide truly anonymous communication, it sends encrypted messages through several servers to make the traffic impossible to trace. Operating System: OS Independent
Encrypt your passwords and other "secrets" in a secure database. There's also a PC Version called PCSecrets that allows you to access the data from your computer and enables easy data transfer to a new device. Operating System: Android
Winner of a Black Duck Rookie of the Year award, XPrivacy allows users to limit the categories of data that Android apps can access. If an app requires permission to access contacts or location data in order to run, XPrivacy will feed it fake data so that the app keeps functioning while protecting the user's privacy. Operating System: Android
15. Apache Cordova
Used by more than 75,000 applications, the Titanium platform includes an open source SDK with over 5,000 device and mobile operating system APIs, the Studio Eclipse-based IDE and the Alloy MVC framework. A mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) is also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Developed by Twitter, Bootstrap claims to be "the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web." Highly customizable, it allows users to check boxes to indicate which components they would like to include in their download. Operating System: OS Independent