10 Leading Open Source Companies

  • 10 Leading Open Source Companies

    10 Leading Open Source Companies
    These 10 leading companies play a major role in developing and maintaining the open source software that powers today's business.
  • Canonical

    Canonical
    This is the company behind Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet. In fact, the company claims that Ubuntu is “the world’s most popular operating system across public clouds and OpenStack clouds.” Canonical’s mission is “to make open source software available to people everywhere. We believe the best way to fuel innovation is to give the innovators the technology they need.”
  • Chef

    Chef
    Chef is the name of both an open source systems integration framework and the company that owns that framework. As DevOps has become more widely adopted, Chef has emerged as one of the most popular tools for automating configuration management. In fact one TechCrunch ranking of the most popular open source projects listed Chef. Staff from the company also contribute to other open source projects, and it has many repositories on its public GitHub site.
  • Adobe

    Adobe
    Adobe has a strong commitment to open source and has many public repositories on its GitHub site. Some of its best-known open source projects are developer tools like the PhoneGap web development framework, the Brackets text editor and the Topcoat CSS library. Adobe staff also contribute regularly to other open source projects like Gecko, Blink, WebKit, Apache Cordova, Flex, Felix and many others.
  • Docker

    Docker
    Though its fortunes have changed recently -- the Docker Enterprise Business Platform was bought by Mirantis – the Docker containerization technology emerged as one of the most influential open source projects for enterprise users. It has thousands of stars on GitHub and has been downloaded billions of times. Container technology is very popular with companies using agile and DevOps approaches, and Docker played a key role in this development.
  • Google

    Google
    Having released or contributed to thousands of open source projects, Google is one of the most ardent corporate users and supporters of open source. It’s high on the list of companies that had the most GitHub contributors (and it also owns Angular, which was on the list.) Well-known Google open source projects include Android, Chromium, Dart, Go, Kubernetes, TensorFlow and many others.
  • IBM

    IBM
    Big Blue is high on the Linux Foundation's list of leading contributors to the Linux kernel, and it has a strong history of support for open source. It released its WebSphere Liberty project under the Eclipse Public License, and it also has created or contributed to many other open source projects, such as OpenWhisk, Project Intu, LoopBack and many others. IBM is also a member or sponsor of many of the leading open source foundations, including The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation, the OpenStack Foundation and more. Notably, IBM acquired open source pioneer Red Hat.
  • Intel

    Intel
    Intel has actively contributed to the Linux kernel. Its employees have made thousands of changes to the code, which accounted for a significant percent of the changes. Its developers are contributing to dozens of other open source projects as well, and it is a member or sponsor of several open source foundations, including The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation.
  • Microsoft

    Microsoft
    A decade or two ago, Microsoft would have belonged at the top of the list of opponents of open source software, but it has since completely reversed course. Microsoft has many employees making contributions to GitHub projects. It now has partnerships with other leading open source companies, including Red Hat, and it has open sourced some of its most popular software, including its .NET development tools, Visual Studio Code, PowerShell Core, the CNTK deep learning toolkit, TypeScript, Redis and many others. It also supports Linux on its cloud computing service and takes a cross-platform approach to development.
  • MongoDB

    MongoDB
    The MongoDB database is one of the most popular NoSQL databases and was listed highly on the list of influential open source projects. As the big data trend has taken off, interest in MongoDB has grown, and the software has now been downloaded millions and millions of times. Well-known users include Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, GitHub, Comcast, eHarmony, Twitter and The New York Times.
  • Oracle

    Oracle
    When it purchased Sun Microsystems, Oracle inherited some of the world's most popular open source technology, including Java, the MySQL database, the OpenOffice office productivity platform and the Hudson continuous integration tool. Oracle has sometimes come under criticism for its handling of these open source projects and has handed some of them over to non-profit foundations. However, it continues to support open source development and is a supporter of The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation.
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10 Leading Open Source Companies

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  • 10 Leading Open Source Companies

    10 Leading Open Source Companies

    These 10 leading companies play a major role in developing and maintaining the open source software that powers today's business.
  • Canonical

    Canonical

    This is the company behind Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet. In fact, the company claims that Ubuntu is “the world’s most popular operating system across public clouds and OpenStack clouds.” Canonical’s mission is “to make open source software available to people everywhere. We believe the best way to fuel innovation is to give the innovators the technology they need.”
  • Chef

    Chef

    Chef is the name of both an open source systems integration framework and the company that owns that framework. As DevOps has become more widely adopted, Chef has emerged as one of the most popular tools for automating configuration management. In fact one TechCrunch ranking of the most popular open source projects listed Chef. Staff from the company also contribute to other open source projects, and it has many repositories on its public GitHub site.
  • Adobe

    Adobe

    Adobe has a strong commitment to open source and has many public repositories on its GitHub site. Some of its best-known open source projects are developer tools like the PhoneGap web development framework, the Brackets text editor and the Topcoat CSS library. Adobe staff also contribute regularly to other open source projects like Gecko, Blink, WebKit, Apache Cordova, Flex, Felix and many others.
  • Docker

    Docker

    Though its fortunes have changed recently -- the Docker Enterprise Business Platform was bought by Mirantis – the Docker containerization technology emerged as one of the most influential open source projects for enterprise users. It has thousands of stars on GitHub and has been downloaded billions of times. Container technology is very popular with companies using agile and DevOps approaches, and Docker played a key role in this development.
  • Google

    Google

    Having released or contributed to thousands of open source projects, Google is one of the most ardent corporate users and supporters of open source. It’s high on the list of companies that had the most GitHub contributors (and it also owns Angular, which was on the list.) Well-known Google open source projects include Android, Chromium, Dart, Go, Kubernetes, TensorFlow and many others.
  • IBM

    IBM

    Big Blue is high on the Linux Foundation's list of leading contributors to the Linux kernel, and it has a strong history of support for open source. It released its WebSphere Liberty project under the Eclipse Public License, and it also has created or contributed to many other open source projects, such as OpenWhisk, Project Intu, LoopBack and many others. IBM is also a member or sponsor of many of the leading open source foundations, including The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation, the OpenStack Foundation and more. Notably, IBM acquired open source pioneer Red Hat.
  • Intel

    Intel

    Intel has actively contributed to the Linux kernel. Its employees have made thousands of changes to the code, which accounted for a significant percent of the changes. Its developers are contributing to dozens of other open source projects as well, and it is a member or sponsor of several open source foundations, including The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation.
  • Microsoft

    Microsoft

    A decade or two ago, Microsoft would have belonged at the top of the list of opponents of open source software, but it has since completely reversed course. Microsoft has many employees making contributions to GitHub projects. It now has partnerships with other leading open source companies, including Red Hat, and it has open sourced some of its most popular software, including its .NET development tools, Visual Studio Code, PowerShell Core, the CNTK deep learning toolkit, TypeScript, Redis and many others. It also supports Linux on its cloud computing service and takes a cross-platform approach to development.
  • MongoDB

    MongoDB

    The MongoDB database is one of the most popular NoSQL databases and was listed highly on the list of influential open source projects. As the big data trend has taken off, interest in MongoDB has grown, and the software has now been downloaded millions and millions of times. Well-known users include Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, GitHub, Comcast, eHarmony, Twitter and The New York Times.
  • Oracle

    Oracle

    When it purchased Sun Microsystems, Oracle inherited some of the world's most popular open source technology, including Java, the MySQL database, the OpenOffice office productivity platform and the Hudson continuous integration tool. Oracle has sometimes come under criticism for its handling of these open source projects and has handed some of them over to non-profit foundations. However, it continues to support open source development and is a supporter of The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation.

The days are long gone when open source software was primarily the work of hobbyists and lone developers, your impression is sorely out of date. While independent developers are still an important part of the open source community, today much of the work on open source projects is being done by corporate developers.

Linux founder Linus Torvalds acknowledged this corporate influence and welcomed it. "It's very important to have companies in open source," he said. "It's one thing I have been very happy about."

The list below highlights some of the leading for-profit companies that are using, sponsoring and contributing to open source projects. It includes a mix of large enterprises, small startups and everything in between. Some of the companies exclusively offer products based on open source software, while others sell a mix of proprietary and open source solutions. But all of these companies play a significant role in the open source community.

Please note that this is not a ranking. If you think we left off a company that should have been on the list, feel free to make your case in the Comments section below.