35 Top Open Source Companies

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

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Posted September 21, 2017
By

Cynthia Harvey


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If you think of open source software as being primarily the work of hobbyists and lone developers, your impression is sorely out of date.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.

In a recent appearance at the Open Source Summit, 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; the companies are arranged in alphabetical order. 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.

1. Adobe

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Employees: More than 15,000

Publicly Traded: ADBE (NASDAQ)

Annual Revenue: $5.854 billion

Why It Made the List: Adobe has a strong commitment to open source and has more than 250 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.

2. Automattic

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: 564

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: You might not have heard of Automattic before, but you have almost certainly heard of its best-known creation — WordPress. According to the website, WordPress currently "powers 28 percent of the Internet." Although the WordPress open source project is now handled by a foundation, Automattic continues to contribute to its code, and it runs WordPress.com. It also participates in many other open source projects like WooCommerce and BuddyPress.

3. Black Duck Software

Headquarters: Burlington, Mass.

Employees: More than 320

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Unlike most of the other companies on this list, Black Duck is noteworthy not for its own contributions to open source projects but because it makes it easier for other organizations to use open source software. It offers three key projects: Hub for identifying and managing open source software at use in an environment, Protex for ensuring compliance with open source licenses and company policies, and Security Checker for identifying security vulnerabilities in open source software. It boasts more than 2,000 customers, including Intel, Nintendo, SAP and Samsung.

4. Canonical

Headquarters: London, UK

Employees: More than 550

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: $103.3 million

Why It Made the List: 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.”

5. Chef

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

Employees: Less than 500 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: 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 as number 23. Staff from the company also contribute to other open source projects, and it has approximately 70 repositories on its public GitHub site.

6. CloudBees

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Employees: Less than 500 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Another favorite among DevOps teams, CloudBees is the company behind Jenkins, which was number 14 on that TechCrunch list of popular open source projects. Jenkins is an open source automation server, which means that it helps speed up software development by automating processes like documentation, testing, deployment, and more. The company claims that Jenkins is "the world's most popular pen source automation server, with hundreds of thousands of active installations around the world," and Jenkins staff have written 80 percent of the core Jenkins code.

7. Cloudera

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Employees: Approx. 1,600

Publicly Traded: CLDR (NYSE)

Annual Revenue: $166.05 million

Why It Made the List: Because it offers one of the most popular supported versions of Hadoop, Cloudera has become increasingly important as the big data trend has taken off. Its chief architect, Doug Cutting, founded Hadoop, and the company says it has contributed more code to the Hadoop ecosystem than anyone else. Its employees have started more than 20 Hadoop-related projects and are very active on Apache Foundation projects.

8. Confluent

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

Employees: Less than 200 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: A major player in the big data space, Confluent is the company behind Apache Kafka, which was 20th on that list of most popular open source projects. The company describes Kafka as "a distributed streaming platform capable of handling trillions of events a day." It was originally created at LinkedIn (see below) and was released under an open source license in 2011. The team behind the project founded Confluent as an independent company, and today it offers a commercially supported version of the software.

9. Databricks

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: Less than 200 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Databricks is the company that supports another very popular big data streaming project — Apache Spark. The developers that founded the project started Databricks in 2013 to offer commercial support for the effort. According to the company, Spark has the "largest open source community in big data, with over 1,000 contributors from 250+ organizations." Well-known Databricks customers include NBCUniversal, HP, Shell, Cisco, 3M and many others.

10. DataStax

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Employees: More than 400

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: DataStax offers a commercially supported version of the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, as well as a managed cloud solution also based on Cassandra. It claims more than 500 customers in more than 50 countries. Well-known companies that use its products include Netflix, Safeway, Adobe, Intuit and eBay.

11. Docker

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: More than 120 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Over the last few years, the Docker containerization technology has emerged as one of the most influential open source projects for enterprise users. It has more than 32,000 stars on GitHub and has been downloaded more than 8 billion times. The company behind the technology, also named Docker, was listed third on the list of companies with the most GitHub contributors in 2016. The Docker software is very popular with companies using agile and DevOps approaches, and the company claims, "On average companies using Docker experience a 7X improvement in how frequently they are able to ship software."

12. Elastic

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Employees: More than 500

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Best known for its open source Elasticsearch project, Elastic offers a complete stack of products designed that can "reliably and securely take data from any source, in any format, and search, analyze, and visualize it in real time." Elasticsearch ranked seventh on the index of popular open source projects, and it has 25,254 stars on GitHub. Elastic also has several other open source projects, including Kibana, Beats and Logstash.

13. Facebook

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

Employees: More than 20,000

Publicly Traded: FB (NASDAQ)

Annual Revenue: $27.638 billion

Why It Made the List: The leading social network has emerged as one of the leading advocates for open source software and hardware. In 2016, it was second on the list of companies with the most GitHub contributors (15,682). Its most popular open source projects include the React and React-native JavaScript development tools, Flow, HHVM, Relay and many others.

14. GitHub

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: 672

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: GitHub has become the de facto repository for open source projects. In a 2016 report, it boasted more than 5.8 million active users, more than 331,000 active organizations, and more than 19.4 million active repositories. The company has also created several open source projects of its own, including the Atom text editor, Hubot and Git Large File Storage (LFS).

15. Google

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

Employees: More than 57,000

Publicly Traded: GOOGL and GOOG (NASDAQ)

Annual Revenue: $89.5 Billion

Why It Made the List: Having released or contributed to more than 2,000 open source projects, Google is one of the most ardent corporate users and supporters of open source. It was fifth on the list of companies that had the most GitHub contributors in 2016 (and it also owns Angular, which was fourth on the list.) Well-known Google open source projects include Android, Chromium, Dart, Go, Kubernetes, TensorFlow and many others.

16. Gradle

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: Less than 50 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Gradle is the name of an open source Devops build tool and the company that maintains it. It was listed as number 17 on the TechCrunch list of top open source projects and claims more than 4 million downloads every month. Its users include many of the companies on this list, such as LinkedIn, Android, Netflix, Adobe and Elastic.

17. Hashicorp

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Employees: Less than 250 (est.)

Publicly Traded: No

Annual Revenue: Not available

Why It Made the List: Another DevOps tools vendor, Hashicorp has created several open source projects, most of which are related to cloud infrastructure automation. The most notable of its projects is the Vagrant configuration tool, which was ranked as the 15th top open source project in existence. Its other open source efforts include Packer, Terraform, Vault, Consul and Nomad.

18. Hortonworks

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Employees: 1,110 (est.)

Publicly Traded: HDP (NASDAQ)

Annual Revenue: $184.5 million

Why It Made the List: Like Cloudera, Hortonworks offers an extremely popular distribution of Hadoop, which was 6th on the list of top open source projects and is nearly synonymous with big data. The company says it believes "in a 100% open approach for everything. We reject outright the notion that vendors only succeed through lock-in and proprietary technologies. We believe that open source spurs innovation."


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Tags: Linux, Open Source Projects, Open Source Storage, Open Source Adoption


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