Open source companies are, for the purpose of the list below, defined as companies that make significant use of open source software. As you’ll see in the list, many of the companies also use proprietary software. Yet still, the companies below can be viewed as major consumers/producers of open source software.
Enterprise open-source software accounts for 29% of all software in use today, and experts predict it will make up 34% by 2024. As this program category grows, here are 20 companies developing it to keep an eye on in 2023.
For more information, also see: Open Source Software: Top Sites
1. Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of tech’s “Big Five” and a leader in the cloud computing industry, but it’s also a significant contributor to open-source software. The tech giant’s employees have spearheaded over 1,200 projects on GitHub. Many of AWS’s most popular tools and services are also based on open-source projects.
One of AWS’s most popular open-source products is its Cloud Development Kit (CDK). AWS CDK lets users build custom cloud applications using familiar programming languages and preconfigured components, aiding faster development.
AWS also has a suite of other services based on popular open-source projects, like the Linux-based Bottlerocket OS and its Elastic Kubernetes Service. Other products of note include Firecracker, OpenSearch and AWS Amplify, all of which help build and manage websites or other cloud applications.
2. The Apache Software Foundation
AWS is a noteworthy corporate open-source contributor, but many leaders in this area are non-profit organizations. The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) — the world’s largest open-source foundation — is a prime example. ASF includes tens of thousands of members, but the organization itself is responsible for more than 350 open-source projects.
Apache Spark is one of ASF’s most popular releases. The multi-language data processing tool is a staple for data science and machine-learning processes seeing use everywhere from NASA to eBay. ASF is also responsible for Hadoop, a big data software library, Kafka, which powers real-time data applications like Uber’s driver matching, and CloudStack, a virtual machine deployment platform.
Box is a newer but still noteworthy open-source software producer. The cloud services company specializes in security and workflow efficiency, with customers ranging from the U.S. Air Force to Morgan Stanley. As an open-source developer, Box has released more than a dozen open programs and software development kits.
Among Box’s most impressive open-source contributions is Spout, a PHP library that can read and write large CSV and XLSX files while keeping memory usage below 10 megabytes. Box also offers many plugins and prebuilt UI components to use on its platform. These features make the Box environment easier to use and configure to specific use cases, fueling its popularity among many audiences.
Another relative newcomer to the open-source software space is Builder.io. Builder is a visual content management system offering drag-and-drop functionality and API-based infrastructure to integrate with other apps. In addition to its central platform, the company has released five open-source projects and 52 repositories.
The Builder.io platform is closed-source, but its built-in components like images, text, and columns are open. Its developer tools are also open-source. Builder’s offerings include Qwik, a framework for building instant-on apps, Partytown, which relocates resource-intensive scripts to improve performance, and Mitosis, a universal components compiler.
5. Cloud Native Computing Foundation
Many people associate open-source software with smaller companies like Builder and Box, but large developers like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) account for a considerable portion of the industry. CNCF focuses on cloud computing apps and resources, with more than 150 projects and 187,000 contributors to its name.
CNCF’s most recognizable project is Kubernetes. The container orchestration system sees use in 61% of global organizations today and has quickly become an unofficial standard for containerization.
The Foundation also manages Prometheus, a data monitoring and visualization platform, Argo, a Kubernetes-based continuous integration and delivery engine, and Rook, a cloud-native storage solution. Dozens more projects populate CNCF’s portfolio across various stages of development.
Databricks is a smaller but fast-growing open-source software company to watch in 2023. The organization centers around what it calls a “Lakehouse Platform,” which combines aspects of a data warehouse and a data lake. The platform has seen use from the likes of the FDA and AT&T, and more importantly for this list, is based on open software and standards.
The Lakehouse Platform itself is open-source, as are its first-party plugins. Chief among these is Delta Lake, an open-format storage layer that lets you build a lakehouse architecture over existing storage systems like AWS S3.
Another open-source project — Delta Sharing — claims to be the first open protocol for secure data sharing. This lets Delta Lake users or other cloud adopters transfer and share files between platforms without jeopardizing security.
Docker is one of the most familiar names in open-source software for many developers. The container-based platform-as-a-service ranked as the most beloved tool in Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey. It introduced what’s now the standard for containerization and remains a leading software development platform.
Docker’s primary platform — the Docker Engine — is open-source. The engine uses APIs to help users build and containerize applications and comes in several packages, ranging from personal use to enterprise-level platforms.
In addition to its main engine, Docker also offers at least 12 other open-source projects with multiple Docker-adjacent features. Compose helps run multi-container apps, and Moby provides specialized tools to streamline the assembly of unique containerized applications.
As another one of tech’s Big Five, Google needs no introduction in most circles. What most web users may not realize, however, is that the search giant is one of the most significant contributors to open-source software. It was the original developer of Kubernetes before the CNCF took over and is responsible for Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system, which is also open-source.
Android is Google’s most recognizable open-source project, but it’s far from the only one. Chromium — the browser technology powering Google Chrome — is also open-source, as is Chromium OS, Google’s web-based operating system. Google has also developed Go, an increasingly popular programming language, and TensorFlow, an open machine learning platform.
While TensorFlow may have Google’s name recognition behind it, it’s not the only open-source machine learning platform. Another one to note for 2023 is H2O.ai, which boasts more than 18,000 organizations as its customers. The platform supports multiple programming languages and offers several automation features to democratize and streamline machine learning development.
The company’s base product — H2O — is far from the only open-source project in its portfolio. H2O also develops Sparkling Water, an Apache Spark plugin for H2O, Driverless AI, which automates steps like model building, and H2O Wave, which offers real-time dashboards and web apps for AI developers.
HashiCorp is another wholly open-source-focused organization. The company — which develops cloud computing tools — has committed to keeping its core technologies open. That model is paying off, as HashiCorp sees more than 250 million open-source downloads annually.
HashiCorp offers eight open-source tools today — Packer, Vagrant, Terraform, Consul, Boundary, Vault, Nomad, and Waypoint. Packer and Terraform automate cloud infrastructure building and management projects, while Nomad, Waypoint, and Vagrant focus on cloud app development and implementation. Vault and Boundary provide security controls, and Consul automates service networking across multiple cloud environments.
IBM is one of the longest-standing companies in the technology industry, and it’s been a leader in open-source software for a similarly lengthy stretch. The corporation has more than 25 years of experience developing open tools and over than 3,000 employees actively contributing to these projects.
As such a large organization, IBM has an impressive suite of open-source software products. One of the most notable is Machine Learning Exchange, which offers free, deployable deep learning models, democratizing IBM’s leadership in the machine learning space.
Other IBM open-source projects include Incident Accuracy Reporting System, which automates police incident reporting processes, and Data Asset eXchange, where enterprise users share data science libraries and tools.
Intel is another recognizable corporate name with significant open-source contributions. While you likely know the company as a chip developer, Intel’s hundreds of open-source projects cover various applications, from AI development to Internet of Things management.
Intel’s most popular open-source product is Open Federated Learning, a Python-based software development framework popular among data scientists and game developers. Another widely adopted project is QEMU, a machine virtualization platform. Intel also produces many Linux tools, including the Linux kernel at the heart of many Chromebooks, and specialized security systems for the OS.
Despite building its name on proprietary software, Microsoft is the largest contributor to open-source projects in the world. The company extensively uses open tools in its development, and its massive range of company-and-employee-made open products covers multiple use cases.
One of Microsoft’s most significant open-source projects is Azure SDK, a set of libraries to help developers leverage the Azure cloud product suite. Accessibility Insights is a similar tool, providing monitoring and checking features to find and fix accessibility issues in Windows, Android, and web apps.
Other noteworthy projects include Kubernetes Event-driven Autoscaling, an application autoscaling tool for Kubernetes, and Open Education Analytics, which aids collaboration between educational organizations for data and AI projects.
Another household name, Meta is likewise a considerable contributor to open-source software. Facebook and Instagram — the products Meta is most well-known for — are closed, but the technology titan has more than 600 open-source projects available today.
PyTorch is Meta’s leading open product. This machine-learning framework builds on the Torch library and offers a user-friendly way to develop and train intelligent models, including frictionless cloud development and scaling.
Meta also develops React, a Java library for building UIs, and Docusaurus, which simplifies the website development and optimization process. As you might expect from Meta’s virtual reality products like the Quest, the company also produces open VR projects, including image synthesis and physics tools.
Oracle is another software giant with many open-source projects under its belt. While the company’s commercial offerings focus on cloud computing apps and infrastructure, its open-source tools cover a wider range of applications. On top of creating its own components, the organization’s employees contribute to Linux and Kubernetes, among other popular open-source projects.
The most notable entry in Oracle’s open-source portfolio is Java. Java is one of the best programming languages for beginners, thanks to its extensive use, relative simplicity, and large support community. Oracle also runs a library of images and configurations for Docker, as well as a Linux distro, the popular MySQL database, and Tribuo, which helps develop machine learning models in Java.
OpenAI may have a different history and industry experience than corporations like Oracle and Microsoft, but it has skyrocketed into notoriety. The AI developer is behind ChatGPT and Dall-E, which more than 3 million users today apply to their workflows and projects. While not every tool from OpenAI is open-source, several of its underlying technologies are.
GPT-3 — the underlying natural language processing model behind ChatGPT — is OpenAI’s most notable open-source contribution. The tool can manage generative text tasks, summarization, text parsing, and translation. Another open-source product worth noting from OpenAI is Point-E. Point-E generates 3D models from text, helping streamline illustration and virtual model development.
17. Red Hat
Red Hat has been a leader in open-source software for years, and that won’t likely change in 2023. The largest open-source software company in the world specializes in cloud computing tools, though it also has many Linux and Kubernetes technologies.
All of Red Hat’s products are open-source, setting it apart from many groups on this list that also produce closed commercial tools. Ansible is one of the most significant of these, a platform for automating IT tasks to support DevOps. Other projects of note include the Red Hat OpenStack Platform, which virtualizes hardware and organizes these packages in the cloud, and OpenShift, an enterprise-ready, heavily automated Kubernetes platform.
SAP is another familiar name in software that’s started to lean toward open-source development in the past few years. The enterprise application organization focuses on management and business intelligence products, though its open-source projects focus on app and cloud development. In 2022, SAP ranked among the top 10 commercial contributors to open-source software, cementing its status in this list.
SAP has six lead open-source projects, including Gardener, an enterprise-level Kubernetes service management tool, and OpenUI5, which uses open standards to streamline web app development. SAP also contributes to popular open-source projects outside its organization, like Linux, Apache, and OpenJDK.
19. Strata IO
Strata Identity Orchestration (IO) is one of the newest companies on this list, completing its Series B funding in 2023, but it’s already making considerable waves. The company’s primary product — the Maverics IO Platform — secures app identity controls in cloud environments and is closed, but the underlying technology is open.
Strata IO’s most significant open-source contribution is the Identity Query Language (IDQL) Standard. IDQL is an open standard for identity access policies, making creating and managing identity and access management (IAM) tools easier. A related open-source project — Hexa — translates proprietary IAM policy standards into IDQL to let multiple IAM systems run together in a single environment.
A highly recognized name for many, VMware has solidified its place in tech through cloud computing services and virtualization tools. The organization is also a member of the Linux Foundation, the CNCF, and OpenSFF, all of which it regularly contributes to in addition to developing its open-source projects.
Spring is one of VMware’s most popular open-source products. Thanks to its simplicity and emphasis on making Java development faster and safer, it’s the world’s most widely used Java framework. VMware also develops Herald, which supports Bluetooth applications across multiple devices, Harbor, a container image registry, and RabbitMQ, which consolidates numerous messaging protocols to enable easier messaging app development.
What Does Open Source Mean?
Open-source software differs from proprietary software because its source code is freely available for use, modification, and sharing. Only the original developer can change the program with traditional software, but anyone can adapt and contribute to open-source solutions.
Because open-source software can take advantage of a wider pool of resources and developers, this model can streamline development, and help overcome bugs and security issues. However, many companies opt for the closed model to make it easier to monetize their products.
How Many Software Companies Are Open Source?
Not every software company develops open-source software, but almost all use it. Roughly 90% of companies use open-source software, and 30% of Fortune 100 companies have dedicated open-source development offices, according to GitHub.
Virtually every software business uses open-source tools to some extent in developing their products, and many have employees who regularly contribute to open-source projects. While many of these companies’ final products remain closed, this list of open-source-contributing organizations highlights a growing shift toward open development.
Bottom Line: Top Open Source Companies
With so many tech organizations engaging in open-source software today, it can be challenging to say which is the best. These 20 organizations are by no means a complete list but represent leaders in the open-source space, either by the sheer number of their open products or the significance of these tools. As 2023 goes on, these open source companies will be the ones to watch.