A 2011 Gartner survey found that more than half of all enterprises surveyed had adopted some open source software. However, many businesses also need professional support and related services to make open source software viable for their organizations. Commercial open source software vendors fill in the gap for these businesses by providing those additional services while keeping overall costs low.
In addition to low costs, open source software gives businesses the ability to tailor the software to their specific needs. According to Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, "Users are beginning to look at OSS differently — if they can customize the code to make it unique to their company, they have created a competitive advantage." She added, "Although a search for reducing costs by adopting OSS continues to be a major driver, with this survey we see more respondents looking at OSS as having much-greater value than simply getting something for free."
With enterprises in mind, we've updated our list of top commercial open source projects. While home users might be interested in some of this software, the commercial versions are all targeted primarily at business users.
Each of these projects offers at least one version of its software under an open source license, while providing additional software, hardware, support and/or services for a fee. This arrangement allows organizations to receive many of the benefits of open source software, along with the other products and services they need to make the software usable. At the same time, the software developers receive the income they need to continue producing quality software.
As always, if you know of another commercial open source project that you think should be included in our list, please feel free to make a note in the comments section below.
The self-described "leader in open source billing and rating software," jBilling offers an invoicing platform for telecoms and companies that offer subscription-based services. It comes in either a community or an enterprise version, and the company also offers consulting, support and training services. Operating System: OS Independent.
Jaspersoft claims to be "the world's most widely used business intelligence software." It offers enterprise, professional and express editions in addition to the free community edition. The website above relates primarily to the commercial versions, but you can find out more about the open source tools at JasperForge.org. Operating System: OS Independent.
This project goes by two different names: Palo BI is the open-source version and Jedox is the commercial version. Both include tools for planning, analytics and reporting, as well as plug-ins that extend the capabilities of Microsoft Excel. Operating System: OS Independent.
Although it pays homage to its "open source heritage," the main Pentaho site is all about the commercial version of its business analytics and data integration tools. However, you can still find the open source version at the Pentaho Community Wiki. The full suite includes tools for ETL, OLAP analysis, metadata, data mining, reporting, dashboards and a platform for building your own solutions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Web-based OpenReports supports a wide variety of reporting engines, SQL-based reports, multiple parameters and flexible scheduling. The paid professional version adds a reporting dashboard, alerts, conditional report scheduling and report statistics. Operating System: OS Independent.
Rapid-I, the company behind Rapid Miner and sister projects Rapid Analytics and Radoop, claims that 38 percent of all analysts use its open source solutions. Data mining solution RapidMiner has won numerous awards and is used by thousands of organizations in more than 40 countries. It comes in three different supported enterprise versions, as well as the free community version. Operating System: OS Independent.
Business Process Management
Users of this BPM solution include Directv, Trane, the governments of France and the Canary Islands, and Konica Minolta. In addition to the open source version, it comes in teamwork, efficiency and performance subscription packs. Operating System: OS Independent.
Used by Toyota, Lenovo, the University of Melbourne and many other organizations, ProcessMaker BPM promises to help users "radically reduce paperwork, use resources more efficiently and improve business outcomes." You can deploy the open source and enterprise editions on site or use ProcessMaker in the cloud. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Now owned by Citrix, Cloud.com is an open source platform that allows enterprises or service providers to build public or private cloud infrastructure. The company also offers a supported enterprise version. Operating System: Linux.
Currently powering more than 25,000 private or hybrid clouds, Eucalyptus counts 40 percent of Fortune 500 firms as customers and boasts that it is "the world's most widely deployed cloud computing software platform for on-premise (private) Infrastructure as a Service clouds." Note that the link above will take you to the commercial version of the software; you can find the community version (and a whole lot of information about cloud computing in general) at Open.Eucalyptus.com. Operating System: Linux.
This open source cloud management software offers auto-scaling, disaster recovery and server management capabilities. It's used by more than 6,000 companies, including Samsung, the Walt Disney Company and Accenture. It works with both public and private clouds, and it's also available as a hosted service. Operating System: Linux.
According to a Forrester study, Alfresco Enterprise pays for itself within ten months. It includes Web content management, document management, records management, collaboration and a platform for building your own Java-based applications. It's available in both enterprise and community versions or a cloud version. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
The "#1 open source Web content platform for business," DotNetNuke currently runs more than 700,000 sites and boasts more than 7 million downloads. You can download the free community version or purchases the professional or enterprise version, and the site also has a large store with add-ons, themes and other tools to help speed the development of your website. Operating System: Windows.
Named a "leader" in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, LifeRay provides the platform for nearly half a million websites and enterprise portals, including some for Cisco, T-Mobile, Barclays, AutoZone and even Sesame Street. It has both community and enterprise editions, and Liferay also sells support, training and consultation services. Operating System: OS Independent.
This open source content management system has recently released version 4.5, which offers instant mobile websites and multi-channel publishing. It's used by thousands of organizations, including the U.S. Navy and Texas State University. Magnolia sells both standard and pro enterprise versions of its software, with multiple levels of support available. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
MindTouch creates customer support and help sites, also known as knowledge bases. Its long list of customers features PayPal, Mozilla, HP, Intuit, Fujitsu, Microsoft, The Washington Post and other well-known companies. The "Core" version of the software remains open source, but today the company focuses on the cloud-based version, which is updated every week. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
ConcourseSuite combines CRM functionality with Web content management and enterprise collaboration features. Interested organizations can use it on an SaaS basis, or it can be deployed on-premises with maintenance, hosting and support contracts available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
18. Orange Leap
While most CRM software is designed to meet the needs of for-profit companies, Orange Leap specifically targets non-profits. Paid support and hosting are available through the company. Operating System: Windows.
SourceTap is a sales force automation system that aims to meet the needs of both sales reps and sales managers. Multiple licensing options are available, and the software is also available on an SaaS basis. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
The community version of Splendid offers accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities modules, while the professional version adds product and order management, and the enterprise version adds more advanced features like workflow, ad-hoc reporting and offline client capabilities. All three versions can be deployed on-premise or accessed in the cloud on an SaaS basis. Operating System: Windows.
Web-based SugarCRM offers a low-cost, adaptable tool to help companies "communicate with prospects, share sales information, close deals and keep customers happy." Thousands of companies, like Avis, Coca-Cola and Chevrolet, have chosen it as their CRM solution. In addition to the open source version, it comes in professional, corporate, enterprise and ultimate versions, all of which can be deployed on premise or in the cloud. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Used by more than 100,000 businesses, vTiger aims to make your sales, marketing and support staff more effective. The latest version also includes mobile support, allowing employees to work from anywhere. You can download the open source version or use the onDemand service which runs on Amazon EC2. Operating System: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android.
"The world's most popular open source database," Oracle-owned MySql claims that users can lower their TCO up to 96 percent when compared to using Microsoft SQL Server. The site offers downloads of both the community and enterprise editions of the software, as well as a number of related tools. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Data Warehouse (DW)
Apatar makes it easier for enterprises to integrate data contained in on-premise or cloud-based applications, including many popular CRM tools. Users include Salesforce.com, Hotels.com, University of Maryland, Autodesk, Credit Suisse and others. In addition to the free download, Apatar offers an On-Demand version, as well as support, training, consulting and other paid services. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
MailArchiva stores enterprise e-mail messages, allowing companies to meet compliance requirements, to search old messages quickly, to monitor content and to save on storage costs. The link above will connect you with the enterprise and ISP versions of the software; for the open source version, see SourceForge. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Named a "leader" in the Forrester Wave for ETL, Talend offers data integration, data quality, master data management and application integration tools used by companies around the world, including The Weather Channel, Xerox, Capgemini, Verizon, Infosys and others. The company offers quite a few different versions of its tools: it markets the open source versions under the name "Talend Open Studio," and it markets the commercial versions under the name "Talend Enterprise." Operating System: Windows, Linux, Unix.
Now owned by Xamarin, the Mono development framework allows programmers to create cross-platform applications that are compatible with Microsoft's .NET framework. Regular Mono is free and open source; MonoTouch (for iOS development) and Mono for Android require a licensing fee. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android.
28. Sencha Touch
With Sencha Touch, developers can create cross-platform HTML5 Web apps that look and feel like native mobile apps. Both the GPL and commercial license versions of the framework are free; support is available on a paid basis. Operating System: OS Independent.
29. Zend Framework
The Zend Framework helps PHP developers create more secure, reliable, and modern Web 2.0 applications and services. Support and related products can be purchased through Zend's corporate website. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Document Management Systems (DMS)
This user-friendly enterprise document management solution features an intuitive Web interface, integration with Microsoft Office and Outlook, full-text indexing, multiple language support and more. It comes in open source, enterprise and cloud editions. Operating System: OS Independent.
Designed to be equally usable by both large and small organizations, OpenKM is a document management system that features a Web 2.0 interface, easy search capabilities, multiple language support, mobile support and a scheduler. In addition to the free open source download, the company offers paid professional support or a subscription-based cloud version. Operating System: OS Independent.
Used by companies like PepBoys, the Container Store, Ganz and Waste Management, Broadleaf offers a Java-based e-commerce platform with a sophisticated promotions engine and customization capabilities. The full software is free and open source, but Broadleaf also offers paid support and consulting services. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Used by more than 110,000 online merchants, including Office Max, Harbor Freight Tools, K-Swiss and the North Face, eBay-owned Magento has been called an "emerging player to watch" by analysts at Forrester. The company offers enterprise and enterprise premium versions of the software for on-site deployment, a cloud-based version called "Magento Go," paid training and the free open source version. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Downloaded more than 1.3 million times, award-winning PrestaShop boasts a search-engine-friendly e-commerce platform with more than 275 features. The software is free, but the company sells support, training, add-ons, templates and other services. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Very similar to Basecamp, Collabtive is cloud-based groupware for tracking projects, milestones, tasks and time spent. It also imports Basecamp data. You can host it on your own server or use the paid hosting service. Operating System: OS Independent.
This collaboration platform helps teams work together with wikis, social networks, blogs, file sharing repositories, micro blogs, discussion boards and other tools. It comes in quite a few different flavors: the free open source version; standard, enterprise or high-availability cloud-based versions; and standard or enterprise on-premise versions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
37. Feng Office
More than 350,000 people use Feng Office, including those at NASA, the NBA and the U.S. Department of State. It offers project management, client relationship management, billing and finance modules that are designed with professional services organizations in mind. The company primarily promotes its cloud-based service, but you can also find an on-premise version, other services and the open source version at the site. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Group-Office includes shared calendar, CRM, e-mail, file sharing, and project management capabilities, all with mobile support. It comes in a community version, professional (on-site) version and a hosted version. Operating System: OS Independent.
Aimed at hosting providers and ISPs as well as enterprises and small businesses, Scalix offers an alternative to Microsoft Exchange servers for group e-mail and calendaring. It comes in numerous flavors, including the community, enterprise, small business and hosting editions. Operating System: Linux.
Another alternative to Microsoft Exchange, Zimbra offers "integrated email, contacts, calendaring, sharing and document management plus mobility and desktop synchronization." In addition to the open source edition, the company also offers a desktop client, a network edition and an appliance edition designed for use with VMware cloud infrastructure. Operating System: Linux, Unix, OS X.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Calling itself the "most modern, adaptable and affordable ERP solution," Compiere offers reporting, dashboards, warehouse management, manufacturing, purchasing, order management, financial management, sales, website, CRM and much more. It comes in open source or enterprise editions, and it's also easy to run the enterprise version in Amazon's EC2 cloud. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
42. Openbravo ERP
With more than 2 million downloads to its credit, Openbravo claims to be "the leading Web-based professional enterprise resource planning solution. The professional version of the software is available only through Openbravo's channel partners, but you can download the community edition or a free trial of the professional edition from the website. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
43. Open ERP
OpenERP offers more than 700 modules, so it's easy to tailor to your specific needs. It comes in three flavors: the open source community version, a paid enterprise version, or a cloud-based online version. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Used by Toyota, Honeywell and other well-known companies, Opentaps considers itself "the most advanced open source ERP + CRM solution." In addition to the free open source software, the company offers a supported professional version and several cloud-based versions available for deployment on Amazon EC2. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Downloaded more than 150,000 times, project-open aims to bridge the gap between ERP and project management, combining many of the most important features of both types of solutions. It's particularly well-suited for the needs of advertising and marketing agencies, IT service management companies, translation businesses and consulting firms. The core modules are free, but the company also offers paid support, extension modules, consulting, automatic updates and an SaaS version. Operating System: OS Independent.
This company claims you can download, install and get up and running with its ERP/CRM solutions in just ten minutes. The PostBooks version of the software is the open source version; xTuple offers many other paid versions (both on-premise and cloud-based) that are tailored for the needs of different types companies. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, mobile OSes.
You'll find the open source version of this firewall, Smoothwall Express, at Smoothwall.org. At the main corporate site, Smoothwall offers more complete security and Web filtering products that incorporate the open source firewall. Operating System: Linux, Unix.
Gateway Security/UTM Appliances
48. Endian Firewall
The "leading provider of open source network security solutions," Endian offers a free, open source version of its software that you can use to turn any PC into your own unified threat management appliance. It also sells a variety of commercially supported hardware and software appliances based on the same technology. Operating System: Linux.
49. Untangle Like Endian, the community version of Untangle allows you to create your own UTM appliance. However, the Untangle download includes some commercial features that will deactivate after 14 days unless you purchase a commercial license. The company also sells pre-configured appliances that offer "plug-and-play" network security. Operating System: Linux.
Human Resource Management (HRM)
50. Open Applicant
For companies besieged by job applicants, this software aims to make the process of finding the right employees easy and effective. It comes in open source, professional and hosted versions. Operating System: OS Independent.
51. Orange HRM
Designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Orange includes employee information management, absence/holiday/leave management, recruitment management, employee performance evaluation and many other HR tools. It's available as a free download, with professional support, training and a more advanced hosted version also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS)
The "most widely deployed IDS/IPS technology worldwide," Snort combines signature, protocol, and anomaly-based network inspection into one package. The software is free, but a subscription gets you real-time access to rules updates. (Non-subscribers must wait 30 days.) Operating System: Linux, Unix, BSD, Mac OS X.
Downloaded more than 5,000 times every month, this popular host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS) offers features like a powerful correlation and analysis engine, integrating log analysis, file integrity checking, Windows registry monitoring, centralized policy enforcement, rootkit detection, real-time alerting and active response. Companies that need paid support can obtain it through OSSEC-owner Trend Micro. Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, BSD, Solaris.
Used by companies like Priceline.com, GEICO and NYSE Euronext, RedHat's JBoss line of middleware includes an application platform, Web platform, messaging, SOA platform, business rules management system and much more. All of the tools are available in open source and enterprise versions. Operating System: Linux.
Ideal for brainstorming and planning sessions, XMind makes it easy to see the connections between ideas—it's sort of like a white board for your computer. In addition to the free version, it comes in a pro version for individuals and an enterprise version for businesses. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Network Monitoring/Scanning/Intrusion Detection
Calling itself the "industry standard in open source monitoring," Nagios counts Unisys, Wells Fargo, AVG, BT, Xerox, Citrix, iRobot, ADP, the Office of the President of the United States and many other organizations among its users. The paid Nagios XI version comes with a support and maintenance contract, but you can also purchase a support subscription for the Core open source version. Operating system: Linux, Unix.
Opsview aims to provide "a single pane of glass for managing and monitoring distributed IT infrastructures," including your cloud infrastructure and mobile devices connected to your network. The community version is free, but the paid enterprise version offers better scalability, reporting and other features. Operating System: Linux.
Intersect Alliance, the company behind SNARE, offers free, open source downloads of its monitoring agents. For commercial support and a centralized view of event collection, analysis, reporting and archives, you can purchase the proprietary SNARE server. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris.
"The world's foremost network protocol analyzer," Wireshark offers live capture and offline analysis of the traffic running across your network. The software is free, but Riverbed Technologies offers many products and services to enhance its capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, BSD, Solaris.
This enterprise-class monitoring solution offers both agent and agentless monitoring, availability and SLA reporting, scalability to 100,000 devices, and more. Commercial support, training and other services are available. Operating System: Windows (agent only), Linux, OS X.
RedHat, which calls itself "the world's open source leader," offers one of the best known distributions of Linux. RedHat Enterprise Linux comes in desktop, server and several other versions. Note that RedHat is a paid product, but a community version is available through Fedora.
62. SUSE Novell counts the London Stock Exchange, Office Depot, Sony and Walgreens among the users of its SUSE Enterprise Linux. It comes in multiple desktop and server versions, including some optimized for virtualized or cloud computing environments. For the open source version, see openSUSE.
63. Ubuntu Used by more than 20 million people, Ubuntu comes in desktop, server, cloud and mobile editions. Professional support, services, training and consulting are available through the Canonical, which owns Ubuntu.
64. Onepoint Project
This Web-based application combines project management and project portfolio management into a single package. It comes in open source, group and enterprise versions, and the paid group and enterprise versions can be deployed on your own server or in the cloud. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Vyatta offers both hardware appliances and networking software. Both are based on the open source software available through Vyatta.org. Operating System: Linux.
This open source school information system (SIS) claims that it can save schools 75 percent versus commercial solutions. The free community edition is suitable for small or medium-sized schools with their own IT staff, while the SaaS school edition is for small or medium-sized schools who don't want the hassle of running their own servers. Large schools and districts should look at the district edition, which can run in the cloud or on premises. Operating System: OS Independent.
ClearOS combines a networking server, security gateway, file server, groupware server, Web server and more into a single download. All three versions—enterprise, home and core—are available on a free and open source basis, but paid software subscriptions, technical support, hardware and other services are available through ClearCare. Operating System: Linux.
Like ClearOS, Zentyal is a multi-function small business server with unified threat management, officer server, communications and other capabilities. The basic edition is free; small business and enterprise editions, training, and add-ons require a fee. Operating System: Linux.
Downloaded more than 1 million times, Openfiler incorporates both file-based Network Attached Storage (NAS) and block-based Storage Area Networking (SAN) in a single download. Subscriptions, plug-ins and an administrator's guide are available for a fee. Operating System: Linux
The self-proclaimed "world's most popular open source payroll and time management software," TimeTrex handles scheduling, attendance, job costing and payroll functions. It comes in a free standard edition and paid pro and business editions; the pro and business versions can be purchased on an SaaS basis or deployed on site. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
This software-based two-factor authentication system aims to be less expensive and more extensible than competing solutions. The paid enterprise server version adds support and some proprietary functionality not included in the free open source version. Operating System: OS Independent.