Frequently, Datamation puts together lists of top open source software. This time we’ve done something a little different and made a list of top open source Web sites.
Of course, literally thousands of sites and forums provide news and information about open source software. To narrow things done, we focused on sites that provide a lot of links of open source applications – the top places to download open source software.
These sites fall into several categories. The “project hosting” category includes giants like SourceForge that provide server space for open source code and allow downloads. The “directories” category includes sites that have created lists of open source projects and update those lists regularly, but that don’t actually host the code themselves.
Sites that made a list of great open source software at some point in time but that don’t update those lists on an ongoing basis are in the “best of open source lists” category. In the “collections” category, you’ll find projects that have rolled a large number of open source projects into a single download. Because these sites also contain links to the individual applications they contain, they provide an excellent resource for finding good open source software.
And finally, sites that didn’t fall neatly into one of these categories landed in the “miscellaneous” group at the end.
As with our other open source lists, if we missed some top sites that should be on our list, feel free to note them in the comments below.
Project Hosting Sites
The “mother lode” for open source projects, SourceForge hosts nearly 280,000 projects (at last count). It serves more than 2 million downloads a day and includes apps and tools in a wide variety of categories.
GitHub hosts both public and private projects that use the open source Git version control system. This “social coding” site currently hosts more than 1.7 million repositories, including many open source projects.
3. Google Code
Google offers free hosting for open source projects using the Subversion or Mercurial version control systems. It offers 2 GB of storage, integrated code review tools, a wiki, and an issue tracker. The Google Code site also provides links to Google’s many publicly available APIs and other developer tools.
4. Eclipse Labs
Also hosted by Google Code, Eclipse Labs is a searchable repository of projects built on the Eclipse platform. Note that these are not official Eclipse Foundation projects.
Like GitHub, BitBucket hosts both public and private projects. On this site, open source projects and private projects with fewer than five users are free. It hosts more than 48,000 repositories, many of which are searchable on the site.
Maintained by Canonical, LaunchPad is particularly targeted at projects that run on Ubuntu. It provides hosting for more than 21,000 projects that use the Bazaar version control system.
Codehaus describes itself as “a collaborative software development environment for projects with opensource (but business friendly) licences.” In order to be hosted on the site, projects must pass muster with a review board which determines whether they meet the criteria laid out in the site’s manifesto.
As you might guess from the name, RubyForge hosts open source projects written with the Ruby programming language. It currently serves as a home to more than 9,000 projects.
Unlike many of the more general project hosting sites, Tigris has a very narrow focus: “building better tools for collaborative software development.” It includes nearly 700 projects of particular interest to developers.
Home to more than 4,600 projects, BerliOS offers free hosting for open source projects of all types. Note that although it has a German Web address, the site is available in a number of languages, including English.
Savannah describes itself as “a central point for development, maintenance and distribution of official GNU software.” It hosts 410 official GNU projects.
In addition to the official GNU project site (above), Savannah also offers hosting for free software that isn’t part of GNU. It currently has more than 2,800 projects in this category.
If you’ve visited either of the Savannah projects, Gna! will feel very familiar as it uses the same software and also focuses on GNU-related projects. It currently hosts 1350 projects.
Hosted by Microsoft, CodePlex provides a home both to open source projects developed by Microsoft and some community based projects. It offers downloads for more than 20,000 projects.
Originally founded by Sun Microsystems, Java.net hosts or links to a large number of Java-related projects. In addition, it also includes a number of blogs, forums and other resources for the Java community.
Gitorious offers free hosting for open source projects that use the Git version control system. It provides a home to some well-known projects, including several projects related to OpenSUSE and Qt.
TuxFamily provides free hosting to any site with a recognized open source license. At last count, it had more than 2,300 projects. Note that this is a French organization, so it is sometimes difficult to find English translations for parts of the site.
Home to just over 250 projects, KnowledgeForge is one of the smaller open source hosting sites. It’s supported by the Open Knowledge Foundation and works with multiple version control systems.
Short for “Open Source Observatory and Repository,” OSOR is a European Union site for open source projects that can be used in public administrations. It currently hosts more than 200 projects and links to nearly 2,500 more, and the site also contains helpful research and news related to free and open source software.
Formerly known as “the ObjectWeb Forge,” OW2 provides hosting for open source projects related to infrastructure software. It currently hosts 188 projects.
Open Source Directories
Owned by the same company that owns SourceForge, Freshmeat boasts “the Web’s largest index of Unix and cross-platform software.” Note that while most of the applications listed on the site are open source, not all of them are.
Recently purchased by Black Duck Software, Ohloh is an openly-edited directory of open source projects. It provides a variety of general information about each project (language, license, Web site, etc.), as well as user ratings, downloads, and some interesting tools that can help you compare various projects.
This site aims to provide end users with open source alternatives to well-known commercial software. This directory isn’t as exhaustive as some, but the way it’s formatted makes it easily accessible by open source newbies.
Sponsored by GigaOm, this site provides information and ratings about more than 150,000 open source projects. It includes a helpful “alternatives” tab, which makes it easy to find and compare similar open source projects.
25. OS Living
This site aims to collect “the Web’s best open source software” in its archive. In addition to a keyword search tool, it also allows users to search by category, making it easy to find the type of software you’re looking for.
This site is maintained by the Free Software Foundation (the owners of the GNU project) and United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In addition to a large library of software links, it also includes a lot of information about the philosophy behind open source software.
Like several others in this category, this site also attempts to filter out the “best” of open source software. It doesn’t provide a lot of data about each application—instead it primarily provides ratings and links to the project’s Web sites.
Webi offers a basic listing of open source software with links to downloads. It’s heavy on games, which have their own section of the site.
29. The LOOP List
The Ubuntu site includes this helpful list of open source software that runs on Windows. It can be edited by anyone, but it’s limited to the three “best” open source applications for any given category.
This UK-based site offers links to open source projects that are helpful for educators. This directory is a little bit more difficult to read and search than some of the others but is still helpful.
FreeSMUG stands for “Free Open Source Software Mac User Group.” In addition to forums, tutorials, videos and other resources, this group maintains a very extensive directory of open source projects that run natively on OS X.
This bare-bones site features nothing but a directory of Java-based open source projects. It’s particular strong on developer tools.
Made for developers, this directory provides open source code that serves a variety of purposes. It’s categorized by language as well as by function.
This site limits itself to “sufficiently developed and stable open source applications that are ready for deployment.” It contains nearly 900 downloads and also provides links to recent open source news.
35. EOS Directory
The Enterprise Open Source Directory, now owned by the Open Source Business Foundation, includes 260 projects that it deems “enterprise-ready.” It also provides user and expert ratings as well as rankings of projects’ functionality, maturity, community and more.
Like the EOS Directory, this site specializes in enterprise software. It also includes job postings, news and a unique tool that compares similar open source, proprietary and SaaS products.
This wiki-style site, funded by VirtualORGS, offers a good directory of open source software, as well as a number of pages dedicated to the philosophy and history of the open source movement. It also links to a directory of commercial open source software.
In addition to developing half a dozen projects of their own, this group has put together a list of open source software of interest to researchers and science educators. It’s particularly rich in apps related to math and chemistry.
Open Source Software Collections
This project collects a wide variety of open source projects for Windows into a single download. The “Programs” tab at the site lists all the individual applications in the download and links to their sites so that you can also download the apps separately.
Windows users can take some of the best open source apps with them on a portable thumb drive when they download this collection. You can also download portable versions of each included app separately.
From this site, you can download five different collections of open source apps for Windows—2GB, Essential, Game, School and Web—each of which fits onto a portable thumb drive. The site also contains links to each of the individual apps included.
Best-Of Open Source Lists
All right, we’ll admit it, this entry is a little self-serving. Datamationpublishes “best of” lists for various categories of open source software every couple of weeks or so. Enter “open source software” in the search bar to find some of the most recent.
43. Bossie Awards
Every year, InfoWorld hands out “Best of Open Source Software”, aka Bossie, Awards to the projects it judges to be most deserving in each category. In addition to the most recent winners, you can also search through past years’ winners.
44. Packt Publishing Open Source AwardsThis book and e-book publisher also awards annual prizes for outstanding open source software. Most of the winners and runners up on this list would be of interest to Web developers.
Insecure.org created this list in 2006 based on a survey of people who received an Nmap newsletter. It provides a good overview of some of the more mature security (and hacking) tools.
The OSSwin project provides a directory of open source software that runs on Windows. It’s a little bit dated, but it can help you find some “oldies but goodies.”
This list on the UbuntuLinuxHelp blog offers a good overview of useful apps for Linux users. It’s a couple of years old, but most of the links are still good.
48. Open Source FreewareThis site is also a few years old, but has an interesting way of listing the applications it contains. It describes each app by its primary feature, for example, after “I want to protect the computer against viruses” it lists ClamWin.
49. Open Source God
This list from Mashable.com is impressive for its length and breadth. It includes more than 480 great open source applications from a very wide variety of categories.
This page offers short, simple descriptions of some of the most well-known open source apps for Windows, with links to each.
51. Open Source Mac
A slightly longer list that follows the same format as “Open Source Windows”—only highlighting open source apps that work on OS X.
Miscellaneous Open Source
The free and open source community has contributed heavily to the free encyclopedia, and as a result, Wikipedia has a wealth of articles with good information on open source software. The link above has an extensive list of open source projects with articles on Wikipedia. From these articles, you can usually link to the project site or a download page.
This Black Duck-sponsored site allows users to search a database of open source code. It claims 30,000 users per day and more than 3 billion lines of code in its database.
Melquiades provides an interface to the data collected and analyzed by the FLOSSMetrics project. The FLOSSMetrics Project is a European Commission-funded project to build a database of information about open source projects, particularly those of interest to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Apache Software Foundation currently sponsors nearly 100 enterprise-grade open source projects listed on this site. Many Apache projects, including the well-known HTTP Server, relate to Web-based technologies.
In addition to the well-known desktop environment for Linux, the KDE community has created many different types of applications, many of which run on multiple platforms. The link here will take you to the big list of KDE applications.
The Xiph Foundation describes itself as “a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests.” With that goal in mind, the group has developed a number of open source multimedia tools, including several open audio and video codecs.
The World Wide Web Consortium, also known as “W3C,” is primarily known as a developer of Web standards. However, the group has also created a number of open source tools for Web developers.
The space agency has released the code for a number of pieces of software its engineers have created. Not surprisingly, several are related to science and space exploration, but many others would be of interest to IT managers or educators.