The five most popular corporate open-source programs

February 11, 2010 6:15 PM EST
We all know that lots of companies use open-source software. Trying to get a handle on what open-source programs they use can be a little harder. That's why the recent report from OpenLogic, an open-source software support company, on both their growth and what programs businesses are asking for help with is interesting.

In general, OpenLogic is continuing to grow while many other businesses are stuck in the bad economic times. According to the company, "OpenLogic's new customer growth was strong as bookings increased 86% over 2008 ... [while] renewal bookings grew by 40% over 2008."

These aren't little customers either. "OpenLogic's sales remain strong with large, Global 2000 companies representing 60% of OpenLogic's customer base ... while financial services and technology/telecommunications remain OpenLogic's top industries, government was the fastest growing sector. OpenLogic also saw strong growth in healthcare, manufacturing and media sectors."

I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. In 2009, OpenLogic actually saw significant growth. About the only other companies that come to mind that saw a serious increase in business last year was Apple and Red Hat.

Okay, so what open-source software are these companies interested in enough to ask for outside help with? The top five, in order of importance, were:

1. JBoss
2) Tomcat
3) Apache Web Server
4) Hibernate
5) MySQL Database Server

I find that a fascinating selection of programs because, if you think about it, they tell you what companies are doing with open source: They're developing JavaServer-based Web applications with MySQL as their database back-end.

JBoss is Red Hat's Java-oriented middleware and server platform, while Tomcat is the Apache Foundation's open-source JavaServer. Apache, of course, is the world's most popular Web server. Hibernate, perhaps the most obscure program on the list, is a persistent SQL database query server and is an important part of JBoss. MySQL, now owned by Oracle, is arguably the best open-source database management system.

If you add it all together, you see companies moving forward with open-source-based, dynamic Web-based applications. Many of programs being created with these components won't be available to the public. Instead, they're meant for internal company use. In short, this trend represents open source continuing to become a core part of IT's infrastructure.

In the past, open source was used at the edge of a company. You found it in Linux-based Web servers running Apache. Or, you saw it within a business as a branch level file-server. In that case, it was Linux with Samba proving Windows compatible file and print services.

Those were great places to start, but open-source has been growing up. OpenLogic's growth, and the areas in which it is growing, shows open source on its way to the heart of the corporation.