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February 22, 2018

Top 5 open source projects for 2018

Open source projects are promoting and accelerating cutting edge innovation, which do you think are the most important?

By Tom Ball

In our increasingly collaborative world, open source technology is a top trend that is having a major impact on the development and implementation of cutting edge capabilities. Open source is when source code connected to a program is made freely available, giving users the opportunity to make modifications and to share with other users.

The common alternative to this is proprietary software, source code that remains under the strict control of an organisation, team or individual, ensuring that the integral code remains private and controlled by its owner.

Top 5 open source projects for 2018

Legal terms are the major differentiating factor when it comes to proprietary and open source software, with the authors of the proprietary variety in complete control over who can use and share it. While there are obvious differences, users of open source software must still accept license terms, but once this is done the user is ordinarily free to do as they please with it.

Open source projects are having a major influence in spaces that are current top tech trends, machine learning, blockchain and deployment automation to name just some. With source code connected to these important and popular areas, the opportunity for innovation is multiplied and progress is ultimately sped up. It also gives organisations to leverage the most competitive capabilities, disrupting traditional processes. In light of this, we are about to share with you five of the top open source projects that you should know about right now.

OpenCog and OpenCog Prime

With OpenCog we are beginning with a prime example of a top tech trend that is at the cutting edge in 2018, artificial intelligence. This open source project has been designed as an architecture geared towards virtual and robot capabilities, intenTop 5 open source projects for 2018ded to be a framework for broad-based research in artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Designed by Ben Goertzel and written in Python, C++ and Scheme for Linux, this project is linked with the intention to achieve general intelligence matching and surpassing the human level, an achievement that today still seems a long way off. Those behind the project do admit this is their overall, long-term goal.

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OpenCog has not only been brought into existence to achieve the aforementioned futuristic goal, it is also working towards reaching its more realistic research and development goals, while also streamlining its open source offering for practical application.


Hyperledger’s origins are in 2015 when it was established by the Linux Foundation, the project is ultimately a toolbox for a range of open source blockchains and other useful elements. Tapping into another top tech trend, blockchain is widely noted at one of the very hottest areas as we enter 2018, with Gartner placing it among its top strategic trends for the enterprise this year.

Top 5 open source projects for 2018

The project was born with the wider intention that it should work towards promoting cross-industry collaboration, drawing upon a full spectrum of innovation for the furtherance of distributed ledger technology. Blockchain is believed by many to be a key to a new era of disruption, a technology that could fundamentally transform industry and many processes in daily life as we know it.

This project boasts a very high-profile membership, representing the excitement that surrounds the blockchain space more generally. Intel, Cisco, R3, JPMorgan, Fujitsu and SWIFT are just some of the members behind the Hyperledger open source project.


Kubernetes is an open source system designed for the automation of deployment, the management of containerised applications. With the seed sewn by Google, the system is now under the watchful eye of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Perhaps among the most well known facts about Kubernetes is that it works closely with the software, Docker.

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With its name coming from the Greek for “helmsman”, the project freely provides its source code for the purpose of taking the wheel and automating the deployment process among others. Kubernetes has also had a broad and high-profile uptake, being leveraged by the likes of Pivotal, Red Hat, OpenShift and IBM. In 2017 the Cloud Native Computing Foundation was joined by Oracle, the major organisation that has subsequently used Kubernetes as an installer for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.


TensorFlow is perhaps the most well-known open source project, having been originally developed by the Google Brain Team, another open source project. Ultimately it is a software library that can be leveraged for programming and dataflow purposes, serving a wide range of use cases.

This project also taps into a current top tech trend, machine learning, a technology that is not new, but one that is gaining traction all the time as automation becomes increasingly desirable in the pursuit of a range of different outcomes.

Google is a major advocate for the project, with the search engine giant harnessing it for both research and production purposes. In terms of licensing, it was released in November 2015 under the Apache 2.0 open source license.


With so much mention of top tech trends, the matter of security cannot be passed by. This too, unsurprisingly, is an area that there is an open source project for. The Vault open source project offers a tool for the encryption of data while in-transit, and increasingly focussed on area with GDPR approaching, in addition to the general secure management of other information.

Top 5 open source projects for 2018

Secrecy is a central trope, providing secure storage  that encrypts data even before being written onto persistent storage. In addition to this, the information can be written onto disk and other options.

The makers of Vault also highlight revocation as a primary benefit, and this is done by locking down systems in the event of intrusion, applying another increasingly valuable layer of security and reassurance to the protection of valuable data. With the threat landscape constantly intensifying, this is an open source project of prime importance in 2018.



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