5 game changing open source projects

Open source in charge

In the era of mobile and cloud, we are becoming consumers of our own data and the companies whose services we use are becoming the owners.

These five technologies or projects ensure that we remain in charge of our digital lives.


Everyone is moving to the cloud - from enterprises to average people. One of the advantages of cloud that I value the most is access to my data from anywhere, on any device; it also works as backup in case you lose your device. The biggest drawback of public cloud services is the loss of ownership. The ownership of your data moves from you to the provider. They can delete or block access to your own data. Your data is also subjected to different laws and surveillance.

OwnCloud offers the best of both worlds. It gives you the on-demand accessibility of the cloud, while keeping you as the sole owner of your data. This makes ownCloud one of the most important open source projects as we dive deeper into the cloud-centric world.


Kolab is a collaboration system, including email, address book, calendar, document sharing, etc., that you can install on your own servers, keeping your communications safe from the prying eyes of the US government and other governments.

For those who don't want to do their own hosting, the company also offers the Kolab Now service, which is based in  Switzerland where privacy is protected by Swiss Laws.

Raspberry Pi

This credit card sized, $35 device has become a global phenomenon. It was originally developed in "with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries," but it is being used in so many different and creative ways.

And you can run both ownCloud and Kolab on your Pi.


WordPress isn't the oldest blogging platform, Drupal has been around since 2001. The way WordPress became a game changer is by making it easier for writers, who are not tech savvy, to easily publish their work online. WordPress today is the most popular blogging platform. It is being used by more than 60 million websites around the globe.


No list of game changers would be complete without Linux. Today, it seems like almost everything is powered by Linux. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google are running their empire on top of Linux powered infrastructure. Even Microsoft is now using Linux.

Linux has changed the way software is developed by championing the concept of open source. Linux made big and small companies comfortable with the idea of open source and today we have enterprise products like OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, which are being developed openly by some of the most powerful companies. Linux is the phenomenon that made the other four projects listed here possible.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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