If the phrase "open source software" continues to conjure images of impassioned programmers selflessly collaborating for the common good, it may be because, even as commercial interests are behind many of the most prominent projects, the results are no less inspired – and typically no less free. Yes, advanced functionality or maintenance and support may require writing a check, but freeloaders looking for high-quality software – of almost any kind – have never had it so good.
Chosen by InfoWorld Test Center editors, analysts, and reviewers, InfoWorld’s annual Best of Open Source Software awards (or Bossies, for short) celebrate the best products that open source has to offer: the best free software on the planet for businesses, their IT staffs, and their employees’ workstations.
Our 2008 winners include 60 products in eight categories: enterprise applications such as CRM, ERP, BI, and reporting; collaborative applications, including mail/calendar, wiki, and social networking; desktop productivity apps from office suites to 3-D modeling; platforms and middleware, including operating systems, databases, virtualization, and SOA integration; developer tools from AJAX and rich Internet apps to Web service testing and version control; networking, including server monitoring, routing, Wi-Fi scanning, and VoIP software; security software, including firewall, IDS, disk encryption, and security testing; and storage, including monitoring and administration, backup, and NAS.
Some of our picks were easy. For office productivity suite, what else but OpenOffice.org? For network intrusion detection, what else but Snort? And for security log analysis, nothing beats Splunk. Even in areas where good options abound, sometimes one solution is head and shoulders above the rest: In CRM, Sugar; in content management, Alfresco; in IP telephony, Asterisk.