Popular open source projects

The open-source movement has gained momentum over the last few years. So much so that The Linux Foundation recently formed the LF Networking Fund (LFN) in an effort to place multiple open source networking projects under a single umbrella. These types of projects allow virtually anyone to make modifications, and potentially improve, software code through a process called upstreaming. Given the numerous open source projects available, however, choosing one to contribute to can feel overwhelming. To simplify matters, the following — though far from an exhaustive list — highlights some noteworthy open source projects.


The Hyperledger Project was originally announced in 2015 by The Linux Foundation as an open source project to advance the blockchain digital technology for recording and verifying online transactions. The project provides an environment that allows software developers to interact and develop blockchain frameworks. In 2016, Intel contributed Sawtooth software to the project, a modular platform for building, deploying and running distributed ledgers that verify online transactions. The Hyperledger Project boasts over 100 members, gaining attention from companies like Cisco, Red Hat, Huawei, among others.


Google’s TensorFlow was also released in 2015 as a machine learning software library. It was originally developed with an eye toward conducting machine learning and deep neural networks research. Over the years, however, Google has used TensorFlow for a variety of applications, including Google search, Google’s voice recognition app and Google translate. The TensorFlow libraries makes it easier to incorporate machine learning features, like voice recognition, into various services. Companies like Airbnb, Google, Dropbox, Qualcomm and Arm use TensorFlow.

Open Compute Project

The Open Compute Project is a Facebook initiative focused on redesigning hardware in order to meet infrastructure needs. The roots of the project trace back to when Facebook engineers spent two years building an energy efficient data center in Prineville, Ore., in which they discovered new ways to use less electricity. Upon making the design publicly available in 2011, Facebook decided to open source all of its hardware designs, thereby giving rise to the Open Compute Project. The project has collaborated with open source software projects as well. Some of its members include AT&T, Google, Cisco and Verizon.


Kubernetes is an open source container technology originally developed by Google engineers. Since its release in 2014, Kubernetes has become the de facto standard of container orchestration, with competitors like AWS and Docker embracing the open source platform. The technology enables user to deploy container clusters with advanced native cloud features. According to the Portworx Annual Container Adoption survey that included insights from 491 IT professionals, Kubernetes is used by 48% of companies with over 5,000 employees, and by 33% as their primary orchestration tool.


Open Networking Lab and The Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) as an open source project in 2016. The architecture combines network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and elastic cloud services. It uses open blocks to minimize capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX), accelerate time-to-market for services, and provide third-parties various ways to launch virtual network functions (VNFs). Service providers like AT&T, SK Telecom, Verizon, China Unicom and NTT Communications support CORD.

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