Top Open Source Tools for Software Development

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Open source software (OSS) is rapidly gaining popularity among developers and businesses today. 

It’s no wonder then that the 2022 State of Enterprise Open Source Report by Redhat showed that 82% of IT leaders now prefer to use OSS over proprietary software. 

The most common use cases for open source solutions are in AI, containerization, Internet of Things (IoT), and serverless computing. 

Open source code is also considered more secure because of regular updates and quick patches. But it’s not the case that every open source resource out there is good to go. You need to be keen when choosing what to work with, because for every solution, there are several options. 

To help you get onto a good start, we prepared the list below which comprises a variety of open source resources for software developers to consider. 

Also Read: The Cost of Developing a Custom Software

The top open source resources for software developers

Based on our analysis and over a decade in this industry, the following are the top open source resources that have proven great for software developers.  

1. Git

Best for: Tracking changes in source code for collaborative software development projects


Git is a content tracker that monitors changes in code for projects with multiple developers. It manages and stores versions of code so that developers can revert to older versions if need arises. Developers can also collaborate on the same source code with minimal disruptions. 

Key features

  • Distributed architecture: Since Git is a distributed version control system (VCS), each developer keeps a copy of the code on their computer. They can collaborate with others or work offline. 
  • Merging and branching: Developers can create new branches of code and merge them onto others. This means teams can work in parallel without interfering with each others' code. 
  • Multiple platform support: Git runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Developers can also install it from source onto platforms like CentOS and Ubuntu. 

Popular users of Git

A recent Stack Overflow study found that out of 70,000 developers, 93% use Git. This makes it the most widely used version control system in the world. 

Also Read: Managing & Scaling With DevOps Tools

2. Eclipse IDE 

Best for: Java programming 


Eclipse IDE is an open source platform that enables developers to write and test code in a simplified environment. Although it works best for Java applications, Eclipse supports a wide range of programming languages through plug-ins. 

Key features

  • Highly customizable plugin architecture: Developers can add individual software components to improve Java functionality. The IDE marketplace has over 1,200 plugins, from databases to UI and code testing tools. 
  • Multi-language support: Eclipse supports numerous programming languages aside from Java. These include Python, C++, JavaScript, HTML, Ruby, and PHP. 
  • Integrated environment: Eclipse brings together all the essential software development tools into one user-friendly interface. Developers can use advanced coding tools like error detection and automated fixes on the same platform. 

Popular users of Eclipse IDE

  • AnyLogic, a simulation modeling software for businesses running complex systems
  • DBeaver, a universal database management tool for developers working with SQL, NoSQL and cloud data 
  • Apache Directory Studio, a lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) browser built on the Eclipse platform. 

According to the 2020 JVM Ecosystem Report, 20% of Java developers use Eclipse IDE. This makes it the second most popular IDE platform. 

3. Fedora Linux 

Best for: Linux developers who want a fully customizable operating system 


Fedora Linux is an open source operating system that many programmers consider better than Windows for their projects. Fedora delivers the latest Linux updates to ensure the OS is on the cutting edge of open source development. 

Key features

  • Architecture support: Fedora Linux can run on desktop computers, supercomputers, servers, and many other architectures. 
  • Toolchain support: Developers can use the latest databases on compilers in their workflows in the Fedora Linux environment. Some toolchain packages include LibreOffice, Ruby on Rails, and OpenSSL. 
  • Regular automatic updates: Fedora distributes new Linux versions every 6 months. It supports each previous version for just over a year, encouraging users to keep updating their systems. 

Popular users of Fedora Linux

According to SimilarTech, there are over 5,000 websites using Fedora Linux. 

4. Godot Engine

Best for: Creating 2D and 3D video games in multiple programming languages 


Godot Engine is a free cross-platform game engine with a versatile toolkit for game development. It gives programmers complete access to the engine's source code to give creators greater control. 

Key features

  • Multi-platform support: Godot can launch games on desktop, mobile, and console platforms. 
  • Beginner-friendly interface: Godot has a simple, intuitive UI and visual tools that make game development easier. 
  • Lightweight: Godot is under 100MB, meaning it can run on a simple laptop or low-powered system. 

Popular users of Godot Engine

According to Enlyft, 153 companies use Godot Engine in industries such as software development, higher education, and gaming. 

5. Python 

Best for: General-purpose software development


We all know Python as one of the most versatile programming languages today. It is easy to learn and has numerous real-world applications. Developers can use Python to create anything from websites to games and AI models. 

Key features

  • Straightforward syntax: Python code reads like simple English words that developers can learn in just hours or days. 
  • Multi-platform support: Python can run on any operating system without needing to alter the code. 
  • Robust code library: Developers can tap into existing code to start their projects instead of writing fresh code for every function. 

Popular users of Python

  • YouTube for API feeds
  • Netflix for the full content lifecycle
  • Dropbox for front end and back end development 

According to Statista, 49% of developers worldwide code with Python. This makes it the third most popular programming language after JavaScript and HTML/CSS.

Also Read: Feature Driven Development Methodology

6. Jenkins 

Best for: Automating continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) workflows


Jenkins is a Java platform that plays an essential role in CI/CD DevOps pipelines. It enables developers to automate various stages of their workflows, including code building and testing. 

Key features

  • Web interface configuration: Developers can install Jenkins easily and choose from thousands of CI/CD plugins. 
  • Cross-platform distribution: Jenkins runs across multiple machines and platforms, meaning faster deployment. 
  • Master-slave architecture: Developers can run multiple builds and environments based on a Master code base, enabling faster feature development and testing. 

Popular users of Jenkins

In 2017, Jenkins recorded 1.5 million users to become the most popular CI/CD platform in the world. 

7. Docker Engine

Best for: Isolating and distributing applications in containers


Docker Engine is a containerization platform that makes software deployment faster and more secure. Docker containers are lightweight and efficient at managing an application's components on-premise or in a cloud environment.  

Key features

  • Isolated deployment: Docker containers create a safe deployment environment. Developers can run tests without interfering with other infrastructure functions.
  • Quick and easy configuration: Docker Engine can run on any operating system or environment, deploying code in minutes. 
  • Faster scaling: Since Docker containers require less computing resources, developers can get more workloads on their existing infrastructure. This enables rapid growth at lower costs. 

Popular users of Docker Engine

As of 2022, 26 million developers used Docker. The number is expected to grow to 45 million by 2030. 

8. Node.js 

Best for: Running JavaScript code outside web browsers 


Node.js is a runtime environment that enables developers to create fullstack applications without restrictions. 

It uses an event-driven non-blocking input/output (I/O) programming method. This means developers can deploy applications independently of networking resources. 

Key features

  • Asynchronous APIs: Node.js servers don't rely on data from other applications to work. They process API requests independently through built-in notification mechanisms. 
  • Scalability: Developers can build and test customized app versions that cater to various end-user needs. Businesses can scale faster with targeted app versions for different customer segments.
  • Faster data streaming: A Node.js application doesn't require buffering because it uses a single-thread architecture. This means it can handle more data requests and improve loading speeds. 

Popular users of Node.js

A 2018 Stack Overflow study showed that 49.9% of developers used Node.js. This makes it the most popular DevOps framework. 

9. Appwrite

Best for: Backend development for web and mobile applications 


Appwrite is a backend server for web, mobile, and native developers. It is based on Docker microservices that integrate with existing back end resources. Appwrite keeps app files securely and simplifies complex or repetitive development workflows. 

Key features

  • Robust database and storage: Appwrite allows developers to store and manage app data as documents or media.
  • Built-in security and privacy: Appwrite comes with SSL certificates and encryption options to protect app data. 
  • Credentials management: Appwrite has a suite of user authentication options to ensure easy user logins. 

Popular users of Appwrite

  • Snake Arcade, a retro-themed snake game
  • Careerpage, a job site for broadcasting careers 
  • Weeklyz, an office scheduling solution for hybrid teams 

According to a 2022 press release, over 150,000 developers use Appwrite. 

10. TensorFlow 

Best for: Machine learning and artificial intelligence projects 


TensorFlow is a machine learning framework that supports model development from end to end. Developers can train models for web, mobile, and cloud environments. Beginners can use TensorFlow's pretrained models to learn about AI and ML. 

Key features

  • A rapidly growing open source library: Developers contribute their algorithms and datasets to TensorFlow, making ML processes faster and easier.
  • Distributed computing: Developers can train TensorFlow models using multiple machines simultaneously. 
  • GPU/TPU support: TensorFlow accelerates computation by leveraging GPU and TPU processing power. 

Popular users of TensorFlow

  • Airbnb, for categorizing listing photos 
  • InSpace, for comment moderation in video conferencing chat boxes
  • ModiFace, for augmented reality (AR) makeup try-ons 

TensorFlow is the most used machine learning tool with 3 million developers in 2022. 

11. Novu

Best for: App notifications via direct (in-app), email, push, and SMS 


Novu is a notification tool that helps developers manage communication channels in one API. It also enables end users to control which notifications they want to receive from an application. Nova comes with templates and software development kits (SDKs) for various notification providers, e.g., Sendgrid and Twilio. 

Key features

  • Digest engine: Novu aggregates multiple event triggers into one notification 
  • Performance monitoring: You can use Novu to analyze notification channels for sending patterns and deliverability bugs. 
  • Multi-language support: Novu allows developers to create notifications in multiple languages without redeploying their code. 

Popular users Novu

There are 24,300 Novu users on the application's GitHub page


Open source resources present many benefits for software projects, including: 

  • Saving money: These resources are free to use, so you don't need to buy licenses. 
  • Improving security: Since a community of developers is constantly testing the code, it’s easy to find and fix security issues quickly. Also read: What is Shift Left Security?
  • Highly customizable: Developers can tailor open source resources to their specific use case. This is helpful when there is no proprietary software that meets your needs. 
  • Strong communities: Developers can exchange knowledge in OSS communities to keep polishing their code. 

Open source resources can improve development outcomes. These tools are designed to work across platforms, devices, and programming languages. This allows developers from around the world to collaborate on projects easily. 

Because of all these benefits, your software development project can gain tremendously from open source resources at every stage of the development life cycle.

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