Best open source innovations of the past decade

Kubernetes, LibreOffice and Firefox Quantum are just three of the open source innovations from the 2010 that Jack Wallen highlights in a review article in this decade.

Image: OSS

It has been a great decade for open source. So many things have happened – some have radically changed the way companies work and some have significantly improved the Linux desktop experience.

I highlight what I think are the best innovations that have emerged from the open source community since 2010. Are there any more great open source innovations? Yes, of course, but in my opinion, these are some of the most important.

SEE: More decade in reporting (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

dock worker

There are two sides to this coin. Some may say that containers are little more than the fashion word du jour; however, containers are not going anywhere. Although the idea of ​​containers has been around for more than ten years, it is not until October 2013 that Docker came into existence. And yes, there are people who say that the popularity of Docker has faded in recent years, but if Docker containers had not been there, a number of new and very important technologies would not have come to life. I would also say that Docker was the first to make the implementation of container applications simple.

And think about it, if Docker hadn’t been there, we might not have …


was created on 7 June 2014 and has seriously changed the game for large companies and developers. With this container orchestration tool, administrators can easily (relatively speaking) deploy containers on a scale in clusters. With the addition of a few extra tools such as Helm and Terraform, it is possible to automate your CI / CD pipeline. Without Kubernetes, Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery would even be a pipeline for most companies. Kubernetes has had a profound effect on companies at company level and on companies that are developing for this.

SEE: 2010s – The Decade in Review (ZDNet special function)


Let’s take it down a few steps with a short detour to the Linux desktop. Although some claim that there are much better desktop environments, on April 6, 2011, GNOME 3 changed the game. This was the first time that a popular Linux DE made a drastic switch to the popular desktop metaphor. Instead of the usual panel, main menu, system tray, etc., the GNOME developers opted for a completely different approach – an approach that would not only be more efficient, but user-friendly, elegant and unique touch screen. The GNOME team received a lot of flack for this change, but they persisted. Indirectly it was the release of GNOME 3 that inspired both Cinnamon and MATE as well as Deepin Desktop. So even if you don’t like it, chances are that the desktop you use has benefited from GNOME 3.

SEE: Decade in Review 2010 – 2019 (CNET)

The cloud

This one is a bit vague. Although the idea of ​​cloud computing was invented as early as the 1960s, the past decade has seen a huge increase in what the cloud can do. No other technology is nearly as responsible for the cloud as open source. Without the will of Kubernetes, Docker, Ubuntu Server, RHEL and SLES, the cloud would not be nearly what it is today. Open source owns the cloud and that is not going to change.

It was around 2016 that the cloud IT market segments began to dominate completely. Thanks to open source technology, we now have tools such as Nextcloud that make it possible for small to large companies to have their own, private cloud platforms. Imagine the IT landscape without the cloud? No nice photo at the moment. The next time you see an open source developer, you thank her for the cloud as we know it.

SEE: Cloud computing: more coverage you need to read (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Chrome OS

And talking about the cloud, let’s talk about Chrome OS. When the Google platform was released on June 15, 2011, there was a lot of skepticism. What good is a laptop that would not work without an internet connection? That was then. Now you probably can’t imagine that you don’t have an internet connection 24/7. But our always connected society is not the reason that Chrome OS is still popular. Chrome OS is still widely used because of the speed, simplicity, reliability and security.

Chromebooks are without a doubt one of the simplest platforms on the market. Even the out-of-box experience cannot be beat. As any IT administrator will confirm, giving a Chromebook to a family member means you don’t have to constantly suffer from the weight of debt-sensitive technical support.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Yes, the concept of IoT originated before the 2000s, but it wasn’t until 2013 that IoT evolved into an ecosystem that consisted of multiple technologies, from the internet to WiFi, to micro-electromechanical systems, to embedded systems. Open source is the core of IoT devices. Why? Two words: Linux kernel. Because the Linux kernel can be stripped to an absolute minimum of services and software, it is perfect for embedded devices. But it’s not just the Linux kernel that drives IoT – there are plenty of open source tools that drive IoT. Tools such as Kinoma, ARM Mbed, Snappy Core, Node-Red, IOtivity and DSA all help to make IoT possible. But without that Linux kernel, IoT wouldn’t be what it is today.

Libre Office

We are going back to the desktop with LibreOffice. Although OpenOffice (originally StarOffice) was one of the first open-source office suites, it was far enough behind to become irrelevant. Then on 25 January 2011 LibreOffice was created to offer an open source office package that could stay with the best and innovate quickly and reliably. Although, even if LibreOffice were to leave, there are still many options left (such as KOffice), but none would remain so faithful to the ethos of open source, while still being a viable option for the world of company. Without LibreOffice, Linux users would be banned to Google Docs and Office 365 for business collaboration.

Firefox Quantum

It seemed that Firefox was doomed to burn and fade – it was buggy, bulky and burdened with a serious lack of speed. This changed on November 14, 2017 when Mozilla announced Firefox Quantum (now only Firefox) and stated that it was more than twice as fast as previous iterations of their browser. Quantum was the biggest update since the first launch of Firefox. With the promise of less memory consumption, Firefox Quantum immediately burst out. Mozilla saved its browser from extinction and is now the number two browser in use today – number one is Google Chrome and number three is Internet Explorer.

Honorable mention: Node.js

Although it does not fit in with the 2010-2019 timetable for the Decade in TechRepublic series, Node.js deserves a mention.

SEE: Node.js JavaScript versus PHP: Which programming language do developers win? (TechRepublic)

Node.js was released on May 27, 2009 and is an open source, platform independent JavaScript runtime environment that can execute JavaScript outside of a browser, also known as ‘JavaScript everywhere’. What makes Node.jsJS so important is that it helps developers to be more productive. How? It makes building real-time apps incredibly fast; it allows encoding in JavaScript for both client and server; it bridges the gap between front-end and back-end developers, and more. Node.jsJS is the perfect language for micro services and performs faster than any other language.

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