Battery Ventures Unveils New Index Tracking Popular Open-Source Software Projects

As Open Source Increasingly Drives Enterprise IT, the New BOSS Index Offers Insights Into Technology Trends, Potential IPOs, Developer Happiness

MENLO PARK, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 10, 2017) - As enterprise-IT departments become more enamored with -- and dependent on--open-source software, investment firm Battery Ventures has released a groundbreaking new index ranking open-source projects according to their user activity, popularity, ability to create jobs and traction among developers.

The Battery Open-Source Software (BOSS) Index -- believed to be the first of its kind in the open-source community -- highlights the increasing reliance on freely available, open-source technology by big and small enterprises alike, and also the challenges in building commercially viable companies on top of these projects.

"The rise of open-source software represents a sea change in enterprise IT, and it is increasingly the go-to option when developers need to spin up new applications or infrastructure," said Dharmesh Thakker, the Battery Ventures general partner who oversaw the months-long research effort behind the BOSS Index. "Most, if not all, of the significant enterprise-tech companies being built today, and several that could go public this year or next -- including Cloudera -- are reliant on open source. At the same time, some other open-source companies have a ways to go to figure out a real business strategy."

Two of the top three highest-ranked projects in the index, Linux and MySQL, have spawned successful companies, Thakker pointed out. No. 1-ranked Linux underpins Red Hat and Ubuntu, while database company MySQL, later acquired by Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), is powered by MySQL technology, which ranked No. 3. And the popular version-control system Git, which ranked No. 2 on the list, has inspired companies like GitHub and GitLab.

But some high-ranking projects in the index still haven't been commercialized, despite lots of buzz and developer interest. Other fast-growing projects, such as Artifactory and Bintray by JFrog*, have yet to rank on the index. Artifactory and Bintray are becoming key components of the emerging category of "continuous integration" and software delivery alongside Jenkins, which ranked 14th. Open-source projects like these will likely be captured in future updates as the projects mature and as new trends emerge over time.

The 40 total projects listed in the index were gleaned from an initial scouring of technologies listed on the GitHub source-code repository site, as well as Datamation, an enterprise-IT publication that also tracks open-source projects. The top 25 are listed below and the full list can be found on Battery's blog. The index focuses on projects in enterprise-IT related areas like IT operations; data and analytics, including tools for artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as databases; and DevOps, which includes projects focused on the hot new trend of "containers," which help people develop software quickly in a sort of self-contained environment.

The projects were ranked according to four factors reflecting their traction among developers and user interest, then indexed to arrive at a final score. The four factors, all current as of Feb. 9, included:

  • Public interest in the project, as measured by Google search activity;
  • User activity, gauged by mentions of the projects on the popular tech-discussion board Stack Overflow;
  • Jobs impact, measured by the number of job postings citing each open-source project listed on the job boards Indeed and Simply Hired; and
  • Impact in the open-source community, tracked by measuring a project's influence on GitHub.

Since some projects may have done extremely well, or poorly, on certain criteria, the index uses a "trimmed mean" -- discarding the highest and lowest scores, while taking a geometric average of the remaining scores -- to arrive at the final ranking. More information on our methodology can be found in a related blog post here.

Here is a list of the top-25 ranked projects, along with a sample of companies using the technologies:

Rank Project Name Overall Project Rating Category Sample of Related Companies
1 Linux 100.00 IT Operations Red Hat, Ubuntu
2 Git 31.10 DevOps GitHub, GitLab
3 MySQL 25.23 Data & Analytics Oracle
4 Node.js 22.75 DevOps Nodesource, Rising Stack
5 Docker 22.61 DevOps Docker
6 Hadoop 16.19 Data & Analytics Cloudera, Hortonworks
7 Elasticsearch 15.72 Data & Analytics Elastic
8 Spark 14.99 Data & Analytics Databricks
9 MongoDB 14.68 Data & Analytics MongoDB
10 Selenium 12.81 DevOps Sauce Labs, Browserstack
11 NPM 12.31 DevOps NPM
12 Redis 11.61 Data & Analytics Redis Labs
13 Tomcat 11.04 IT Operations NA
14 Jenkins 10.47 DevOps CloudBees
15 Vagrant 8.15 IT Operations HashiCorp
16 Postgres 8.02 Data & Analytics EnterpriseDB
17 Gradle 7.68 DevOps Gradle
18 Nginx 7.57 IT Operations Nginx
19 Ansible 7.42 IT Operations Ansible
20 Kafka 7.22 Data & Analytics Confluent
21 GitLab 6.42 DevOps GitLab
22 Hbase 6.41 Data & Analytics Cloudera, Hortonworks
23 Chef 6.37 IT Operations                Chef*              
24 TensorFlow 5.97 Data & Analytics Google
25 Cassandra 5.74 Data & Analytics DataStax

Companies ranked according to four factors. Overall project rating represents the geometric mean of two of the four individual scores, which reflect online discussion activity; search activity; jobs impact; and GitHub activity. All data is as of February 9, 2017.

*Denotes a Battery portfolio company. For a full list of all Battery investments and exits, please click here.

Other Battery team members behind the research project include Battery associate Dan Nguyen-Huu and Battery executive-in-residence Max Schireson, the former CEO of open-source database company MongoDB.

About Battery Ventures
Battery strives to invest in cutting-edge, category-defining businesses in markets including software and services, Web infrastructure, consumer Internet, mobile and industrial technologies. Founded in 1983, the firm backs companies at stages ranging from seed to private equity and invests globally from offices in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Israel, and London. Follow the firm on Twitter @BatteryVentures, visit our website at and find a full list of Battery's portfolio companies here.

Contact Information:

Alicia Halatsis Michaud
Battery Ventures