Notable Open Source Projects in London

Open source technologies are a rapidly growing segment of the market that is worth investigating by anyone who is serious about software development. No matter whether you are focusing on web development or back end development, open source technologies are bound to have been used at least once to solve every problem you are currently addressing. Below we will be looking at some notable open source projects in the London area, and where they are going from here.

One of the most interesting open source projects in London at this time is the OpenAir Project. The OpenAir project is an open source application backed by the Natural Environment Research Council for air pollution data analysis. Other major involved parties are King's College London, Defra, and the University of Leeds.

The OpenAir project aims to be useful across all atmospheric sciences, academia, researchers, regulators, and environmental modelling. Containing several useful tools for visualization the OpenAir libraries and project has a multitude of graphing options such as data roses, bivariate polar plots, and trend analysis tools.

The OpenAir project is a prime example of the power of open source. By focusing the efforts of hundreds of interested individuals with widely varying backgrounds, they are capable of bringing an entire suite of environmental analysis tools to the world at a fraction of the time and budget that larger projects would require. Also since the project is driven by the members of the project, there is little room for corporate or governmental bias in the results. For more information, visit their web site at

Another large open source project based in London is the Activiti Business Process Management open source project. Focusing on implementing the new BPMN 2.0 Standard from the Object Management Group, the BPM project is an independent product to the Alfresco open source enterprise content management system. There is significantly more information available on their website at

There are literally thousands of other open source projects that originated or have strong presences in London, including phpBB and WordPress, and there is no way to address them all here. Additionally, one of the greatest things about open source software is it is not restricted by national borders or cultural identity, allowing every developer worldwide the same level of access to the code and for making changes. These features allow open source software to focus on solving the problems they were meant to solve, without having to deal with internationalization and localization. In the event an open source project is written in one language and is needed in another, someone who is fluent in both languages will take the time to localize that software, without any additional expenditure of resources.

By focusing your efforts into the open source community, you can find yourself involved with some of the most dedicated and passionate developers to be found anywhere in the world. In most cases these programmers are not driven by deadlines or payroll, but by their interest in the project and their belief that their contributions are for the good of the project and valuable. This is not to say that there is no money to be made in open source software, indeed several Universities are making open source support of their projects a priority, and will pay quite well for developers familiar and comfortable with the open source environment.

From a more practical business standpoint, while releasing your code to the internet in an open source environment does make it more difficult to monetize your products, you gain the advantage of having many thousands of eyes poring over your code, ensuring that those obscure security holes are closed and providing support for free long after your company has moved onto the next project. In fact it is generally a good public relations move to release legacy code into the open source world, as your clients will benefit from being able to get security and product updates after your company has stopped maintaining the software. In addition, most people find companies who are willing to release code to the open source community as more personable, and will tend to maintain a higher opinion of your company in the future.

So take the time to look into open source software projects, in London and elsewhere, as a source of inspiration and should you decide to take that route, a source of hundreds of volunteer developers to keep your software running smoothly for years to come.