Tuesday, 09 October 2018 13:10

Open source: a core element in tech’s hottest trends

Open source software which was previously perceived to be a geeky and slightly awkward alternative to mainstream software, has evolved to be trendy, fashionable and innovative. As 2018 nears its end, we’re seeing open source projects play an increasingly important role in all the top strategic technology trends that are reshaping the world around us.

Open source has grown and matured to the point where everyone from small businesses to tech giants and global enterprises have open source at the core of their strategies.

This two part series from SUSE identifies ten top tech trends where open source is taking centre stage.

Here’s part one:

1. Artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML)

According to Gartner, the business value derived from AI will be $1.2 Trillion this year. It’s expected to have an impact everywhere from customer support and chatbots to finance, research, machine learning, automating data centre operations and security.

AI and ML require huge datasets and the compute capacity for fast data analysis. Many organisations are using high-performance computing (HPC) solutions to get this done and the king of the HPC world is Linux.

AI, ML, deep learning, predictive analysis and neural networks are among the hottest areas for technology research, so it’s no wonder open source projects are playing a major role.  TensorFlow, Caffe, H2O, Mahout, and MLlib are leading examples, but there are plenty of other options available.  Take a look at these lists at Datamation.com and KDnuggets.com for more.

2. Robotics

Robotics is set to have a profound influence on our working environment and culture.
We’re already using robots for manufacturing, farming, warehousing, medical surgery, and automation. Expect to see more in the near future, including collaborative robots – or cobots – working alongside humans to improve efficiency and productivity.

The world of robotics is awash with open source projects focused on hardware, software and robot simulators. One example is ROS (Robotics Operating System), an open-source platform built on Linux that provides tools and libraries to make it easier to design and control complex robots. Just one of many open-source robotics projects seen in this space.

3. Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing

IoT solutions are already turning up in manufacturing, freight and transport, farming, asset management, smart infrastructure, smart utilities, and even contextual marketing.

The lion’s share of IoT devices use embedded Linux which provides a real-time OS that is simple, lightweight, lean on resources and low cost. When it comes to moving processing and compute to the edge of the IoT network, OpenStack is proving popular for a distributed cloud model.

4. Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving or autonomous vehicles are hot news right now. While they will likely start to be commercially available in 2020, don’t expect any major impact until maybe 2025.

Autonomous vehicles will need to run on a rock solid and secure OS. The idea of hackers breaking into the system is too worrying to contemplate. Telemetry, mapping, cameras, sensors, distance measuring, machine vision and machine learning techniques are also going to be crucial.

Car manufacturers are beginning to realise that the open source approach of collaboration and cooperation will make it easier to resolve many of these challenges. Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) and OpenCV are gaining in popularity, while even Tesla has recently decided to release its open-source Linux code.

5. Big data and analytics

Big data analytics is another huge technology trend that can’t be ignored. IDC expects this market to reach $210 billion by 2020, largely led by banking and manufacturing investments.

Once again, open source is delivering many of the leading RDBMS (Relational Data Base Management Systems), analytics engines and distributed computing solutions needed in this space. These include EDB PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, Apache Spark, Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka and Hadoop.

In addition, a quarter of all OpenStack cloud deployments are being used to run big data or data mining workloads [1].

Managing exponential data growth is a major issue. Big data and analytics are forcing organisations to think carefully about storage variety, volume and velocity. Ceph is the open source software-defined storage solution that is helping solve this problem.  

Today, open source dominates practically every sector of the computing industry and has become a trusted stalwart for IT, used by everyone from individual consumers to the largest global corporations.


SUSE provides and supports enterprise-grade Linux and open source solutions with exceptional service, value and flexibility. With partners and communities, we innovate, adapt and deliver secure Linux, cloud infrastructure and storage software to create solutions for mixed enterprise IT environments. We help customers harness the benefits and power of an open enterprise that can empower their possibilities.

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