Internet giants embrace open source: 12 technologies open-sourced by Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn

Some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world have offered their technology to IT communities


Update: Google has now joined Facebook's Open Compute Project, offering more insights into the operation of its huge data centres and allowing others to benefit from its energy efficient hardware designs. Read on for more information about how some of the biggest web firms have opened up their technologies to others in the past.

Open source projects often stem from businesses attempting to solve an internal problem, before being offered up to a wider community. And increasingly in recent years it has been the internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google which have offered the technology which underpins their huge, hyper-scale computing environments.

Owning some of the biggest data centres in the world, these companies are forced to manage data on an unprecedented scale, requiring some pioneering techniques. And, in some cases, these can be seen to gradually filter down to a wider range of businesses.  

And why reveal their trade secrets to the wider world? In return for offering others a glimpse of their internal systems, these internet firms gain access to a vibrant community of developers that can improve their own technology for free. For example, Facebook has claimed that its Open Compute Project has saved it $2 billion in data centre costs.

Here are some of the innovative technologies from the big web companies that are now seeing wider use....