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Bossie Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year

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OSS

It is now roughly 40-plus years since Richard Stallman released his text editor with the words "EMACS General Public License" in the documentation and 20 some years since the world first saw the phrase "GNU General Public License." Back in those days, finding the best open source software was relatively simple. There was Emacs, and then came vi. Choosing between them was never easy, and many still argue over the best editor.

In 2010, the choices aren't any easier, and now there are many, many more packages available. Sourceforge.net claims more than 310,000 projects and GitHub more than 1 million. Before going much further, let us apologize profusely for not sorting through the millions of projects to find all of the very best.

Open source innovation

The first thing to mention is that open source packages are not just judged on the quality of the lines of code alone. We're well past the day when Emacs and vi competed over the best way to signify meta operations and how many keystrokes it takes to do search and replace.

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