A Review of 2015’s Best Open Source Projects - Blogging, Small Business, Web Design & Hosting Tips - A Small Orange

A Review of 2015’s Best Open Source Projects

Whether you’re an open-source software junkie or you’re just looking for ways to improve your site, it’s always good to see what types of programs are available to you, especially when those programs are fully customizable and often free. We’ve taken ten of the best open-source projects of 2015, awarded by InfoWorld and net magazine, to provide you with information on some of the latest high-quality products the internet has to offer.




OdooOdoo 9: Described as an all-in-one management software, Odoo allows users to bring all of their company’s administrative tasks to one convenient, stylishly-designed dashboard. A user-friendly, mobile and desktop program, it hosts over 30 different subscription applications that can make any supervisor, accountant, HR professional, project manager or employee’s life a little easier. Submit a timesheet. Keep track of inventory. Record sales. Monitor expenses. Manage projects. Send an invoice. Odoo, created by Odoo S.A., can do all of these things and more.


OrangeHRM: An HR tool praised for its number of impressive features, OrangeHRM’s open-source software serves as a crisp and clean platform for a variety of administrative tasks. Led by a software company with the same name, OrangeHRM can assist with system administration, personal information management, time and attendance management, recruitment, and job performance. It also allows employees to access their own records through an online portal. Additional features like insurance benefits, travel management, and organization charts can be requested through their marketplace. OrangeHRM also offers paid Professional and Enterprise solutions.


LibreOffice 5.0: A continuously expanding free office suite, LibreOffice 5.0 can be a welcoming alternative to Microsoft Office. Created by the non-profit organization The Document Foundation, it offers a number of applications to increase creativity and productivity, including a word processor, spreadsheet, multi-media presentation program, drawing tool, database manager and formula editor. Its latest version includes a more modern design, better import and export features, and some bug fixes for increased reliability and stability.


CiviCRM: A top-choice for over 9,000 organizations worldwide, CiviCRM is a multi-award-winning management system specifically designed to meet the needs of your non-profit organization.  Created by MRG Foundation, it works with WordPress, Drupal or Jooma to provide assistance with donation processing, peer-to-peer fundraisers, membership management, event planning, email marketing, advocacy campaigns, and more.




MauticMautic: Led by David Hurley, along with a team of release leaders, core committers, core contributors and maintainers, Mautic can be a dream for a sole proprietor or a whole marketing team! A quick-to-install, easy-to-use program, Mautic helps you create and manage email marketing campaigns, social media marketing campaigns and landing pages. It automatically captures and helps nurture your site’s leads while providing analytical data in regular detailed reports. You can download the program onto your own site or you can create a free hosted account.




InkscapeInkscape: Designed for web illustrators and designers, but easy enough for beginners and hobbyists to use, Inkscape is a vector graphics editor that’s comparable to Adobe Illustrator or Freehand. It can be used to create logos, icons, graphics, cartoons, artwork and other projects using brushes, stamps, templates, filters and other effects. While it can’t currently be used to create webpages, it can be used to create portions of them or to map them out. Inkscape also plans to support animation sometime in the next couple of years.




KeePass: As useful on your personal computer as it is at the office, KeePass does wonders in heightening your online security. If you’re like most people, you use the same weak password, or some variation of it, for just about everything. Because these passwords are easy for hackers to uncover, they put you at a high risk for a security breach. KeePass lets you create a strong, unique password (or it will randomly generate one for you) on every site that you visit so that each one of your passwords are different. The program then stores them away in a database where you only have to remember one password to access it. (Just don’t forget that one!) KeePass can also safely store your credit card information.


Prey: The software that says “we’ve got you back,” Prey is a theft-protection program that can wipe valuable information from your phone or laptop while helping you retrieve your lost or stolen device. In addition to showing you your device’s location and incinerating your stored passwords, it will take screenshots of open applications and even a mug shot of your thief before shutting the whole device down. Prey offers a free basic package as well as paid personal and home packages. Discounts for educational institutions and non-profit organizations are available.


Website Development


Browsersync 2.0: A “wicked fast” browser testing program built by Shane Osbourne and designed by Shane Russell, Browsersync markets itself as your indispensable test assistant. With Browsersync, you can increase your efficiency and reduce the time it takes to create a responsive web design by synchronizing mundane tasks like scrolls, clicks, and refreshes across browsers. Its file sync feature means your browsers will automatically be updated with HTML and CSS changes. Browsersync also records your test URLs so they’re there with a click of a button when you need them.


App Development


Meteor: A JavaScript platform created by Geoff Schmidt and two dozen other professionals, Meteor brings app development to a whole new level. Designed to provide users with a quick and efficient development process that also delivers professional results, Meteor keeps things simple by utilizing the same code across browsers and mobile devices. While Meteor is free, it’s best deployed and monitored through Galaxy (their professional hosting service) which does not currently have a free version, but they are working on it.

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