Open Source Projects That Are Changing the World

The idea of open sourcing isn’t new. Throughout history, humans have shared knowledge with one another for the common good. However, the rise of the Internet has made open sourcing a much more powerful tool for societal advancement. Using the Internet, along with other relevant technologies, innovative people can share their ideas with one another and work toward common goals. As this method of collaborative development becomes more popular, projects with the potential to change the world are springing up everywhere. Below are some of the most notable open source projects currently in operation.

Open Source Ecology

Founded by Marcin Jakubowski, Open Source Ecology is an organization dedicated to producing machinery blueprints that people can use to create a self-sustaining civilization. So far, the organization has developed blueprints for 50 farming tools that people can build from scratch. In addition to being DIY-oriented, people can build the machines depicted in these blueprints for a fraction of the money they would pay to purchase the same machine from an established manufacturer.

Using the tools developed by Open Source Ecology, individuals with limited means can start their own farms with minimal financial stress. In areas where civilization is not as developed, people can use these blueprints to improve their quality of life.


OpenStack is an open source platform founded by Rackspace Hosting that can be used to construct both public and private clouds. With OpenStack, anyone has access to an operating system for the cloud. OpenStack is rich with features, scalable and easy to implement. Because the platform is open source, it’s always improving as a result of constant collaboration and feedback from users.

Anyone can run OpenStack, build clouds and submit changes to Rackspace. With this open development model, OpenStack’s technology and features will continue to improve, thus opening the world of cloud computing to everyone.


In the past, scientists have tested new medicines, toiletries, cleaning products and other such substances on animals in order to determine their safety level. The OpenTox project seeks to end this practice by developing interactive software that scientists can use to test substances for chemical toxicity.

Not only will the software created by the OpenTox project replace a method that is harmful to animals—it will also be more efficient and effective. Animal testing is extremely limited. It’s expensive, time-consuming and often inaccurate when applied to humans. If successful, this program will allow scientists to use simulations to conduct accurate toxicity research in minutes.

Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine

The Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine, or AMEE, is a project that utilizes the open source methodology to collect and publish data about the environment. Through this program, users will have access to maps that report the carbon dioxide levels for different geographic locations. Companies can use this to examine their own carbon footprint, or they can use the resource to analyze the environmental effects of other organizations. Though many of these resources are free, AMEE does charge for some of its services. Nonetheless, AMEE offers an excellent tool for companies who wish to reduce their impact on the environment.

Though open sourcing is not a traditional method of innovation, it’s certainly gaining ground. In fact, these are only a few of the revolutionary open source projects currently in the works. As more people become involved in open sourcing, it is likely that even more programs of this type will come into existence.