Open source software isn’t what it used to be. The term used to conjure images of the lone developer, working into the night and through weekends, banging out line after line of code to scratch a personal itch or realize a personal vision. But with each passing year—and every new survey of the open source landscape we call our Best of Open Source Software Awards, or Bossies—those images of the lone visionary get a little hazier.
Don’t get me wrong—there is still room for personal vision. As my colleague Serdar Yegulalp points out, one of today’s most important open source projects, the Rust programming language, began as a side project of former Mozilla developer Graydon Hoare. Many other Bossie 2017 winners—such as Synaptic, Juan Cazala’s neural network library for Node.js and web browsers—are likewise the products of individual developers and unquestionably labors of love.