When a software startup fails to turn a profit they’re usually left with some newfound knowledge, maybe some debt, and a big chunk of unused code. Why should all that engineering work go to waste just because that particular business failed? Many startups recognize this and have made their software free and open source. I did some searching and came up with a list of startups past whose work may be useful to others. Not all of these are failed startups, in fact a few are quite to the contrary, but they are all useful to study nonetheless.
There isn’t a ton of documentation in this project but there are quite a few interesting pieces of code working with ad networks and some simple utilities in this code base. From what I could find out this startup was originally planned to be some kind if performance optimization system for ad campaigns.
2. Kill the land line
This startup was designed to allow users to use their existing phone numbers from old land lines that had been in use for years with their cell plans, avoiding the costly $30/mo fee just to keep a phone number so many people knew to contact them through. The software integrates with Tropo in order to do its magic.
This startup is a web service that connects students preparing for exams with PhD’s in their field of study, allowing them to mark up and comment on the students solutions.
As far as I can tell, ComicFlow is the first comic reader that has open sourced it’s app for developers to take advantage of. It relies on a few other open source projects, but is a great source of “code that works” for iPad readers. If you are involved in creating digital stories in any way I recommend checking out the work they have released here.
Come on, you know this! Last.fm is a great saas that provides some social awareness to our music. What I found most interesting about the source for this iPhone application is their use of Flurry, one of the bigger players in the mobile analytics game. Check them out to see how it’s done.