Social networking software

LinkedIn open sources search engine

Joining its fellow social-networking companies in the public release of internal code, LinkedIn has opened sourced software obtained in October with its acquisition of the IndexTank search-engine software provider.

“We are looking forward to seeing IndexTank thrive as an open-source project,” wrote LinkedIn director of engineering, and former CEO of IndexTank, Diego Basch, in a blog post announcing the release.

At the time of the acquisition, LinkedIn indicated that it was interested in using the IndexTank’s software, a well as the company’s engineers, to improve the search functions for its own website. IndexTank has implemented search systems at other Web companies such as Reddit, Automattic’s WordPress site, BitTorrent and TaskRabbit.

With this release, LinkedIn is joining its fellow Web service companies in releasing source code of programs. Most recently, Twitter has released its TextSecure mobile encryption technology as well as the Storm streaming analysis engine, both technologies it acquired in company purchases. EBay publicly launched its Web programming language, Ql.io, earlier this month. Also released as open source, LiveJournal’s memecached data caching software, Facebook’s Scribe log aggregation tool, and Google’s SPDY HTTP replacement have all enjoyed widespread usage in the Web-services community.

IndexTank has three components. One is the full-text search and indexing engine, called IndexEngine. IndexEngine can evaluate results in terms of user-generated inputs, such as the sharing or rating of a document. The package also includes an API (application programming interface), for interacting with IndexEngine through Java, Python, PHP and other languages. Another optional part of the package is Nebulizer, a framework for managing multiple indexes and offering them as services.

LinkedIn has also released a number of other search-related technologies as open source as well. Bobo is a Java-based extension to Apache Lucene that can search semi-structured data. Zoie is a real-time search engine built on Lucene. And Cleo is a library for text form autocomplete services.

IndexEngine and its associated software has been released under the Apache 2.0 license, and is available at GitHub.

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