Showing how social networking was a hot trend in 2010, open-source project Diaspora topped Black Duck’s third annual “Rookies of the Year” list, which distinguishes the most “buzz-worthy” open-source projects started last year.

After evaluating project popularity based on the number of developers involved, project activity (such as the number of times code is committed to a project), and the number of websites linked to a project, Diaspora, a privacy-sensitive and personally controlled social network, was the clear No. 1 project, said Philip Marshall, senior product marketing manager at Black Duck.

“With over 900 in-bound links, it was a clear indication this project had a lot of buzz,” he added. “And quite frankly, no matter how we cut the data…Diaspora came out glowing each and every time.”

A social network project topping the list is not surprising, just affirmative that social networking and collaboration are continuing trends, said Peter Vescuso, executive vice president of marketing and business at Black Duck.

Aside from recognizing up-and-coming projects, which is mainly done for fun, the list also showed continued cloud-based development and movement into enterprises by open-source software.

Thirty percent of the new projects (OpenStack, OpenStack Nova and ownCloud) are cloud-related, Marshall said. OpenStack and OpenStack Nova use the Apache 2.0 license, while ownCloud uses the Affero Public License.

This type of license ensures that if a project is hosted, any enhancement made to it is given back to the network community, Vescuso explained. “The AGPL license has been around a long time and is growing in popularity, but we’re surprised to see it jump up to be [used in] 30% of the top 10. And I think it’s indicative to the growth of the cloud.”

Additionally, rookies Activiti BPM Platform and VoltDB are heavy business and data applications, which shows an uptick in the use of open-source software for the enterprise, Marshall said. “This indicates that open source has clearly moved into the enterprise space.”