Friday, July 11, 2008

Open source - a quality perspective

Open source software (OSS) is software that has been developed, tested or improved through public collaboration and distributed on the understanding that the results will be shared with others, thus ensuring an open future collaboration between corporations, public and academic institutions and individuals.

OSS originally began as a marketing campaign for free software back in the 1980s but was changed in the late 1990s in order to be 'commercially acceptable' and the basis on which a licence could be attached, with the objective of making a product more understandable, modifiable, duplicatable, reliable or simply accessible, while still making it a marketable commodity.

Today most major organisations worldwide are running OSS to a greater or lesser extent and thus the open source market is growing rapidly. However, the quality of open source solutions has become a burning issue and one of today's core decision-making elements for any new application/project.

The maturity level of software quality assurance (SQA) is the characteristic that distinguishes the success rate of open source implementations. There are many open source software testing tools; however, the raising of the maturity levels of SQA needs to encompass expert skills, tools and techniques, as well as streamlined business processes. Thus, a strategy for quality assuring open source software must include all these three pillars, namely, people, processes and technologies.

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