Open source software in Testing

You've probably heard this term open source software many times before. Or you may be one of those geeks who has developed some open source applications. My intention of writing this is to help those testers who know little or nothing about open source software.If you are asking what is open source software? The following will give you an idea of open source software:

  • It is 'free software'
  • Source code is available for free use, modification and redistribution
  • Linux operating system is an open source software to quote an example
  • It is movement by a community of programmers to provide to the general public and businesses in general - free and better software in comparison to the commercial alternatives in the market

I think you now get an idea of what open source software is. To understand the role open source applications are playing in today's world and to understand the magnitude of it's influence, visit There are at this time - 177,326 registered projects and 1,851,480 registered users. This shows the massive contribution that's happening in this space.So, next question. What's software testing got to do with this open source community. I personally feel, as testers, our involvement with the open source community should increase for the following reasons -

  • learning and participating in open source initiative will add a lot of value to us in terms of acquiring new skills
  • open source software is changing the order of the world where even commercial software companies like Microsoft are jumping in
  • using open source software in your company reduces cost and hence put you in spotlight
  • open source tools (especially testing tools) are no less compared to the commercial alternatives. Use them and save licensing costs
  • last, but not the least, we should give back to the community which is striving to provide free software in whatever way possible


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