What is open source?
Open source software is software whose source code is openly published, is often developed by voluntary efforts and is usually available at no charge under a license defined by the Open Source Initiative.
Free testing tools � surely not?
Many test teams are paying over the odds for highly priced software test automation tools, in a market dominated by a small handful of commercial vendors. But there are alternatives, and the purpose of this site is to promote the open source alternatives (there are also freeware and shareware alternatives available � see below).
Elfriede Dustin started an excellent topic on Qaforums.com relating to this site. Her summary contains some pearls of wisdom that I shall repeat here:
Why aren�t freeware and shareware tools listed?
This site simply reflects my own personal interests in open source and software testing - the site began life as an extension of a list of open source tools I had been keeping during my professional role as a testing manager.
There is an argument that as the site has grown, it should embrace freeware and shareware tools in order to promote affordable test tools in general. It may do so in the future. Until then, Danny Faught maintains a list of over 400 freeware tools at his site at Open Testware Reviews
Why the forum?
The forum can serve varied interests - it can help people trying to locate the right tool for their problem and also help to bring people together to create new tools. Potential tool creators can post to the forum asking if there is a need for a tool they have written. It can be used to offer feedback on open source testing tools you may have used. Please feel free to register and make good use of it.
Do you provide recommendations or services?
I am just a one-man show running this website and have my work cut out with website administration tasks so therefore don't have time to answer individual queries. If you put your question on the forum then hopefully you'll get a response on there. I would also try QAForums.com too, which has a very active test automation forum.
There seem to be lots of licenses. Which can I use in my organisation?
Good question! Generally speaking, any of them! The licenses generally restrict you from selling the tool on, or stealing the code for use in a proprietary tool, and the wide range of licenses put varying degrees of restriction around these areas. You can get the full lowdown on the licenses at the Open Source Initiative.
But this open source software isn�t supported?!
A common myth, mainly perpetuated by those who sell proprietary tools with yearly maintenance and support licenses! The main open source projects have large, self-supporting user communities. There are very active forums for the more common tools where you can usually find an answer to a problem you have in just a few minutes, or post a problem if not. I have personally solved many issues in this way.
In addition, a big bonus with open source software is that if you encounter a problem, you have complete access to the source code so someone in your company can probably fix it themselves (and send the fix back to the group who created the tool, of course).
And remember also that mature open source software is less prone to problems and so the need for support is lessened. The manner in which open source software is developed means that it is more likely than conventional proprietary software to have undergone intensive peer review by a wide range of programmers, resulting in highly stable code. A good read on this subject is Eric Raymond�s The Cathedral & The Bazaar.
I need a business case to embrace open-source. Help me!
Check out the Open Source Case for Business
I can�t find the category of tools I need.
The site structure reflects the main areas in which open source testing tools are currently available. All others are filed under Miscellaneous. As and when any new grouping of tools clearly occurs, I�ll set up a new category for them.