Open source projects like OpenTAP start out as mostly technical efforts. Developers create code to solve a technical problem or to implement a product or service and later find it might be useful to other devs and end-users facing similar challenges. In open source terms, software built to "scratch an itch" is soon helping a whole community to scratch theirs.
An open source community is comprised of concentric rings around a code base. In immediate proximity to the source code are the core developers who created the project in the first place and who maintain and advance it over time. Encircling this group are regular developers of the software, and around them are end-users, whose contributions involve exercising the code, stress testing it, finding and reporting bugs, and requesting new features and capabilities. Some end-users possess an affinity for the code and familiarity with its implementation, and so may also make direct contributions, with bug fixes and patches; some may even go on to become developers and maintainers themselves.
Ecosystem > Community
Open source projects and the communities around them do not exist in a commercial vacuum. A large number of projects emerge from development efforts at one or more companies and collaboration among those organizations. Examples include cloud computing platform OpenStack originating with devs at RackSpace and NASA, and container orchestration system Kubernetes that began life at Google with subsequent contributions by Red Hat, VMware, Docker and others, leading to the formation of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Closer to home, we shouldn't forget that OpenTAP, originally developed as part of PathWave Test Automation at Keysight, was launched as an open source project in collaboration with Nokia.
To understand the practical workings of open source, we need to build upon the idea of community, focused on code, to embrace the notion of ecosystem, turning on commerce. Keysight released OpenTAP as open source to recruit partners to help expand the functionality of the test automation platform and to engage potential customers. Nokia embraced OpenTAP to embed test automation in its networking equipment to enhance reliability and to meet the needs of customers in telecommunications. Other members of the OpenTAP Ecosystem build and market test equipment, networking equipment and other hardware and software, offer integration services, and perform research.
An open source ecosystem operates through transactions, involving project code, hardware enablement and services and other delivered value:
integrating OpenTAP into another stack, workflow or software portfolio
creating OpenTAP plugins to enable test equipment, peripherals and other hardware
supporting alternate development languages or rehosting OpenTAP
offering commercial versions of the platform, tools and other add-ons, with SLAs for support and maintenance
Finding Yourself in the OpenTAP Ecosystem
The OpenTAP platform, the OpenTAP blog, newsletter and related content are read by a diverse audience. The OpenTAP team is eager to address the interest and needs of not just developers and test engineers, but of their colleagues who support them and comprise a dynamic ecosystem.
Whatever your role in the OpenTAP ecosystem, we've got you covered. Visit the OpenTAP Community page to explore the many roles that comprise the ecosystem, and to discover a range of resources tailored and curated for each.