Open vs Closed Source Software Testing Tools

The billion dollar question that arises; when an organization decides to use any software quality testing tool is. ‘Do we go with open source or commercial tools?’ Open source software testing tools are made available to customers, free of cost under General Public License (GNU) while closed source software is proprietary software and customer has to pay to use them

Open-source software testing tools are supported and sustained by donations and crowd funding done mostly on internet. These cover for the cost of creating and maintaining the software. Open-source software testing tools are developed by non-profit organizations that have a group of volunteers who passionately create the software. Closed source software testing tools are developed by profit making organizations which develop the software testing tools to earn revenue from its valued customers.

Using open and closed source software testing tools has their own implications. Closed source software testing tools are often quoted for their high costs and profit making tactics while open source software are historically regarded more derivative than innovative. Generally, the open-source communities have improved and extended existing concepts to provide richer open sourced software testing tools.

When you pay for software, you surely get some advantages; closed source software quality testing tools provide updated and accurate documentation and also provide 24×7 support to the customers which are not provided by the open-source software. Closed-source software testing tools provide more customized solutions and services.
Various organizations that provide closed-source software testing tools are; Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft etc for example HP Loadrunner, HP Quick Test Professional, Visual Stutio Team Test etc. The organizations that provide Open-source software testing tools are; Mozilla, Apache Jakarta etc. e.g., Bugzilla, Jmeter, Selenium.

If you are beginner in the software quality assurance and testing field then closed source software will be more suited, calculating the cost of training required to use open-source software testing tools.
However in recent years we have seen drastic changes in the organizations’ approach, in which more and more software testing companies have opted to use open-source software testing tools to reduce costs and increase revenues. In general open-source software has not only created a buzz in computing world but in the political world also, as some of government organizations have started using and supporting open source software cause.

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of both the open-source and closed-source software testing tools, we can say that both are necessary for supporting the software quality assurance and testing industry, as one helps making the software testing tools available to all by providing free of cost service and other helps foster innovations and profit driven features.

Depending on the project needs, product under test and other constraints such as available time and budget, the management has to make a judicious call on which route to take. Also, once taken, it is typically a big investment in terms of money, time and effort. So, careful analysis involving several people is typically recommended before a decision is made. As testers, one should look to see how he/she can help the organization make this important decision, correctly.

Knowledge Sharing Team at QA InfoTech is responsible for research on new tools & technologies for effective Software qa testing services across all industry verticals. QA InfoTech (an ISO 9001:2008 & CMMI III certified) is one of the leading Software Quality Assurance and Testing Companies with five testing “Centers of Excellence” in the United States and India. It offers end to end software quality testing services.
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