Open Source Software Ecosystems

To understand what an open source software ecosystem is, researchers have first explored the definition of software ecosystems. According to this research, some widely accepted definitions of software ecosystems are:

  • A set of actors functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them
  • A collection of software projects which are developed and evolve together in the same environment.
  • A set of software solutions that enable, support, and automate the activities and transactions by the actors in the associated social or business ecosystem and the organizations that provide these solutions

Regarding open source software ecosystems, there are only a few specific definitions provided by authors Wynn and Hoving. They base their definitions on key factors like the shared market, organizations, and capital, which are vital in supporting the open source software community. Some widely accepted definitions of open source software ecosystems are:

  • A Software Ecosystem placed in a heterogeneous environment
  • Its boundary is a set of niche players
  • The keystone player is an OSS community around a set of projects in a common platform

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