The Perceived Dependence of Software Developing Organizations on Open Source Rich Client Platforms

This post presents the main findings of the paper ‘The Perceived Dependence of Software Developing Organizations on Open Source Rich Client Platforms’ by Fortuin and Moret (2014).

In this paper the authors investigate how developing organizations with commercial purposes perceive dependence on an open source rich client platform (RCP). Performing a qualitative analysis, employees of 13 commercial software developing organizations using the Eclipse Rich Client Platform were interviewed. All the researched companies are small to medium sized (1 to 25 FTE).

Results demonstrate the pros and cons of commercial software development on a rich client platform in the Eclipse ecosystem. From the results can be inferred that all participants are pleased with the Eclipse platform, only two of the participants mentioned that the platform did not fully meet their expectations. Furthermore, interviewees mentioned many more advantages than disadvantages. The research provides both developers and the Eclipse community with opportunities and threats resulting from the implementation of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform for commercial product development.

Table 5 and 6 below present the main findings: the perceived advantages and disadvantages by the interviewed companies. The numbers represent the different companies and an X implies that the advantage or disadvantage was mentioned by the company. The shown results are common denominators derived from all provided answers.

In total, 14 different advantages were mentioned divided by 13 companies.

Eclipse RCP disadvantages

Eclipse RCP advantages

 

In total, 11 different disadvantages were mentioned divided by ten different companies.

Eclipse RCP disadvantages

Eclipse RCP disadvantages

 

Striking is that most of the mentioned disadvantages are only mentioned  once, whereas most of the advantages are mentioned multiple times. This could be an indication that most of the indicated disadvantages are product specfi c, whereas the advantages are more generic.

Additionally, this study uncovered that, (I) most of the interviewees indicated that alternatives were not considered within their company, (II) these alternatives were rejected because the Eclipse RCP outperformed them on different areas, (III) only two interviewees mentioned that the expectations regarding the Eclipse RCP were not met within their company, (IV) not a single interviewee stated that replacing the Eclipse RCP is being considered within their company, and (V) most of the contribution takes place in the form of bug reporting, bug fixing, plug-in development, membership, committers or writing blogs.

If you are interested in reading more in-depth of the research and results, please contact one of the authors.