I’ve been saying for a long time that Open Source testing tools are our future. It seems at least one test tool vendor agrees with me.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rafi Benami of RadView. In April this year, Radview, long a vendor in the performance and testing tool industry, announced that they’re joining the open source revolution: they released their WebLOAD product under GNU General Public License (GPL). You can find it online at SourceForge.
They still offer a commercial enterprise class version of WebLOAD, “WebLOAD Professional.” The professional edition contributes to the company’s revenue stream, and also enables the company to serve a broader set of customers including those who need full support and services, or are still skittish about open source.
Of course, RadView isn’t the first company to adopt an Open Source business model. But they’re the first established, commercial, software testing tool vendor to do so that I am aware of. (By the way, if you know of other established commercial software test tool vendors who have gone Open Source, drop me a line in the comments.)
Interestingly, Rafi reported that the hardest part about open sourcing WebLOAD was making the decision to do so. Once the decision was made, the rest was just a matter of bundling up the product in a way that would work for the open source community.
But the decision? That was hard, he said. They had to figure out how RadView could offer their product for free and still make money.
I can only imagine some of the internal discussions that must have taken place. Rafi, being very professional, didn’t share the details of those confidential internal meetings. But I can still imagine the conversation:
Executive #1: “Let me get this straight. We sell a product. By selling this product we make money. Remember money? That stuff that pays your salary? And you’re telling me you want us to give away the product for FREE? AND you want to publish the code – our intellectual property – the ‘secret sauce’ – ON THE INTERNET?”Executive #2: “Yup.”
So why open source? As Rafi explained it, RadView chose to open source WebLOAD to:
- Reconnect with the professional testing community.
- Leverage the power of the community to improve the offering. Or, as Rafi put it: “We contribute to the community; and the community contributes to us.” It’s a virtuous cycle.
And in order to foster that community spirit, RadView has created a WebLOAD community site.
As hard as the decision must have been, I think they’re already seeing the benefits. Rafi mentioned that RadView saw a lot of traffic come through their booth at STAREast. And many of the people who stopped by did so to express their admiration for the decision to open source WebLOAD, and also share horror stories of over-priced shelfware from competitors.
In short, RadView wants to build software that practitioners like, that they use, and that they have a stake in. Imagine that. A vendor that would rather sell their tools in the test lab than on the golf course. A vendor listening to the community of practitioners.
Go RadView! Hope your competitors are watching…