Open-source software developers who want to test their code with automated testing tools but who don't have the money to pay for them can now use them free of charge with the help of testing-tools vendor Parasoft.
In an announcement aimed at open-source developers who might not have the ability to pay for such services, Parasoft said it will now allow any open-source developer who is working within or leading an active project to use several Parasoft automated testing and quality assurance tools for free. The active open-source project must be in existence for at least three months to be eligible.
The company will offer the tools through its Parasoft Open Source Support Program, which will accept applications from open-source developers and grant free user licenses for applicable Parasoft tools. The licenses will be valid for one year and will apply to all product upgrades during that period, with annual renewals required for continued use.
Eligible Parasoft test-automation tools are static analysis and unit testing tools C/C++test, Parasoft dotTEST, Parasoft Jtest; memory debugging tool Parasoft Insure++; and functional test-automation tools Parasoft SOAtest, LoadTest and Virtualize.
"We've been paying attention to open source for almost two decades," Mark Lambert, the vice president of products for Parasoft, told Channel Futures. "What we're doing here is going further to help get things off the ground."
Many open-source developers who are contributing to projects but aren't working for large companies that can pay for such tools will benefit from the new program, he said.
"We're giving them the same access to tools that others use inside large companies. It makes much more sense for us to work with the open-source community directly and work with those developers from the start."
The Parasoft test-automation software allows developers to conduct deep-code analysis; unit and functional testing and performance; and load and security testing. By using the Parasoft tools, developers contributing to open-source projects will be able to ensure that the code they are building is secure, reliable and scalable, the company said.
To participate in the program, developers can email the company to learn about the requirements and file an application.
For Parasoft, the free code-tools program will provide more exposure for all of its tools and services, but that's not its motivation for the initiative, Lambert said.
"By giving access to these accommodations, it helps Parasoft, but it also helps developers get in from the beginning with the right kind of technology."
Parasoft views the program as a first step in providing additional help in the future.
"We don't see this as a limited-term engagement," said Lambert. "We have other thoughts as to how we could broaden this initiative."
Al Gillen, an IT analyst with IDC, told Channel Futures that while free-tool programs are typically offered in the world of software development, this one stands out because the company is working to get its tools in front of an important contingent of developers — OSS project contributors.
"This is all about establishing connections with developers and trying to get them to learn about your products," said Gillen. "In effect, it is a marketing program, but one with tangible value to the developers themselves."