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Towards a typification of software ecosystems

: Knodel, Jens; Manikas, Konstantinos

Kaiserslautern, 2015, 6 pp.
IESE-Report, 014.15/E
Reportnr.: 014.15/E
Fraunhofer IESE ()
software engineering; software ecosystem; ecosystem type; ecosystem taxonomy

Traditionally, software engineering has been dominated by stand-alone development organizations and collaborations between contractors, integrators and suppliers. In the last decade, the notion of software ecosystems has been established as a new paradigm in software engineering. In its essence it proposes participative engineering across independent development organizations centered on a common technology. This paper reviews the current state-of-the-art and presents a first step towards a typification of successful software ecosystems. We discuss key characteristic of the ecosystem types and present a set of example cases. The characterization reviews and consolidates existing research and discusses variations within the key building block of a software ecosystem. It further enables sharpening the borders of what an ecosystem is (and what not) and how the individual types can be differentiated. Thus, this paper contributes to widening the understanding of software ecosystems and serves to prepare a software ecosystem taxonomy.