Software Ecosystem is a book written by David G. Messerschmitt and Clemens Szyperski that explains the essence and effects of a "software ecosystem", defined as a set of businesses functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with relationships among them. These relationships are frequently underpinned by a common technological platform and operate through the exchange of information, resources, and artifacts.
The term in software analysis
In the context of software analysis, the term software ecosystem is defined by Lungu  as “a collection of software systems, which are developed and co-evolve in the same environment”. The environment can be organizational (a company), social (an open-source community), or technical (the Ruby ecosystem). The ecosystem metaphor is used in order to denote an analysis which takes into account multiple software systems. The most frequent of such analyses is static analysis of the source code of the component systems of the ecosystem.
Objection to the use of the term "ecosystem" to describe software
Richard Stallman argues that software has nothing in common with an ecosystem which is a natural system of combined physical and biological components of a natural environment. "It is a mistake to describe the free software community, or any human community, as an "ecosystem", because that word implies the absence of (1) intention and (2) ethics."
- David G. Messerschmitt and Clemens Szyperski (2003). Software Ecosystem: Understanding an Indispensable Technology and Industry. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-13432-2.
- Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper, and Michael A. Cusumano (2013). Software Ecosystems: Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry. Edward Elgar. ISBN 178195562X.
- Karl M. Popp and Ralf Meyer (2010). Profit from Software Ecosystems: Business Models, Ecosystems and Partnerships in the Software Industry. Norderstedt, Germany: BOD. ISBN 3-8423-0051-4.
- Barbara Farbey and Anthony Finkelstein (2001). "Software acquisition: A business strategy analysis". Proceedings of the Fifth IEEE International Symposium on Requirements Engineering. IEEE. pp. 76–83. doi:10.1109/ISRE.2001.948546.
- Slinger Jansen, Anthony Finkelstein, and Sjaak Brinkkemper (2007). "Providing transparency in the business of software: A modeling technique for software supply networks". Proceedings of the 8th IFIP Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises. IFIP. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-73798-0. ISBN 978-0-387-73797-3.
- Lungu, Mircea (2009). Reverse Engineering Software Ecosystems (Ph.D.). University of Lugano.
- Free Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Ecosystem
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