FOSS Tools

From TeachingOpenSource

This page provides a list of the full range of FOSS tools that are often used on FOSS projects. The intention is to identify all the tools that faculty and students need to or might want to learn about as part of becoming effective participants in open source communities.

Tools are organized into several broad categories. Some tools could be placed in more than one category, but the goal here is to just give a first cut understanding of tool role. We can argue the details another time!

Within categories, the tools are divided into "Core" and "Other". Again, one might argue for changes in this division, but the intent is to give learners some suggestions on where to start.

The "Development" category has the most potential entries, but is also most specialized in that what's relevant here (if anything) depends on the type of FOSS work and the particular FOSS project.

Tools show one or more examples in parentheses. The notion here is just to provide an example, not even an attempt at a comprehensive list.



  • Listserv (
  • IRC
    • Meetbots (Zodbot)


  • Blogs
    • Planets
  • Wiki (MediaWiki, Dokuwiki)
  • Collaborative editors (etherpad)
  • Documentation generators (Javadoc, phpDocumentor, JSDoc)

Control and Coordination


  • Revision control (SVN, Git)
  • Trackers for bugs, features, etc. (Bugzilla, trackers in PM software like Trac, ChiliProject)


  • Continuous integration servers (Hudson)
  • Package managers (Yum, RPM)
  • Project managers (Trac, ChiliProject)
  • Code review (Review Board (active), Rietvelt, Code Striker (most recent release in 2009),
  • Provisioning or deployment managers (Kickstart, Spacewalk)



  • Build automation (make, automake, autoconf, Ant, Maven)
  • Testing frameworks (jUnit)


  • Text editors (Notepad++, Vim)
  • IDE's (Eclipse, Net Beans)
  • Modelling (ArgoUML, Dia)
  • Mobile (PhoneGap)
  • Web Dev (Catalyst, NVU, Zend)
  • Code review and browsing(for Git: Gerrit and Gitweb)



  • Collaborative editors (Etherpad listed above) Abiword
  • Docbook
  • asciiDoc
  • (need a tool combination that will support collaborative editing combined with production of well-formatted documents in a range of file formats)