I outsource all our compatibility testing, however the outsource companies don't always have access to the software that we need to test with ours.
We really need to be more proactive about compatibility testing, but getting evaluation copies of software, especially enterprise software is difficult to impossible.
Does there exist a network of QA professionals from different software companies for the purpose of exchanging evaluation copies of software to test for compatibility?
If not then perhaps one should be started?
Re: Compatibility Testing
I am pretty sure no such "network" exists, at least in the legal sense. There are certainly a few underground networks that pass software like this around but that is, obviously, not a legal solution nor really a viable one given the way that the FTP sites and IP addresses shift around in order to cover their tracks.
As far as starting some network like that, it would not be impossible in the categorical sense of a squared circle, but a slew of legalities would have to be accounted for and you are probably not going to find the tool vendors jumping on this idea simply because the chances for abuse are too great. Even the argument that this will make other software work better with theirs will probably fall on deaf ears because unless you can show that your software is used by such a significant portion of users out there that also use the vendors software, they have no real vested interest in helping you.
If the danger is that great to you, that a certain enterprise software will be a significant risk to your software (based, I am assuming, on some risk you have established), you have a good business case for either finding an outsource firm that can help you (instead of your current one) or purchasing the software outright. Of course, the problem with purchasing software is that you would have to purchase a whole lot to do full compatibility testing and if you wanted to test on different versions that come out, you would probably have to pay for some support or maintenance in order to get updates to the software.
Re: Compatibility Testing
Wow, I thought the poster was talking about a group of testers who would compatibility test each other's software-under-test. (The "trading of software" would be trading proprietary software rather than commercial software.) So - if I have MS Office and you have Louts Notes, and if the software you are testing is a chat program and mine is a web browser, then we could trade software for compatibility testing. I would test your chat program with MS-Office running and you would test my web browser with Lotus Notes running. Then neither of us has to buy software just for compatibility testing.
Though, even then, we have legal issues (idea theft, data damage.)
[This message has been edited by testgeek (edited 02-07-2002).]