commercial projects possess, open source test teams must overcome unique challenges to become productive. First, projects must develop awareness within the general development community and begin to recruit testing volunteers. This is typically accomplished via project mailing lists and an effective testing project Web site. Second, projects must provide the basic tools for a testing team to function-communication resources (e.g., mailing lists and IRC), access to the project software, and an effective defect tracking system. Once testing activities commence and a team forms, developing the community is a constant activity: test leads must guide testers, recruit more testers as other volunteers leave, and generally breathe life into the testing team and ensure its continued effectiveness.
Once given the basic tools, open source volunteer testing teams can be incredibly effective, on par with (or sometimes even greater than) their commercial counterparts. However, there are limitations to this testing environment that community development won't cure. First, community development can become an all-encompassing activity in and of itself, and testing activity will suffer as a result. Second, in the community volunteer environment, there is no accurate gauge of productivity for a team that constantly fluctuates. This limitation makes goal determination nearly impossible. Commercial testing teams have the edge here-goals can be set and timelines established based on given productivity levels.