At MoDELS 2014, Francis Bordeleau (now Product Manager in the Software Development group at Ericsson) gave a keynote talk titled: Future of Future of MBE/MDE/MDD in the Industry — Open Source is the Only Solution!. In the talk, he started by covering the use of modeling at Ericsson (very interesting in itself) and based on their experience went on to discuss how no commercial tool was able to suit their needs and that the only solution was to be part of a community-wide effort to create an model-based engineering open source solution that everybody could extend and adapt.

The slides of the talk can be downloaded here.

Model – Based Engineering has proven to be highly successful in many different contexts in large software organizations like Ericsson over the last decades. As a result, modeling is now used for a wide range of aspects, including, software design, system modeling, information modeling, network architecture modeling, and business process modeling.

However, key issues are currently limiting the broader adoption of MBE in the industry. We believe that the main limiting factors at this point are related to the tools. Main issues include the lack of proper support for customization and DSML development, and the lack of capabilities to support a broad range of development aspects that are considered key by end-users, including testing, tracing and debugging, deployment on multicore and multi-processor platforms, deployment analysis and validation, design space exploration, variability modeling and product line management, and model / tool inte- grations.

These problems plus the lack of evolution of the commercial tools over the last years has led to conclude that the traditional approach based on proprietary technologies has failed and that we need a new solution based on open source. In this context, the emergence of Papyrus as an industrial-grade open source modeling tool has the potential to be a real game changer as it provides the required basis for the establishment of a new MBE era based on a true collaboration between the industry and the research community.

Such collaboration is in our opinion the only way to develop a complete MBE development environment that will provide support for the broad set of capabilities required by end-users. In this presentation, we discuss: Ericsson’s experience with MBE over the last 20 years using commercial proprietary tools; the main motivations and plan for the development of an industrial-strength open source modeling tool solution based on Papyrus; the key importance of establishing a vibrant community composed of end-users, commercial suppliers, and research/academia; the impact of open source on the business model for modeling tool providers; and the main challenges and opportunities for the next years.

We’re also strong believes of this cooperation between research and academia to make good and innovative open source MDE tools possible but we’re also aware of how difficult this is. Let’s see if they can pull this one out!

(btw, we have seen lately quite a few good news of new modeling tools being open sourced, e.g. see the xtUML/Bridgepoint announcement and the ARTIST modernization tools one)

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