Research on software evolution is very active, but evolutionary principles, models and theories that properly explain why and how software systems evolve over time are still lacking. Similarly, more empirical research is needed to understand how different software projects co-exist and co-evolve, and how contributors collaborate within their encompassing software ecosystem. In this chapter, we explore the differences and analogies between natural ecosystems and biological evolution on the one hand, and software ecosystems and software evolution on the other hand. The aim is to learn from research in ecology to advance the understanding of evolving software ecosystems. Ultimately, we wish to use such knowledge to derive diagnostic tools aiming to predict survival of software projects within their ecosystem, to analyse and optimise the fitness of software projects in their environment, and to help software project communities in managing their projects better.
Mens, T., Claes, M., Grosjean, P., & Serebrenik, A. (2014). Studying evolving software ecosystems based on ecological models. In T. Mens, A. Serebrenik, & A. Cleve (Eds.), Evolving Software Systems (pp. 297-326). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-45398-4_10