Innovation and collaboration in the MBSE tooling ecosystem
Three of the noteworthy projects that evolved inside PolarSys are Papyrus, Capella and OpenCert.
Papyrus had been established as an Eclipse project in 2008, prior to the launch of the OPEES
project. Aspects of project development were brought under the umbrella of OPEES, and after the
project, Papyrus development continued via the collaboration of several industrials led by
Ericsson. The main rationale behind this support was the need for an industrial platform
supporting UML, that was customisable and extensible to allow innovation and collaboration. And
again, open source technologies seemed to be superior to proprietary closed tools in terms of
extensibility and creation of an ecosystem.
Capella, an MBSE tool based on the Arcadia methodology, was launched in the late 2006 as an
internal tool at Thales. By 2013, however, and thanks to their participation in OPEES, Thales
realised that the closed nature of the tooling was an obstacle to larger deployment, especially
with an extended supply chain, because subcontractors did not have access to the tool due to its
proprietary nature. In 2014, the Capella open source project was created in PolarSys with the
goals of lowering the barriers to use and of fostering collaboration. In subsequent years,
Capella has been applied in industries such as Aerospace, Automotive, Defence, Energy and
Railway. A few years later, there are not only thousands of users of Capella on hundreds of
projects inside Thales, but also more than a hundred companies worldwide using it, including
European organisations such as the European Space Agency, Ariane Group, Rolls Royce and Siemens,
that rely on Capella in their System Modelling Workbench product. Finally, it supports an
ecosystem of European SMEs, like Obeo and Artal, that sell packaged products, support and
expertise on top of Capella not only in Europe, but also in North America and in China.
A blueprint for industry collaboration in open source
The principles for industry collaboration through open source, as developed in OPEES, continue to
be used in a range of successful Working Groups hosted by the Eclipse Foundation. This
governance model has proven to be adaptable in many different contexts and industries, with
goals ranging from simple collaboration amongst stakeholders to more advanced collaboration
through focused development co-funding.
Open source as a catalyst for dissemination
Another aspect originating in OPEES
is the use of Open source as a catalyst for the dissemination
of research results. After this approach was pioneered by OPEES at Eclipse, the AMASS project
followed with the open source OpenCert, along with others such as Amalthea4public and Eclipse
APP4MC, APPSTACLE and Eclipse Kuksa. All use the same approach that leverages open source for
the dissemination and exploitation of research results and encourages the development and
sustainability of these technology communities.
OpenCert was created in late 2015 by Tecnalia, another partner of the OPEES
project, and other
partners from the OpenCOSS (FP7) and AMASS (ECSEL) projects. The goal of OpenCert was to create
an open source platform for safety and security assurance project management, assurance case
management and evidence management while integrating other projects like Papyrus and CHESS for
System Design and Analysis. This project focused on model-based safety and security engineering
conformant to ISO 26262, ECSS 40 and other standards. Following the pattern originating with
OPEES, the OpenCert stakeholders created an ecosystem to gather research institutes, software
vendors, and users around the results of several research projects.