Despite the growing interest in Visible Light Communication (VLC), a reference networking platform based on commercial off-the-shelf components is not available yet. An open-source platform would lower the barriers to entry to VLC network research and help the VLC community gain momentum. We introduce OpenVLC, an open-source VLC research platform based on software-defined implementation. Built around a credit-card-sized embedded Linux platform with a simple opto-electronic transceiver front-end, OpenVLC offers a basic physical layer, a set of essential medium access primitives, as well as interoperability with Internet protocols. We investigate the performance of OpenVLC and show examples of how it can be used along with standard network diagnostics tools. Our software-defined implementation can currently reach throughput in the order of the basic rate of IEEE 802.15.7 standard. We discuss several techniques that researchers and engineers could introduce to improve the performance of OpenVLC and envision several directions that can benefit from OpenVLC by adopting it as a reference platform.