To Fork or Not to Fork: Fork Motivations in SourceForge Projects

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Use this URL to link or cite this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36879
Title: To Fork or Not to Fork: Fork Motivations in SourceForge Projects
Author: Nyman, Linus Morten; Mikkonen, Tommi
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Information Systems Science, Helsinki
Citation: Nyman , L M & Mikkonen , T 2011 , ' To Fork or Not to Fork: Fork Motivations in SourceForge Projects ' in Open Source Systems: Grounding Research : IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology , pp. 259-268 IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology , vol. 365/2011 . , 10.1007/978-3-642-24418-6_18
Belongs to series: IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Belongs to series: Open Source Systems: Grounding Research IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Abstract: A project fork occurs when software developers take a copy of source code from one software package and use it to begin an independent development work that is maintained separately from its origin. Although forking in open source software does not require the permission of the original authors, the new version, nevertheless, competes for the attention of the same developers that have worked on the original version. The motivations developers have for performing forks are many, but in general they have received little attention. In this paper, we present the results of a study of forks performed in SourceForge (http://sourceforge.net/) and list the developers’ motivations for their actions. The main motivation, seen in close to half of the cases of forking, was content modification; either adding content to the original program or focusing the content to the needs of a specific segment of users. In a quarter of the cases the motivation was technical modification; either porting the program to new hardware or software, or improving the original.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36879
Date: 2011
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