Variant Forks - Motivations and Impediments

John Businge, Ahmed Zerouali, Alexandre Decan, Tom Mens, Serge Demeyer, Coen De Roover

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

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Abstract

Social coding platforms centred around git provide explicit facilities to share code between projects: forks, pull requests, cherry-picking to name but a few. Variant forks are an interesting phenomenon in that respect, as they permit for different projects to peacefully co-exist, yet explicitly acknowledge the common ancestry. Several researchers analysed forking practices on open source platforms and observed that variant forks get created frequently. However, little is known on the motivations for launching such a variant fork. Is it mainly technical (e.g., diverging features), governance (e.g., diverging interests), legal (e.g., diverging licences), or do other factors come into play? We report the results of an exploratory qualitative analysis on the motivations behind creating and maintaining variant forks. We surveyed 105 maintainers of different active open source variant projects hosted on GitHub. Our study extends previous findings, identifying a number of fine-grained common motivations for launching a variant fork and listing concrete impediments for maintaining the co-existing projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER 2022)
PublisherIEEE
Number of pages11
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Event29th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER 2022) - University of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States
Duration: 15 Mar 202218 Mar 2022
Conference number: 29th
https://saner2022.uom.gr/

Conference

Conference29th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER 2022)
Abbreviated titleSANER
CountryUnited States
CityHonolulu
Period15/03/2218/03/22
Internet address

Keywords

  • Software Ecosystems
  • Version Repositories
  • Software Analytics
  • Empirical Software Engineering

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