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

2 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)

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
Pages867-877
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-3786-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-3787-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 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/

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2022 IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering, SANER 2022

Conference

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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the joint FWO-Vlaanderen and F.R.S.-FNRS Excellence of Science project SECO-ASSIST under Grant number O.0157.18FRG43.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IEEE.

Copyright:
Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

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

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