Hackers on Forking

Title: Hackers on Forking

Authors: Linus Nyman (Hanken University, Finland)

Abstract: All open source licenses allow the copying of an existing body of code for use as the basis of a separate development project. This practice is commonly known as forking the code. This paper presents the results of a study in which 11 programmers were interviewed about their opinions on the right to fork and the impact of forking on open source software development. The results show that there is a general consensus among programmers’ views regarding both the favourable and unfavourable aspects that stem from the right to fork. Interestingly, while all programmers noted potential downsides to the right to fork, it was seen by all as an integral component of open source software, and a right that must not be infringed regardless of circumstance or outcome.

This contribution to OpenSym 2014 will be made available as part of the OpenSym 2014 proceedings on or after August 27, 2014.

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