Is It All Lost? A Study of Inactive Open Source Projects

Abstract : Open Source Software (OSS) proponents suggest that when developers lose interest in their project, their last duty is to “hand it off to a competent successor.” However, the mechanisms of such a hand-off are not clear, or widely known among OSS developers. As a result, many OSS projects, after a certain long period of evolution, stop evolving, in fact becoming “inactive” or “abandoned” projects. This paper presents an analysis of the population of projects contained within one of the largest OSS repositories available (SourceForge.net), in order to describe how projects abandoned by their developers can be identified, and to discuss the attributes and characteristics of these inactive projects. In particular, the paper attempts to differentiate projects that experienced maintainability issues from those that are inactive for other reasons, in order to be able to correlate common characteristics to the “failure” of these projects.
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Etiel Petrinja; Giancarlo Succi; Nabil Ioini; Alberto Sillitti. 9th Open Source Software (OSS), Jun 2013, Koper-Capodistria, Slovenia. Springer, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, AICT-404, pp.61-79, 2013, Open Source Software: Quality Verification. 〈10.1007/978-3-642-38928-3_5〉
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Jymit Khondhu, Andrea Capiluppi, Klaas-Jan Stol. Is It All Lost? A Study of Inactive Open Source Projects. Etiel Petrinja; Giancarlo Succi; Nabil Ioini; Alberto Sillitti. 9th Open Source Software (OSS), Jun 2013, Koper-Capodistria, Slovenia. Springer, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, AICT-404, pp.61-79, 2013, Open Source Software: Quality Verification. 〈10.1007/978-3-642-38928-3_5〉. 〈hal-01467582〉

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