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Leaving Behind the Software History When Transitioning to Open Source: Reasons and Implications

Abstract : Maintenance of software history is regarded to be one of the most relevant features of Version Control Systems (VCS) and is well-known to be indispensable for software developers. However, transitioning from proprietary to open source software poses a challenge: keeping the software history might make available years of historical records and internal matters from the company that built the software. On the other hand, removing the software history may disturb the development and may be harmful to new contributors. We conducted a survey with open source software projects that made this shift to investigate (1) the reasons why they removed the software history and (2) the challenges that developers face with the lack of availability of software history. Among the results, we found that the most common reason for removing the software history is because it is entangled with proprietary code (the fact that the history contains sensitive information appears next). Interestingly, most core developers believed that the lack of software history is, in the worst case, “a very minor inconvenience.”
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Submitted on : Monday, September 17, 2018 - 2:35:55 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 3:45:07 PM
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Gustavo Pinto, Igor Steinmacher, Marco Gerosa. Leaving Behind the Software History When Transitioning to Open Source: Reasons and Implications. 14th IFIP International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS), Jun 2018, Athens, Greece. pp.50-60, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-92375-8_5⟩. ⟨hal-01875496⟩

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