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

  • Jymit Khondhu
  • Andrea Capiluppi
  • Klaas-Jan Stol
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 404)


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 (, 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.


Open Source Inactive Projects Maintainability Index 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jymit Khondhu
    • 1
  • Andrea Capiluppi
    • 1
  • Klaas-Jan Stol
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Information Systems and ComputingBrunel UniversityUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Lero—The Irish Software Engineering Research CentreUniversity of LimerickIreland

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