Perspectives on Code Forking and Sustainability in Open Source Software

  • Linus Nyman
  • Tommi Mikkonen
  • Juho Lindman
  • Martin Fougère
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 378)


The ability to create high-quality software artifacts that are usable over time is one of the essential requirements of the software business. In such a setting, open source software offers excellent opportunities for sustainability. In particular, safeguarding mechanisms against planned obsolescence by any single actor are built into the definition of open source. The most powerful of these mechanisms is the ability to fork the project. In this paper we argue that the possibility to fork serves as the invisible hand of sustainability that ensures that code remains open and that the code that best serves the community lives on. Furthermore, the mere option to fork provides a mechanism for safeguarding against despotic decisions by the project lead, who is thus guided in their actions to consider the best interest of the community.


Business Ethic Open Source Open Source Software Open Source Project Invisible Hand 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linus Nyman
    • 1
  • Tommi Mikkonen
    • 2
  • Juho Lindman
    • 1
  • Martin Fougère
    • 1
  1. 1.Hanken School of EconomicsHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Tampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland

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