"The Canary in the Coal Mine..." A cautionary tale from the decline of SourceForge

Damian Andrew Tamburri (Corresponding author), Kelly Blincoe, Fabio Palomba, Rick Kazman

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review


Forges are online collaborative platforms to support the development of distributed open source software. While once mighty keepers of open source vitality, software forges are rapidly becoming less and less relevant. For example, of the top 10 forges in 2011, only one survives today—SourceForge—the biggest of them all, but its numbers are dropping and its community is tenuous at best. Through mixed‐methods research, this article chronicles and analyze the software practice and experiences of the project's history—in particular its architectural and community/organizational decisions. We discovered a number of suboptimal social and architectural decisions and circumstances that, may have led to SourceForge's demise. In addition, we found evidence suggesting that the impact of such decisions could have been monitored, reduced, and possibly avoided altogether. The use of sociotechnical insights needs to become a basic set of design and software/organization monitoring principles that tell a cautionary tale on what to measure and what not to do in the context of large‐scale software forge and community design and management.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1930-1951
Aantal pagina's22
TijdschriftSoftware : Practice and Experience
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
StatusGepubliceerd - 1 okt 2020


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