Technical debt – the cost of an open source fork; an interview with Allison Randal

In this six minute interview Allison discusses technical debt.

When software is developed in open source, collaborators develop code in a central repository. If an individual or organization downloads the code, makes changes to the code and does not submit those changes to the central repository, they now have to maintain what is known as a “fork”. The longer the organization maintains their own version of the software code (red line in graphic below), the more expensive it becomes to move the code back into the upstream repository.

If an organization’s code is not part of the upstream repository they do not benefit from the collaboration, expertise and knowledge that takes place in the central code repository.

Listen here, six minutes:

 

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