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When is the right time to fork?

jhuebel profile image Jason Huebel ・1 min read

I've recently been contributing to an open sourced project, shared under the MIT License, that I'm planning on using within the company I currently work for. I'm the sole contributor as the project has been mostly dormant (except for some minor PRs) since 2017.

What are some possible reasons you might discontinue submitting PRs upstream?


Editor guide

I will say that these are the reasons I informed the original project today that I wouldn't be submitting any more PRs:

  • I'm currently the only contributor.
  • I have a business need to move the project forward more quickly, but waiting on PRs significantly slows that progress.
  • I intend to make significant and breaking changes soon, some of which are based on personal preference.



If you are the only contributor, why not to talk about becoming a maintainer of the project, if the original authors have no time and/or will to maintain it on regular basis?


I'm not sure if my goals align with the original project's goals. In particular, I would be adding integration with a vertical app I use at work that isn't commonly used outside of our industry.

I've opened an issue on the project requesting maintainer access. But I mentioned in that issue that I still planned on making breaking changes in future versions. So we'll see what the project owner says. Maybe he considers it an abandoned project. 🤷🏼‍♂️


I followed your advice and asked to become a maintainer. The owner agreed. So now I'm wreaking havoc on the repo. ;-)

Congrats! I am actually not a forking antagonist. The opposite, I think that the forking is good for the projects.

But still if the fork can be avoided, it is better to avoid it.

Especially if the initial author decided to retire. This way he will feel better knowing that someone will keep developing the project.