28 February 2007

Forking Xara LX

It is a truism in the open source world that the threat of a fork keeps code honest. When contributors who disagree with the way a project is going can simply start their own, there is a powerful incentive to take account of their concerns.

There was a great demonstration of how something as painful as a fork can, in fact, be cathartic, leading to a better, stronger result:

The Xara LX vector graphics editor took a big step forward last week. After months of gridlock between open source contributors to the project and its corporate owners, one of the contributors published his own fork of the code base -- and the company approved, offering to host it in the official Subversion repository.

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