Discontinuing a project Edit on github

Overview of the different options for discontinuing a Zalando open source project, this process is to be used for projects which no longer have active maintainers, or projects which Zalando no longer have a motivation to maintain, usually due to lack of internal use.


  • We are obligated to gracefully discontinue projects, which we have no motivation to maintain anymore
  • Projects can be archived, users directed to a 3rd party fork, or the ownership of such project can be transferred
  • The open source guild can help you make the right choice

Contact the open-source guild (Zalando Internal) for guidance.

What projects should be discontinued?

Two factors indicate whether a project is ready for being discontinued. Either the project has no active maintainers, and/or the project has no internal usage. While these two factors typically overlap, a project with internal usage and no maintainers needs support to find new internal maintainers rather than being discontinued.

Events which typically trigger a project to become discontinued:

  • The Zalando employee maintaining the project is leaving the company
  • Internal use of project is phased out / replaced

Options for discontinuing

If the project is deemed fit for being discontinued, there are multiple options for executing this change:

Discontinue with no succesor

The project is marked as archived on github, readme is updated to indicate when maintenance will end, no alternative owner is found.

Endorse a 3rd party fork

The project is continued in a fork by a 3rd party, which due to copyright law can not be a Zalando employee. The project’s readme is updated to point users toward this fork for updates. Any distribution (such as a package manager) can be transferred, as long as it does not include the Zalando name.

Transfer project ownership to 3rd party

Ownership and maintainership is transferred to a 3rd party via a legal document outlining the conditions of the transfer. The GitHub project is transfered to a new owner and GitHub will automatically start redirecting old links to a new owner. Project ownership cannot be transfered to a current employee, but can be transferred to former employees.

For all 3 options above, a snapshot of the project must be transferred to the internal GitHub for future reference.

Contact the open-source guild (Zalando Internal) for guidance on which option is the right one.

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