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I found a module (single file) contained within a large project (100s of files) on github that was of use to me. Licence is MIT. I created some PRs but the author didn't seem to have the time to accept them. I asked for permission to set up a new project using his module and they were happy for me to do so.

I copied the module and created the new project giving full credit and linking to the parent repo and author throughout. However, in hindsight I feel that a better method would have been to fork the original project and remove all of the surplus files, rename the project and then start from there. In this way the new project would have been properly linked to the original and contain all of the history, as well as a more explicit acknowledgement of the original author.

This is on my conscience and I don't want to appear to be stealing credit for other people's work. Have I broken etiquette? I'm happy to start again and was in the process of doing so but noticed that I couldn't create issues against the forked repo. Are there any other disadvantages in forking and then reducing?

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If the license of the project permits copying and modification, then it shouldn't matter if you've forked the project or you've just copied and into a new project. If you decided not to use GIT, you wouldn't even be able to fork.

This is on my conscience and I don't want to appear to be stealing credit for other people's work.

As long as you're complying with the license you shouldn't worry about this at all.

Have I broken etiquette?

Perhaps you have because people usually fork--especially when their copy is kept on GitHub, but again this isn't a rule, it is mostly helpful for others to find the project and for you to contribute PR's to the parent project. It will also help you receive updates from the parent project. Finally it will keep the entire history of the objects in the repo which can be very useful.

I'm happy to start again and was in the process of doing so but noticed that I couldn't create issues against the forked repo

This answer describes how to enable issues on a fork.

Are there any other disadvantages in forking and then reducing?

People may mistake your project for a PR fork and not an independent project, but the README will clarify the purpose of the project.

Edit: since it's a single file, copying makes the most sense.

  • I've added the licence to my question. Shouldn't have forgotten that. I originally planned on using the fork but when I created the new project containing only a single file from 100s it seemed natural not to fork. I would imagine PRs would be very hard to apply. I had suggested to the author that if he wanted future changes that he could remove the dependency and just install my (python package) with the standalone module. HE seemed happy enough with that and did get round to accepting my original PRs. – Peter Bingham Nov 1 '17 at 22:54
  • This is the project I've forked: github.com/petersbingham/pydelves – Peter Bingham Nov 1 '17 at 22:56
  • I believe the MIT license is permissive to copying and modification as long as the MIT license is distributed with the copy. If in doubt you can ask a lawyer or ask on the Law stack exchange. – Samuel Nov 1 '17 at 23:23
  • Since it's a single file you're copying, I think forking isn't worth it. – Samuel Nov 1 '17 at 23:24
  • That's what I was hoping to hear but was prepared to revise my strategy here. Thanks. – Peter Bingham Nov 1 '17 at 23:32

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