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The term Maintainer (from the English maintainer borrowed , maintenance or caregivers ) designated in the field of software development a major developer , which meets for a development project or part of it to make decisions.

In larger software projects, the role of “maintainer” can also be taken over by a group of people.


The main task of a maintainer is to decide whether to include changes or new code from a contributor.

In an open source project, this, mostly voluntary work, is done by developers who have a good reputation within the community. If the maintainer decides against a change to the project, which is supported by one part of the community, the project can split off .

The position of a maintainer in an open source project is also known as a soft dictatorship , because although he has absolute power over a project, he cannot exercise it if there are no changes on the part of the community.


In contrast to other participants in a software project, it is not absolutely necessary for the maintainer to contribute code to the project himself. Many maintainers take a leadership role in software projects.

Paid work

In addition to the voluntary maintainers, there are also maintainers who are commissioned by companies to work on software because the companies earn money with this software. In 2017, for example, Intel , Red Hat , Linaro , IBM , Samsung , SUSE , Google , AMD , Renesas and Mellanox paid developers to work on the Linux kernel .

Prominent examples

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Langenscheidt English-German dictionary: maintainer , accessed on August 31, 2018.
  2. a b Growing open source projects can benefit from formal rules for making decisions. Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  3. a b 4. Case Study - Open Source Software Development. Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  4. University of Hamburg: project areas. Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  5. ^ The Linux Foundation Releases Annual Kernel Development Report. October 24, 2017, accessed May 19, 2019 .