When considering a single FOSS project community, we can consider the health of the project as a whole as a proxy for how to think about sustainability. One ACM paper1 describes health as the “project’s capability to stay viable and maintained over time without interruption or weakening.”. In the majority of FOSS cases, this also means that the community of maintainers (of whatever kind) also continues, and presumably grows to include new contributors as past ones drift away from a project.
Johan Linåker, Efi Papatheocharous, and Thomas Olsson. 2022. How to characterize the health of an Open Source Software project? A snowball literature review of an emerging practice. In The 18th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym 2022), September 7–9, 2022, Madrid, Spain. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 12 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3555051.3555067 ↩