Following up after a day in the shop
Posted Sep 27, 2004 7:21 UTC (Mon) by darthmdh
In reply to: Following up after a day in the shop
Parent article: An Interview with Tom Lord of Arch (O'ReillyNet)
Bravo! When BK first appeared I loved the fact they made it open source, it meant if I ever found any bugs I could fix them and contribute this back, or merge in fixes from others without having to rely on a vendor release (since most commercial software houses like to roll up a bunch of stuff over time and their support track record was yet to be proven). This is what open source is all about. Not that you get something free of charge (which so many people mistakenly believe), or even that you can rip off other's ideas - essentially fork a codebase and try to "compete" (be it financially or simply in mindset). Of course, like most ventures there's always some village idiot who wants to spoil things for everyone else, and so it was with BK and Bitmover were forced to make it more and more closed. Unfortunately by some of the very people they were trying to help by having it free in the first place. People who want to rip off open source software simply for the credits are IMO no better than software pirates who want their credits on their 0-day warez. Open source is about improving the open source software, not providing 50 billion nearly-identical alternatives to what currently exists, with someone else's name/brand on them, and nothing improved that you would write home about.
I buy software because its a tool that helps me solve real problems. Little annoys me more than computers that make tasks slower than doing it manually - what's the point? Why should I bother with arch (for example) when 6 months down the track I'm still not able to do any useful work with it because I still don't understand how the heck it works, its poorly documented, the syntax is woeful and confusing, and the mailing lists are full of egotists that want to enforce this "little boys club" mentality? Bitkeeper had a bit of a learning curve (mainly getting my head around the ChangeSet versus revision thing - I was used to CVS and PRCS) but it was well documented and the support is amazing. And I say that as a gratis user - what they must do for their paying customers blows my mind. I deal with a lot of commercial vendors and there are few that come even close - to *paying* customers. That being said, to compare the two, BK improves my productivity and arch kills it dead and then some, when I'm writing code. I don't use an SCM tool because its a cool thing to do or the latest buzzword, or is licensed to me under the terms of the LLOTW (Libre License Of The Week). I want a tool that will assist me with the *real* task at hand - providing decent software in an agreeable timeframe. Same goes for Window Managers, editors, debugging tools, command shells, you name it.
Don't get peeved at Larry because he had to make his baby closed, get peeved at the morons who forced him to do that. They're the real enemy of open source.
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