The BitKeeper non-compete clause
Posted Oct 10, 2002 6:39 UTC (Thu) by alan
Parent article: The BitKeeper non-compete clause
Larry has notably poor customer service skills. This is forgivable, as he is an engineer, not a customer service rep.
What about the other side, the businesses that are looking in on BM, as a test case. They want to know, 'Can we work with the open source community?'. Yes, there are nasty licensing tricks BM *could do in the future, but focus on what it's track record is now, in generously supporting the kernel development team. If BM, a reasonably benevolent company with real innovations that are making a tangible difference, has a difficult time in pleasing the community with a very reasonable licensing scheme, it may discourage others from releasing software for open systems, as a futile effort not worth trying.
I agree that the dependence on closed software for kernel development is a situation that needs rectifying. However, BitMover only needs a slight innovative edge, to appease the demanding high-end customers from whom they intend to make a living. They will move on to bigger and better features, and customers, and they'll be able to say that their software dramatically improved the quality of a popular and large open source kernel, Linux. Features that give BK it's current edge will find their way into arch and subversion. I'm sure that is how this series of events will come to pass.
In the meantime though, the ability of a company to work with the community and make a living will be gauged by the many present and future businesses who are silently observing, looking for a successful model that is both profitable and opensource friendly. There are those who really want this to work, so how beneficial is it to abuse the first wave of those who are really trying?
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