Posted Apr 6, 2005 17:48 UTC (Wed) by GreyWizard
In reply to: Actually, yes
Parent article: Linus on the BK withdrawal
Well, that's interesting. One of three things is necessarily true here: either you're full of beans (I have no reason to doubt you), McVoy's claims are merely opportunistic spin that would be retracted the moment he discovered a paying customer contributing to a competing system or McVoy is a moron. Placing restrictions on what people who download the free tool can do with it is, as has been clearly demonstrated and easily proven with McVoy's own words, a public relations problem. That has some cost, at least in emotional terms. But if you don't also constrain the paying customers it is also a pointless exercise.
Suppose I'm an evil developer with the skills to reverse engineer protocols who wants nothing more than to "steal" McVoy's precious intellectual property. All I have to do is buy a license. Suppose I don't have the cash. No problem! I'll just get a job with a company that has a BitKeeper site license. Of course, I could probably raise the money in hours if I solicited donations from the hordes of grumpy kernel hackers who flame about the BitKeeper license in the first place, but I'd probably have to use a psuedonym to throw off the sales people. Either way the restrictions in the no charge license are not a significant obstacle to me. All they do is create grief for McVoy.
I remain convinced of what I said in my original post: once this happens the fur will fly. McVoy is more rabid about protecting his secret sauce than just about anyone and while he might be a jerk he is anything but stupid. The claim that he would tolerate competition from paying customers while spending his time threatening legal action on the Linux kernel mailing list seems to me deeply disingenuous.
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