Mutual benefit, painful parting, false martyrdom
Posted Apr 7, 2005 5:22 UTC (Thu) by jasone
Parent article: The kernel and BitKeeper part ways
The Linux community benefitted greatly from the change in process that was a result of using BitKeeper. BitKeeper even did a particularly good job of meeting the Linux kernel developers' needs (barring refusal by some to use it).
BitMover benefitted greatly from the testing and user feedback, as well as the PR value of having their product used by Linux kernel developers.
While it lasted, this arrangement had some very positive aspects. Now it's over, and the transition is likely to be painful. It's a disruption to kernel development, and it's very definitely generating some ill will toward BitMover. However, some of the benefits are going to survive. The kernel developers know now that there is a better way of doing things, and BitKeeper is a more solid product than it otherwise would have been.
Over all, everything above sits fine with me. What doesn't sit well is Larry McVoy's repeated attempts to cast himself as a martyr. BitMover benefitted significantly, and his attempts to quantify the value of the exchange as one-sided in purely monetary terms are in my opinion disingenuous interpretations of statistics.
Larry convinced Linus to move beyond tarballs. He had a tangible positive impact on the Linux development process. However, he'd do better from my perspective to simply consider this as a mutually beneficial arrangement that is over. He's not a martyr, no matter how much he feels like one.
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