|| ||Bradley Chapman <kakadu-AT-gmail.com>|
|| ||neil_mcallister-AT-infoworld.com, letters-AT-infoworld.com|
|| ||Linus Torvalds' BitKeeper blunder|
|| ||Wed, 4 May 2005 10:20:57 +0100|
After reading your short InfoWorld article* about Linus Torvalds'
so-called 'blunder' with regards to the termination of the free
BitKeeper client, I am curious as to why you chose the term 'blunder'.
If the removal of BitKeeper had caused the complete collapse of the
kernel development community, the term 'blunder' would have been
justified - however, it did not, and now the kernel is being developed
using git, a tool written by Linus in direct response to the loss of
Personally I don't feel that Linus fell for the free beer argument
when he chose to migrate to BitKeeper; I feel that he cast aside any
thoughts on ideology and chose to use it because it was the best tool
for the job, despite the criticisms of others who felt that
introducing closed-source software into such a critical role was
dangerous to the health of kernel development.
Now that the 'free beer' version of BitKeeper has been removed due to
the so-called reverse engineering done by Andrew Tridgell, Linus's
decision is better seen as a well-intentioned mistake, not as a
blunder. Your comments about the dangers of being forced to switch
gears due to software withdrawal are valid, but in this case the gear
switch was not as traumatic as it may have been for other software
projects - the creation of git is proof positive of that.
In my opinion, Linus Torvalds' choice to use BitKeeper was made
entirely for technical reasons, and therefore, at best could only be
considered a mistake after the fact.
* - http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/05/02/18OPopenent_1.html
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