I think part of what bothers me about this story is our Loyal Editor's assertion: "Git was not
the first free distributed revision control system, but it was the first to be employed on
such a massive scale. In a real sense, git launched a new era of free software development."
The first sentence is true, as far as I goes, but it was Linux switching to a Free Software,
decentralized revision control tool that was so important, not the invention of yet another
Free Software, decentralized revision control tool. The combination of Linus not giving
credit where credit was due and of Linus-fans subsequently misattributing monotone's
innovations to git bothers me.
The use of a decentralized, Free, revision control tool for the kernel was a major step
forward. The invention of git was a minor tweak to the state of the art -- an exploration of
other parts of the design space.
Don't get me wrong -- I like git, and I'm glad it exists. I like diversity and redundancy. I
like exploring the design space widely instead of everyone congregating on the first part of
the design space that is Good Enough.
And I'm sure that git serves the needs of linux kernel developers -- and of many other people
-- as well or better than various alternatives would. But I don't like for the history of
scientific invention to be obscured by enthusiasm for Linus's personality.
What did our Loyal Editor mean by writing that git launched a new era of free software