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The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 7, 2005 6:33 UTC (Thu) by ekj (guest, #1524)
Parent article: The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Larry just does not get it. And for once I think our editor is being overly nice to him.

A person working on developing a good, scalable, capable SCM is not in any way a "Bad apple". Even if he does so by reverse engineering a closed product the license disallowing, or attempting to disallow reverse engineering is the "bad apple". Indeed in many jurisdictions such a clause in a license is void.

Also, BitKeeper was very likely the best choise at the time, probably still is. But there's a second effect: choosing BitKeeper over one of the free tools has helped BitKeeper develop faster and that other free tool develop slower. Like you say: hosting the kernel is a wonderful way of shaking out bugs and scalability issues.

So, in other words, choosing some other free (as in speech) tool back then likely would've made the kernel-development somewhat slower, atleast initially, but on the other hand would've ensured that that tool improved quicker. It's not clear that this is such a clear win.

Furthermore -- on several points the critics have just been prooved rigth: Choosing a closed tool *does* give a single comercial entity the rigth to pull the rug out from under us at their discretion. One of the benefits of free software is precisely *not* to be in a situation where that can happen.

I think the whole thing is good, overall. Not because BitKeeper has helped us so much, but because it has showed a lot of people (including Linus) that sometimes free matters. I *very* much doubt that Linus would even consider a hypotetical new closed SCM with the same licence BitKeeper had when he once choose that.


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The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 7, 2005 9:47 UTC (Thu) by NRArnot (subscriber, #3033) [Link]

There might be another way forward.

Several companies have a lot to lose if kernel development is harmed (Redhat, Novell and IBM spring first to mind). At least two of those could offer to buy Bitkeeper with their petty cash, and re-open it, or at least revert back to an acceptably non-open state.

And if Bitkeeper is going to become totally closed ... nasty thought, but I wonder what IBM has got in their patent arsenal? Carrot *and* stick?

Just say ``no'' to patent wars

Posted Apr 7, 2005 17:47 UTC (Thu) by Max.Hyre (guest, #1054) [Link]

[...] I wonder what IBM has got in their patent arsenal? Carrot *and* stick?

If software patents are evil, which I fervently believe, they are a means which no ends can justify.

(Of course, these ends (opening Bitkeeper) don't deserve any means.)

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 14, 2005 8:05 UTC (Thu) by xoddam (subscriber, #2322) [Link]

What, reward lm with a Porsche after leaving with his ball? Better to
invest the money in developing an already-free tool, or a whole class of
them.


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