The difference between almost free and free is an important one, and the community is much better off without an almost free BitKeeper. The kernel development team will soon be providing feedback, patches and attention to one of the completely free source control systems, which will benefit everyone -- even people BitMover views as a competitive threat. We'll never know what would have happened had Torvalds chosen one of these technically inferior projects in the first place, but I find it hard to believe that a thousand or so sharp minds and ample funding from OSDL member organizations would have been unable to produce a kernel of similar quality to the one we have today. Either the kernel hackers would have worked around the limitations of the chosen tool, improved the tool or written their own from scratch -- there are examples of each approach in response to other problems in this process.
Assuming that the free BitKeeper product is being withdrawn because someone violated the terms of the license (and that isn't entirely clear) BitMover is within its rights to do this and it even seems like the best business decision they could make under the circumstances. Still, many people who have respected the license are now losing something they have come to depend on due to the actions of "bad apples" they cannot control. This is the return on their investment in a "mostly free" tool.
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