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No More BitKeeper Linux 958

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the submission-avalanche dept.
An anonymous reader writes "KernelTrap has a lengthy article detailing BitMover's recent decision to drop support for its free version of BitKeeper. Linus Torvalds began using BitKeeper back in February of 2002, a decision that has resulted in frequent flamefests, but also in increased kernel development productivity. Evidently the recent decision was due to OSDL's decision to keep paying a developer who was working on reverse engineering BitKeeper... What tool Linus will move to is still being determined."
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No More BitKeeper Linux

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  • I cant wait (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wizy (38347) <greggatghc@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:05AM (#12154215) Journal
    I cant wait for the "I told you so" articles. Lets put money on whose will be best. I have my money on Richard Stallman.
    • by FreeLinux (555387) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:24AM (#12154443)
      Looks like you win. See here. [slashdot.org]
    • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:24AM (#12154456)
      But it's true, linus didn't consider the nature of what he was using and got burned.

      While everyone has a fit when stallman is mentioned, it's true that the people who don't consider the politics of licences are often burned.

      Look at how much MS or Apple have given back to BSD as opposed to how much linux has got from IBM. Who has the better dynamic community of sharing?

      Seriously, there are many reasons FOR the GPL. I am sick of people who aren't political having an allergic reaction to it, while you might not value the reasons for the GPL there *ARE* perfectly legitimate and powerful reasons for believing in it.

      There is tons of hateful propaganda against the GPL. I don't mind the BSD guys* doing what they do, it's cool. I have respect for them. But I don't like the hate that gets sent back. It's one thing not to agree, it's another thing to just characterise other people as "weenies" and "hippies" or whatever.

      *Fully comprehending that there are pro-BSD trolls that don't represent all of BSD community. Just talking about impressions.
    • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:33AM (#12154544) Homepage Journal
      Well, mine isn't best but I sure want to be counted as an "I told you" on this one too. But it seems like lots of people told him so, and we all got dissed because they said we weren't pragmatic. Well, we were pragmatic, and the folks who thought they were the pragmatic ones weren't thinking through consequences all of the way to the end-game.

      The question is where to go now? My preference would be GNU Arch, as it's more decentralized. But it may not be ready for this heavy a use, and I am hardly an expert in revision control.

      Bruce

      • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Informative)

        by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:43AM (#12154677)
        The question is where to go now? My preference would be GNU Arch, as it's more decentralized.

        Hi Bruce,

        You want to keep an eye on Monotone [venge.net]. Recently, it has gone through a redesign specifically aimed at making it changeset-oriented, with a view to replacing BitKeeper. It has a ways to go, but the project is active and the work is professional. Arch and Subversion are both worthy and usable systems right now, and many projects are already working happily with one or the other.

        Regards,

        Daniel
        • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Wizy (38347) <greggatghc@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @12:05PM (#12154998) Journal
          As another reply, this quoting Linus himself:
          "PS. Don't bother telling me about subversion. If you must, start reading up on "monotone". That seems to be the most viable alternative, but don't pester the developers so much that they don't get any work done. They are already aware of my problems ;)"

          Seems he is already looking into using it.
        • Re:I cant wait (Score:4, Interesting)

          by nathanh (1214) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @12:20PM (#12155205) Homepage
          Arch and Subversion are both worthy and usable systems right now, and many projects are already working happily with one or the other.

          Subversion is entirely inappropriate. Linus prefers the distributed revision control tools. Subversion uses a centralised repository.

          Monotone, arch and svk are all options. My money's on monotone.

        • Re:I cant wait (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Deusy (455433) <<charlie> <at> <vexi.org>> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @01:16PM (#12156041) Homepage
          You might also consider Darcs [darcs.net], whose website also keeps a copy of the Linux source in a repo.

          It's decentralized and all that jazz. A darcs repo is hosted over http (or ssh) so it doesn't impose much in terms of hosting requirements.

          The only downside is perhaps that it's written in Haskell and that some distros don't have great support for the Haskell packages Darcs needs.
          • too slow (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Fourier (60719) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @02:11PM (#12156774) Journal
            Darcs is nice, but it doesn't (yet) perform well enough for regular kernel development. The patch reordering algorithms work by loading the entire history in memory, which does not scale well to large trees.

            Darcs is, at the moment, a nice system for smaller projects.
      • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

        by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:50AM (#12154780) Homepage
        Well, mine isn't best but I sure want to be counted as an "I told you" on this one too. But it seems like lots of people told him so, and we all got dissed because they said we weren't pragmatic. Well, we were pragmatic, and the folks who thought they were the pragmatic ones weren't thinking through consequences all of the way to the end-game

        What consequences? Having the kernel be way better than it would have been if Linus had listened to you people and not used BitKeeper?

        Sure, BitKeeper might be going away--but the things Linus accomplished while it was here will NOT go way.

        • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @12:20PM (#12155199) Homepage Journal
          What consequences?

          I accept that it might have been the only working solution at the time, but Linus would have done better if he'd said it was temporary until a good Open Source product came along. Because it was anyway. There are consequences. 1000 people are going to have to learn a new facility, that facility is going to have to be deployed and files are going to have to be moved into it in a laborious version by version process to convert them, etc. There is also all of the surplus heat produced by the multi-year argument that Bitkeeper brought and some loss of productivity because of that, includng some untold number of people who would otherwise have worked on the kernel but bugged out because of the Bitkeeper decision.

          Bruce

      • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hangtime (19526) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @01:00PM (#12155813) Homepage
        I've got no dog in this fight, I don't develop on Linux, use Linux, just a techy and businessman who gets to watch from the sidelines and been around Slashdot for about seven years.

        Perhaps I do not get the religous thing, but as the simple business person I am struck at the audacity of the free software communitity sometimes. This was an individual and company that doubled the output of main-line Linux development over a couple year span and the only thing asked was not to try to reverse the product.

        Personally, I do not think that was too much to ask. At this point, the way I read yours and other responses is that the Linux faithful have NO trust in the mores and motivations of anyone. After reading the argument its sounds like there was a very symbiotic relationship to quote the book "Getting to Yes", a win-win for each side. I think you and others in this group should take a very good look in the mirror because it was decisions made by individuals that share your viewpoint that ended this relationship because you cannot and do not trust anyone to do the right thing.

        My question is where is the outrage at the OSDL for going back on its word. All I hear is bad-mouthing saying "I told you so." The reason everyone is saying I told you so is because the community broke the rules of the game is now going to pay for it. Either grow-up, trust others to do the right thing, and invite commerical enterprises into Linux passed just the shops that develop the big iron or doom yourselves to an existence where Linux only runs on servers and has no commercial packages avaliable.

        These sorts of actions by the community always trouble me because I will be creating software as a commercial enterprise one day but when certain factions within the community can't respect the agreement well that makes you less likely to write for Linux. Unlike most arguments the community does not hold the moral high-ground on this one.
        • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

          by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @02:05PM (#12156705) Homepage Journal
          If BitMover stated up front that all licenses would be withdrawn from all Linux developers in the event that any single Linux developer tried to reverse engineer BitKeeper, then Linus was a total idiot for agreeing to that license.

          If BitMover did not state those conditions up front, then they are being evil and manipulative in yanking licenses from unrelated parties in a fit of pique over what one person is doing in his own time.

          Is that balanced enough for you?

          Personally, I'm struck by the audacity of a software company trying to control what someone uses a piece of software for, after giving it to him. If Microsoft said you were prohibited from using Windows to write articles critical of Microsoft and contrary to their interests, you would presumably have no problem with that?
        • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Insightful)

          by natet (158905) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @02:22PM (#12156904)
          My question is where is the outrage at the OSDL for going back on its word. All I hear is bad-mouthing saying "I told you so." The reason everyone is saying I told you so is because the community broke the rules of the game is now going to pay for it.
          OSDL didn't go back on its word. It kept its word to the developer that worked for them. They chose not to censure a developer, who in his spare time was working on reverse engineering bitkeeper features for another SCM. Though Linus works for OSDL, OSDL is not the company responsible for the Linux kernel. They don't use Bitkeeper themselves for other projects, so, OSDL was not beholden to BitMover with regards to the clause about developing a competing product. Based on what I read in the press release, and in the article, I surmise that Larry was considering dropping the free version for some time, as the benefits of the symbiotic relationship between BitMover and the kernel developers were tapering off, and this gave him the excuse he was looking for.

          I'm sorry you feel that way about commercial ventures on Linux. I must say, that expecting that no one will try to duplicate the feature set of a successful program is unrealistic, in any market. Closed or Open source, it makes no difference. If your competitor has a feature that makes it successful, you better have that feature in your own product, or you start falling behind. If you think that closed source competitors won't do this to you, then you are just naive.

    • Re:I cant wait (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@monkele c t r i c . com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:41AM (#12154653)
      Is it gloating if you *WERE* right though? The BitKeeper guy, Larry something? Has always been a capital asshole.

      The open source position on this one is not outrageous: they want a client which can't be taken away from them.

      Larry, responds by *TAKING THE CLIENT AWAY* thus proving exactly what people were saying in the first place -- we've indirectly put Larry in a position of power as he controls the only tool we can now use: not only are we ethically opposed to this, but he seems to be a dick to.

      • Re:I cant wait (Score:5, Informative)

        by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel@@@bcgreen...com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @01:01PM (#12155844) Homepage Journal
        I think that it's improper to call Larry a capital asshole. It seems to me that he really did try to straddle the line between proprietary and open source, and he did it in a way that failed. Hopefully this failure will be a learning opportunity for both the Open Source Community and Larry.

        This excercise hasn't been a complete loss for either Bitmover Corp. or for the Open Source community. Both have gotten something out of it, but now they're going separate ways.

        Also note that BitMover is attempting to make the split as amicable as possible. He could have shut down support and distribution of the free version as of yesterday. Instead he seems to be committing to providing one last (critical) major update, and then close down development of the free version, as well as providing a few month's warning. If he was being an asshole, he would have waited until the Kernel was a week away from the 65K change limit and then dropped support with no warning.

        This is something like breaking up with a girlfriend. You can do it in a respectful way, or you can do it with yelling screaming and personal items thrown out in the street. Larry seems to be doing the former. Calling him a capital bastard is pushing things in the other.

        Most of my ex-girlfrinds I can still show up at the door at 9pm and be invited in for some (herbal) tea and a nice chat. I really can't quite wrap my mind around people who can't visit any of their exs' without a court order. It's just so disrespectful of the quality time and experiences that came out of the relationship (presuming that the relationship wasn't just a 'gimme' fight). Yes, does take some work to do an amicable breakup, but here's lots of value to being able to have a sane conversation with your ex. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

  • by Sanity (1431) * on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:06AM (#12154231) Homepage Journal
    Wow, non-free software vendor decides to drop support for a piece of software leaving their loyal users out in the cold. Thanks BitMover for proving why Linus' decision to rely on a non-free version control system was a mistake.

    Having quickly read the RTFA, it looks like the motivation behind BitMover's hissy-fit was that a contractor of OSDL was working on reverse engineering BitKeeper's protocol in his spare time, and OSDL must have refused to, or failed to make him to stop (ouch, threatening someone's job to make them stop doing open source in their spare time, not cool!). BitMover's CEO claims to be on the side of open source, yet last time I checked interoperability was a good thing, and reverse engineering was a legitimate way to achieve it. Not according to CEO Larry McVoy, to him reverse engineering is evil, and those that do it are "bad apples" that should be punished by the rest of the open source movement.

    Of course, lots of this is my own suppositions based on reading between the lines of the article, I am sure if I have got anything wrong people will be quick to correct me.

    • by pianoman113 (204449) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:11AM (#12154284) Homepage
      Wow, non-free software vendor decides to drop support for a piece of software leaving their loyal users out in the cold. Thanks BitMover for proving why Linus' decision to rely on a non-free version control system was a mistake.

      How has this left Linux out in the cold? Because he now has to pay to use BitKeeper? What's wrong with that? BitMover feels that OSDL broke faith with them by having a developer who was reverse engineering their product.

      If BK is such hot stuff, then it will be worth some money to Linus. If it isn't, I guess he'll find something else to use.
      • by Sanity (1431) * on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:20AM (#12154385) Homepage Journal
        How has this left Linux out in the cold? Because he now has to pay to use BitKeeper? What's wrong with that?
        Because people were encouraged to rely on BitKeeper on the basis that it was free as in beer, but now it isn't, and migrating to an alternative will undoubtedly be a major burden for the Linux development process.
      • by Sanity (1431) * on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:23AM (#12154430) Homepage Journal
        BitMover feels that OSDL broke faith with them by having a developer who was reverse engineering their product.
        According to the article the developer wasn't doing this as part of his work for OSDL.
    • Although it may be offtopic, but non-free software vendors aren't the only ones dropping support for popular products and disappointing their loyal users. Mozilla recently did that with Seamonkey, so that they could focus on Firefox.

      User loyalty means nothing anymore. It's all about the bottom-line.
    • by veg_all (22581) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @12:30PM (#12155350)
      Interesting quote from a 2003 Linux World artcle [linuxworld.com] on McVoy and the adoption of BK by Linus:

      I asked McVoy if the flak he gets from zealots on the LKML is bad enough to make him do what Perens and others have suggested he might do, which is to take it all back and not allow open source developers free use of the product. McVoy thought for a few moments and we talked about other things before responding fully. "To answer your earlier question, will we ever take it away? McVoy said. "I don't think we will ever take it away, but I may very well take me away."


      I'm not a kernel developer, but it seems to me Perens and RMS were right from the start. Good riddance and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
  • Freedom matters (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Concern (819622) * on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:08AM (#12154247) Journal
    Man, remember all those people "flaming" over the freedom of tools on the lists? What was with them, anyway? Aren't they just starting a "religious war?" Who cares if this tool is free. It didn't cost me anything. Those crazy license zealots.

    But wait.

    Now, look what happened. The company (or individual) that was your friend a couple of years ago, decides today that you've offended them. Now they are taking their ball and going home.

    Now you are stuck. You need to replace what they gave you. Oh, it'll cost you: manpower, lost opportunities, potentially a pile of pesos... Get ready for a painful transition. And as annoying and dangerous as this is for source control in mainline kernel development, there are many, many scenarios where this kind of manuevering will screw you much worse - alienating your customers, stranding years of development, the whole works.

    This is why freedom matters.

    And what is BitMover so upset about? That anyone would dare compete with them?

    The audacity!

    Does any vendor of a commercial product have a moral high ground to complain when a competitor appears? And whose problem is it if they are trying to charge money for something other will do for free?
    • Re:Freedom matters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:29AM (#12154500) Homepage Journal
      I always find it ironic that most of those who flame RMS et al usually argue that they're just being ideological, and all those who disagree "just want to get things done" and "free software 'zealots' are just being impractical".

      Nah. I was won over to free software because it's practical. I've never seen handing your data over to be managed by proprietary software product as "practical".

      I'm kind of bitter that way as I've been using computers for a long time, since the early eighties, and have had too much experience of what happens when proprietary vendors do not support you any longer, even often with no malice intended, as the manufacturers of the Dragon 32, Sinclair QL, and Commodore Amiga can demonstrate. I switched to GNU/Linux. Because it was practical. Because I knew that I didn't have to rely on a third party for support, because I could help others and get the information I need to support others, because no matter what happened, I'd be able to continue with what I had.

      Practical? You bet. Ideological? Perhaps, but only the same way as my dive instructor was "ideological", I mean he was obsessed with safety, obsessed I tell you! All I wanted to do was go down 60 feet and look at coral, but oooooooo noooooh! It's all "Buddy System" and "nitrogen levels" and other stuff.

      Ok, that's facetious. The latter is about life and death. But there's no reason that the less serious nature of proprietary vs open and free should make me unconcerned about the issue.

  • See. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:08AM (#12154255)
    I told you so. Did I not tell you? WHAT DID I SAY? It's bad enough they don't put a GNU/ in front of the thing, but NOW this happens. I told Torvalds, you will rue the day, you will rue the day you used BitKeeper, but noooooo. He called me a crack addict and used it anyways. I get no respect. -- RMS
  • Too Obvious Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:10AM (#12154271) Homepage Journal
    Evidently the recent decision was due to OSDL's decision to keep paying a developer who was working on reverse engineering BitKeeper... What tool Linus will move to is still being determined.

    Considering what has transpired, the obvious choice is subversion [tigris.org]:)

    • by MartinG (52587)
      Subversion is not the obvious choice because its nothing like bitkeeper.

      Have you ever used bitkeeper? It is highly distributed in the way it works.

      Subversion on the other hand is very much like cvs (except it doesn't suck)
  • In it for the money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kevster (102318) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:10AM (#12154273)
    Note that Larry McVoy has pointed out that the number of improvements to the commercial version due to suggestions from Open Source developers has been dropping sharply. To me, that means "giving free copies to these guys has been beneficial to my bottom line, but isn't doing much for me lately, in the financial sense". It sounds like this reverse-engineering issue is a smokescreen, a scapegoat for cutting off the "freeloaders" (those contributing to improving the product).

    So, he's in it for the money. Is anyone surprised?
  • More info (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Virtual Karma (862416) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:11AM (#12154286) Homepage
    Read this discussion on /. for more more info: http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/0 3/18/0255216&tid=156&tid=162&tid=106 [slashdot.org]
  • by The Angry Mick (632931) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:13AM (#12154308) Homepage

    Get 'em hooked on the gimmes, then ream 'em on the return.

    Let's hope that the impending avalanche of negativity will influence BitKeeper to reconsider at least a token giveback to the Linux community.

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:16AM (#12154329) Journal
    Subversion, of course. What else is there? RCS? CVS?

    OSS communities tend to settle on one project, and nothing or noone ever seriously competes with it. Ie; the linux kernel, SAMBA, OO.o, Mozilla, GIMP, eventually either KDE or Gnome (heck, used to be lots of desktops), etc..

    In the source control realm, it seems to be all about subversion. It seems to have the mindshare and community behind it.

  • by KhaZ (160984) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:17AM (#12154347) Homepage
    I've become a recent fan of Martin Pool [sourcefrog.net], and I've been keeping tabs on his work with Bazaar-NG [bazaar-ng.org], his next generation version of Bazaar, as a distributed free source code control system, for Ubuntu [ubuntulinux.org]. It's early in development yet, but if there's one thing I've learned from Martin Pool, is he does great work! Keep tabs on him. :)
  • Why change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:17AM (#12154353)
    What's wrong with the free version he already has? Does it require replacement?

    I don't see this as a problem for the time being.
    • Re:Why change? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @04:25PM (#12158427) Journal
      What's wrong with the free version he already has? Does it require replacement?


      I don't see this as a problem for the time being.
      It's not a problem for the time being. However, they have to move off BK in the near future. At least some of the product is hosted at "bkbits", whatever that is. Also, I believe that the BK folks can revoke the free license for people that are already using it, making it illegal to use. They may also refuse to sell a commercial license to those people who have lost their free licenses.

      So yeah, it requires replacement if the BK folks say it does, and the friction got significant enough that Linus wants to make it happen. Linus has tried to make it sound like he & Larry McEvoy (?) have amicably come to this agreement. That may be the case. Larry isn't getting anything out of his free version anymore, and Linus isn't Vivien Leigh. He doesn't want to depend on the kindness of strangers.
  • Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b0lt (729408) <b0lt@ls.qc.to> on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:23AM (#12154438)
    Doesn't BitMover realize that companies license their products due to Linus using it? Linus's sarcastic comments about BitMover just pushes companies away, as probably intended. Won't that just screw themselves over?

    -b0lt
  • What tool, you ask? (Score:5, Informative)

    by geniusj (140174) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:24AM (#12154449) Homepage
    Perforce is free for open source development.. for now.. ;-)
  • It's a bit silly to say 'I told you so" - especially since I didn't actually say it. I thought the arguments made by Linus had some logic behind it too (the technical-merrit-before-anything-else approach). Often I thought both sides (Stallman and Linus) had some valuable viewpoint on it, and it was difficult to say who actually was right on the matter.

    It seems now, after all, it was R.Stallman all along. Yes, Linus has a good point in chosing for technical superior alternatives...BUT, in the end, as is clearly shown now, you can't just devide the political/ideological/proprietary issue from the mere technical one. When push comes to shove, an alternative that isn't really free, isn't really an alternative. You are always dependend on the goodwill of whomever owns the product- even when buying it, I may add.

    So, it would seem the viewpoint of Linus, in this instance, is the weaker one, because now he doesn't have a 'tecnological superior' product anymore, and what is he going to do? Go for another proprietary product, because it's technologically better? And have the same thing happen to him again? I don't think so. I think he learned his lesson, and he will go for the really free alternatives that R.Stallman suggested, which, albeit not as good, at least allow you to continue with it as you see fit.

    Stallman can be a nag sometimes because of his gnu/linux diatribe, but in this instance, he was right.
    • by Mant (578427) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:34AM (#12154554) Homepage

      If you follow some of the links from the article, it talks about productivity doubling since using BitKeeper.

      Even if there is a cost now moving to something else, it may still work out better in terms of productivity to have used BitKeeper for the three years. Also the use of BitKeeper in Linux seems to encouraged a lot of work on open source alternatives, so they may well be better now than they would have been had BitKeeper not been chosen.

      So from the practical, rather than ideological, point of view, even with dropping it now it may still have been the best choice.

      • I'll answer the next three responses here:

        "If you follow some of the links from the article, it talks about productivity doubling since using BitKeeper."

        There is, ofcourse, always the matter that there might be a relation noted, but therefor not a causality. Is there really a heightened production? Is it due to Bitkeeper? Is it *all* due to Bitkeeper?

        Those are reasonable questions, and I think, even the neutral Linus could be biased a bit in this regard, because after all, he has made and kept to this decision for 3 years, contrary to much critique.

        "Even if there is a cost now moving to something else, it may still work out better in terms of productivity to have used BitKeeper for the three years. Also the use of BitKeeper in Linux seems to encouraged a lot of work on open source alternatives, so they may well be better now than they would have been had BitKeeper not been chosen."

        The cost will not be minute, I assure you. Yes, it *might* have been worthwile, but I have problems with this 'might' because it is largely based on speculation. If it really is all that much beneficial, he (Linus) would obviuosly chose another technological superior, yet proprietary system. I doubt that he will, however. Well, we'll see.

        "So from the practical, rather than ideological, point of view, even with dropping it now it may still have been the best choice."

        See above.

        "When you are provided a powerful tool for no cost under the condition that you don't fund the creation of a competing tool based on that technology you are not at the whim of someone's goodwill."

        Ermm...yes, you are. I don't follow you: you just describe a situation where, at least in that instance, you are at the whim, and you claim it's indicative that you aren't? Unless you equal 'whim' with totally unreasonable demands, this makes no sense. however, being depended on the goodwill of someone does not infer being unreasonable: they can have very good reasons (even economical ones are good too, in a sense); but still it remains a fact you are at their mercy.

        "When they approached OSDL and said you have a employee doing this (reverse engineering our technology), please have them stop and OSDL says it's not our problem."

        See above. Besides, reverse engeneering isn't illegal per sé, so they were right to say it's not there problem.

        "Its not like they all of the sudden started says hey OSDL/Linus you now need to start paying for this since you like it. They said we are giving you free access to our tool but you have staff that are now striking at our revenue line, which happens to be how we fund this tool you like. Please have them stop and we will continue to provide this tool."

        That's very amicable (or not) of them, but it still means one is not free to use the tool; thus, one is dependend on their goodwill.

        "When you still thumb your nose at the company who has employees to support and revenue to generate you are only putting them under the gun."

        See above.

        "So based on this evidence you can see this isn't a RS versus Linus issue versus a OSDL taking responsibility issue. If OSDL came back to the table and said Ok, mea culpa, we will make this right then the problem wouldn't be there."

        Yes, it would, since it would still be clear that they are not really free. If they can say 'do not do this" they can say "do not do that" neither. Whether it is reasonable from their perspective or not doesn't enter the picture: it still makes it clear that they can't use the tool totally free.

        "Make Sense?"

        Not really, when you look at it strictly from the viewpoint of whether or not they are delivered to the goodwill of the owners of Bitkeeper. This shows they aren't, whether Bitkeepers owners were reasonable in their demands or not.

        "RMS was not necessarily right. In TFA Linus is quoted as saying "three years of using BitKeeper has made some profound improvements to the workflow""

        I answered this already at th
    • by markov_chain (202465) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:52AM (#12154810) Homepage
      It seems now, after all, it was R.Stallman all along.

      Suppose someone lends you a car, and you drive a 1000 miles in a month. That someone shows up and takes the car away because he suddenly stops liking you. Do you say, "Damn, I knew it! We should have kept walking" or "Oh well, at least we made good progress for a month?" How can you ignore the progress the kernel devs made in their process while using bk? Furthermore, it looks like some of the delegation skills that bk forced upon Linus, that sped up kernel development, may actually work with any version control system and thus lead to permanent improvement.
      • Suppose someone lends you a car [...]

        ...and tells you that you can use it as much as you want, as long as you don't use it to transport parts for other cars. You switch your entire corporate fleet to this car, which would ordinarily be prohibitively expensively but is a lot better than the offerings at Joe's Free Car Lot. You come to depend on those loaner cars.

        Some guy at an unrelated company looks at the loaner car's ignition system to see if he could make it work on one of the models available at Joe's Free Car Lot. Your "friend" responds by yanking everyone's loaner cars.

        What do you do next? Try to find someone else to loan you an expensive car? Buy a new fleet of your own? Or decide that helping Joe upgrade his fleet to everyone's mutual benefit is a worthy investment?

  • Big Mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmh20002 (637819) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:26AM (#12154469)
    If this is true, BitMover should expect a big financial hit.

    BitKeeper's main claim to fame was that Linus and the kernel folks used it. That's the kind of endorsement that you can't buy for any amount of money. Without that, most people would never even know BitKeeper exists.

    Its a really stupid move. An open source competitor might have taken some of their business, but most of the open source users would probably be using something else free anyway. 90% of corporate customers would rather pay for something. An open source clone would probably validate BitKeeper.

    Not to mention the ill will they will generate.
  • Larry never got it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nagora (177841) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:31AM (#12154526)
    Larry goes on about how pro-open source he is but anyone that licences products with a restriction on what the users can do in their own free time is an arsehole. If MS had produced an EULA for Word that said it can't be used by people who use Acrobat Distiller, they would have rightly been scorned. Same goes for Larry and his odious BitKeeper restrictions.

    TWW

  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:31AM (#12154530)
    I guess freedom is actually way more important than function now isn't it.... Had the developers not fallen into the non-free trap a alternative would have already existed by now do to need.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ABCC (861543) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:41AM (#12154657)
    About 50 posts and nobody has suggested the possibility that M$ could have paid off Bitkeeper in a move to "hurt" linux, has everyone left their conspiracy hats at home today?
  • McVoy is an idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codemachine (245871) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @11:50AM (#12154777)
    "this is really an open source community problem and I have to say that the open source community couldn't have failed more than they have." He pointed out that as a long-time open source fanatic and the CEO of BitMover, "we represent as open-source friendly a commercial organization as you are *ever* going to see"

    "Unlike the Marine corp, the open source community is more than willing to ignore their bad apples as 'not my problem' (the Marine corp punishes the group for the behavior of the bad apples, pretty soon there are no bad apples)."

    This supposed open source fanatic obviously doesn't have a frickin clue. Comparing OSS developers to the Marine corp makes no sense, as there is no single organization that all OSS programmers belong to. Even if you had the desire to do so, you can't sit and police a group when you have no authority. OSDL quite simply wasn't going to stop doing business with a guy because of what he does in his free time, nor should they have to. It is none of their business, nor is it McVoy's.

    He's got to be delusional if he thinks he's got the most open source friendly commercial organization out there. There are a lot of companies that work in the OSS world without bullying other developers. McVoy has turned his company into a joke amongst the OSS crowd, and will probably promptly run it bankrupt too. And I have to say, it looks good on him.
  • by saldek (139594) on Wednesday April 06, 2005 @03:09PM (#12157455) Journal
    If they're looking for a replacement I hear Visual SourceSafe is supposed to be quite good.

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