KernelTrap: BitKeeper Is A Commercial Product?
Oct 07, 2002, 13:00 (35 Talkback[s])
There have been numerous flame wars and discussions on
the lkml regarding the use of BitKeeper in Linux kernel
development. During one of these earlier wars, Linux creator Linus
Torvalds explained his position, "Would I prefer to use a tool that
didn't have any restrictions on it for kernel maintenance? Yes. But
since no such tool exists, and since I'm personally not very
interested in writing one, _and_ since I don't have any hangups
about using the right tool for the job, I use BitKeeper."
"BitKeeper is a source management tool provided under any of
three licenses, one of which--the BKL--can make BitKeeper available
for free (as in free beer). Tom Gall posted a question to the lkml
when he noticed a clause in the BKL intended to prevent an
individual or organization from using BitKeeper under this free
license if they or their employer develops, produces, sells or
resells a competing product. Yet another lengthy discussion
"Some contributers to this discussion seem to overlook two
simple facts: First, that BitKeeper is also available under
commercial (non-free) licensing, and second, that BitKeeper is and
always has been primarily a commercial product (hence the sarcastic
title of this article). Granted, the wording of any legal verbiage
is open to interpretation, but as BitMover founder Larry McVoy has
publicly interpreted this clause as "if you make or sell a
competing product, you don't get to use ours for free", there seems
little risk it can be used to attain other ends. In any case, for
now Linus and many other Linux kernel developers have chosen to
utilize BitKeeper in their efforts, and it is still possible to
view the latest code (within 3 hours) without using BitKeeper via
archives such as this one set up by Rik van Riel.
"That said, there are many interesting points raised during this
discussion. Read on for the full thread..."