Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:10 UTC, submitted by Julian Turner
In the News BitMover ceases development of the free (as in beer) version of their BitKeeper version control system. Linus Torvalds decided in 2002 that BitKeeper was "the best tool for the job", namely to manage the Linux kernel, a decision which received a lot of crisicism. Various open source programmers worked on reverse engineering the BitKeeper protocol, and BitMover decided to discontinue the gratis version.
Order by: Score:
Someone has to say it
by ralph on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:19 UTC

Maybe, just maybe, this crazy, evil, longbearded zealot RMS was right after all.

saw that coming
by modman on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:34 UTC

well... not the OSS community can just come up with a work-a-like.

Cautionary Tale
by linux_baby on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:43 UTC

Read through the article properly. The reasons given are totally unconvincing, even contradictory.

The bottom line is: this is a business decision by BitKeeper. They aint making money from the free version of their product, so there isn't any reason to continue developement. All the other reasons they are offering is just a ruse and an excuse to blame the other party. Larry is not being nearly as honest as he makes out. When the going gets tough, a commercial entity is going to protect its interests first.

All those "best tool for the best job" dandies out there should learn a lesson. You cannot depend on the charity or, worse still, continued goodwill of a corporation. MONO is a classic case. They are hoping that, somehow, Microsoft would let them be forever and ever. I'm not saying it would happen, but can you imagine what would happen if Linux should take 50% of the desktop away from Microsoft?

Surprise?
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:48 UTC

I'm not at all surprised, this is afterall what RMS has been warning about for years. Had Linus have chosen a Free Software alternative there never would have been this mess. He chose the technically superior over the Free, and in the end winded up having neither. This is exactly why Free Software is important, without it you are completely I'm not at all surprised, this is after all what RMS has been warning about for years when he first criticized Linus for choosing BitKeeper. Had Linus have chosen a Free Software alternative there never would have been this mess. He chose the technically superior over the Free, and in the end winded up having neither. This is exactly why Free Software is important - without it you are completely at the will of the vendor. Right now a lot of time will be wasted migrating to an alternative and this was completely avoidable.

RE:Someone has to say it
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:49 UTC

Yep..they got their free beta testers to find bugs and request features, now they cut them off.

Mono
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:49 UTC

I would not call Mono the same situation. Basically every technology out there today is stepping on someone's patent, Mono is no exception to this. The Linux kernel is likely stepping on just as many if not more patents than Mono. Mono is no more at risk than any other open or non-open software out there.

Re: Cautionary Tale
by ralph on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:50 UTC

This has nothing, nothing at all to do with mono. Mono is an open source implementation of a standard, bitkeeper is a proprietary tool. See the difference?

Re Cautionary Tale
by linux_baby on Wed 6th Apr 2005 17:58 UTC

>> Mono is an open source
>> implementation of a standard

Dream on. That's what its defenders say, and what you certainly hope. As you know, a lot of knowledgeable people disagree with that characterisation. There's a reason why Microsoft is building an aggressive patent portfolio.

>>
This has nothing, nothing at all to do with mono. Mono is an open source implementation of a standard, bitkeeper is a proprietary tool. See the difference?
>>

Yes I do, but you miss the point. The difference you are pointing to isn't what's relevant in this case. The relevant thing is that, in both cases, you are making decisions that depend on the long-term goodwill of a commercial entity. Imagine, for example, if the Gnome community should decide to build their framework on Mono.

Re: Re Cautionary Tale
by ralph on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:01 UTC

"That's what its defenders say, and what you certainly hope." Nope, I don't have to hope, it's simply a fact.

Re: Cautionary Tale
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:02 UTC

Do you have any direct proof of how building GNOME on Mono will be dangerous? What patents does it violate? How could Microsoft stop it? Are you simply spreading unfounded rumors?

Java
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:11 UTC

I think the real question is will something like this happen to Java any time soon? What happens if Sun thinks that they would be more profitable charging for Java?

Mono
by Eric Warnke on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:18 UTC

Mono is directly infringing on several MS patents that THEY KNOW ABOUT. There are questions as to legitimacy of the patents, but they do exist. Mono also goes further bu not just implementing the standard with well discloded patents, but implements .Net as well which is a time bomb probably littered with undisclosed patents ( because it's not part of the standard ).

The parallel is there, both projects work under the thumb of a corporation that at any time could cut them off. I would say that Mono is even worse off because MS is not as benevolient as Bitkeeper.

Java
by Eric Warnke on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:20 UTC

Java's standards come with a unlimited patent grant from sun to implement the standards. Even if there were patents Sun has given away permission to implement them in a jvm clone.

no alternative
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:20 UTC

Had Linus have chosen a Free Software alternative there never would have been this mess.

Too bad there are no free software alternatives. There are free software programs that do some form of source management, but none that have the features of bitkeeper that Linus found usefull.

As always...
by Vince on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:22 UTC

I don't see the problem here.

People in the kernel community violated the licensing terms of BitKeeper... so BitMover decided to drop the free project.

The only problem I could see with this scenario is that BK's license wasn't the GPL and therefore "doesn't count" or "isn't fair" in the eyes of most of the linux fanboys; making it their responsibility to violate it and complain over getting reprimanded.

As usual
by Rick on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:22 UTC

The story is about BitKeeper and somehow RMS and Mono gets dragged into the discussion. What a bunch of nuts. Is there an OSNews for grownups Eugenia?

Arch? CVS?
by Mike on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:23 UTC

In what was is bitkeeper technically superior to Arch or CVS?

did ayone read the article?
by smashIt on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:34 UTC

to sum it up:
bitmover gave bitkeeper to the oss-community for free under the condition that they don't compete with it.
and the first thing the oss-crowd did was to reverseengineer it.
they simply shot themselfes in the foot.

If you RTFA
by Eric Warnke on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:37 UTC

You also see that the "reverse engeneering" aspect is a cover. He states clearly that the needs of OS projects and Closed Projects differ signifigantly and that more than anything else was problably the deciding factor.

The fact that OSDL would not fire or repremand a contract employee for excercizing his rights to work on FOSS in his spare time is a lame excuse. It would also be quite hypocritical of OSDL.

v RMS zombies
by someone on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:40 UTC
RE: As always...
by ralph on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:42 UTC

"People in the kernel community violated the licensing terms of BitKeeper"
Nope, nobody violated it, stop spreading FUD.

RE:RMS zombies
by CloudNine on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:46 UTC

Yup, I think people realise that having freedom is a good thing, and depending on the goodwill of a legal entity who's only priority to make money is not in the interests of a software user. With free software you own the software, with propertriary software, you merely licence it. Who would choose the latter?

RE: Rick (IP: ---.de)
by ralph on Wed 6th Apr 2005 18:46 UTC

As I was the one who "dragged" RMS into the discussion:
You are aware of the fact, that there was a hughe discussion on the issue of moving to bitkeeper and that RMS was one of the most outspoken critics, to say the least, of this move?

And the reason he argued against this move was precisely because he feard that something like this would happen with non-free software.

Now at the time he was called a lot of things for his point of view, so how is pointing out that maybe his point was valid after all nuts?

Ridiculous argument
by Andrewg on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:02 UTC

He claims that no one will port commercial apps like Photoshop to Linux because OSS programmers will reverser engineer them.

1. Economics 101 says that if a product is making money other companies will jump in to try and get a piece of the pie. Which is why there are alternatives to photoshop.

2. Just because Photoshop is not available on Linux does not mean it cannot be cloned by OSS programmers for Linux and other platforms.

Seems that if Commercial software makers want to make money they should develop superior software.

Re: Cautionary Tale
by Deletomn on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:03 UTC

linux_baby: Larry is not being nearly as honest as he makes out. When the going gets tough, a commercial entity is going to protect its interests first.

All those "best tool for the best job" dandies out there should learn a lesson. You cannot depend on the charity or, worse still, continued goodwill of a corporation.


Sounds like a lot of people I know not just corporations.

I'm sorry to say this but "corporations" are not the problem. People are "always" screwing around with things in order to protect their own interests. I know some parents for example who put their wants above the needs of their children.

Are all people like this? To some extent I believe. But there's different "levels" of this behavior.

Re: Ridiculous argument
by Deletomn on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:10 UTC

Angrewg: Just because Photoshop is not available on Linux does not mean it cannot be cloned by OSS programmers for Linux and other platforms.

True. But a number of people do not believe in "helping" their "competitors". Since the OSS community is trying to clone Photoshop, that would make the OSS community competitors of Adobe. Since the OSS community makes Linux, that would make Linux a product of one of Adobe's competitors. So supporting it would be like supporting the competition.

In my opinion, this makes sense except for one problem. A lot of people support their competitors one way or another anyway, so what's one more, eh?

It was pretty much inevitable.
by Mephisto on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:11 UTC

First there is a clear case where a user of the free verion of BitKeeper was attempting to create a competing product while also using BitKeeper. He agreed verbally to stop but then allegedly continued the work. While the license may not seem reasonable to you but the option is to accept and follow it or not to use the software. Just as creators of software under GPL expect the license to be obeyed so do companies who use a different license.

It might simply have been an excuse to drop the free version but so be it. It does not change the fact that the excuse was given to them. I see no evidence nor outcries from a credible source that the accusation of the license being violated multiple times is not true. This is not the first time this has come up.

v @Linux_baby
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:11 UTC
to Ralph:
by aaa on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:13 UTC

"Mono is an open source implementation of a standard, bitkeeper is a proprietary tool. See the difference?"

Mono is not an implementation of a standart. C# language is in ECMA but .Net is not .Net is not only closed -as you cannot see the code- source (unlike J2SDK), but also protected by several patents by MS. Mono developers has no power to modify .Net, let alone participate developing it (Unlike java JCP). So, putting C# inside ECMA has no value at all for Mono. This (being standard) is a marketing buzz created by MS and Mono zealots are falling for it.

Linus has two option IMHO:
1- buy licenses, keep using Bitkeeper. enough free beer.
2- use another system (i suggest Perforce)
3- use subversion and suffer, becuase of the migration issues.

@Vince
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:23 UTC

The people who had to use BK were right to complain about it not being open source --- they were on the short end of the power balance. For them, it was rational to complain about this position. Meanwhile, the BitMover folks were right to pull free BK --- there is no point in them spending a lot of money on a product that they don't benefit from. For them, it was the rational thing to do.

This really underscores what the OSS folks have been saying all along. Depending on proprietory software puts you in an undesirable position*, no matter what the details of the situation are. Even when we have, as in this case, a company that is not only not malicious, but even benevolant, we are still faced with the underlying logic of the relationship which is that if each side acts rationally, the outcome is undesirable, usually moreso for the user than the corporation.

* The distinction between "necessary" and "desirable" must be noted. An undesirable thing can be necessary, but it is still undesirable.

RE: CVS vs BK
by Matt on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:37 UTC

Are you seriously comparing BK with CVS? You obviously don't know much about this type of software.

@Deletomn
by Andrewg on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:44 UTC

True, if you take OSS programmers to be one homogenous group.

Reading some of the statements made by Linus on how Bitkeeper improved productivity etc, it seems like that is such great promotional material and he is such a visible figure that it seems those benefits would be huge.

Of course a year later Linus will come out and say [insert version control system here] provides improvements over Bitkeeper or even just that it matches Bitkeeper. If the VCS is free in cost then that would hurt Bitkeeper and make current Bitkeeper clients assess there need for the product.

Just guessing though.

We should be happy, not angry
by kura on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:49 UTC

BK was the best tool back then and got chosen. Now it is not an option, so something else has to be chosen. Open source alternatives are more mature now (thanks to BK hype, to some extent) and the one that will be picked will (probably and hopefully) be imporved by kernel hackers commnunity.

In another words, BK was a good choice as a filler until there is a free alternative. Now we will see which open project utilized this months in the best way. The award: more users and more developers.

The only problem may be the image of the open source community as unfriendly for commercial companies. We should hope that it will not be the case.

Larry's motives are kind of odd
by peragrin on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:49 UTC

His primary complaint since linus, and others and OSDL used Bitkeeper, NOBODY at OSDL could work on a project similar to bitkeeper. It gets fuzzy here was the guy even a Kernel developer? If he was and was Using Bitkeeper then he broke the license. Even if it was on his spare time.

Now if this guy wasn't a kernel developer then Bitmover is using it as a weak cover.

Of course Bitkeeper just got three years of the heavist beta testing anyone could imagine. There were quite a few patches designed for bitkeeper just to keep up with the load the kernel was placing on the system.

@MoronPeeCeeUSR
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 6th Apr 2005 19:59 UTC

This group of people does more to turn what many people consider or once did consider to be a *fun* industry into a hate mongering and downright depressing ordeal.

You think OSS folks are legalistic? Go hang around HR people at a company sometime. The *world* is legalistic. The world operates according to an implicit logic and explicit laws. It is not "silly" and "idealistic" to try to use that logic and those laws to your advantage, but pragmatic.

For example, why is Debian so anal about it's software being DSFG free? Partly, because they have an ideal about what software should be. But ultimately, it's because if they weren't, somebody would come along and sue them, and all their work would be down the drain. Debian is pedantic so it's users don't need to be.

Why is the GPL formulated the way it is? Survival! If we assume that free software is a good thing (read RMS's essays for arguments as to why), then it is desirable to ensure the production of free software. To ensure this, we need a mechanism that is sustainable. The GPL does that --- by guaranteeing the existance of source code, it guarantees that people will want to contribute, and guarantees that free software can maintain a competitive advantage against proprietory software. It's an utterly pragmatic thing to do.

Why oh why?
by Mike Packard on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:04 UTC

I like open software but you zealots drive me crazy. Its great for a nice simple application but get over it if a larger application wants to be sold and you have to reach into your pocket and open your wallet.

Companies cannot always maintain open source software and still make money. Some of us programmers need to eat too. If all software goes to free which is then free beer then no singsets for my kids.

Along with that, are you linux kernel developers so cheap you can't buy the bitmover application?

v @MoronPeeCeeUser
by Rick on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:18 UTC
Right...
by Adam on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:19 UTC


"we represent as open-source friendly a commercial organization as you are *ever* going to see"


IBM, Sun, Red Hat, Novell?

Atleast this will speed up the development of Arch, which will probably become the next de facto revision control system.

There are also gateways that use subversion and darcs.

OpenCM
by MJ on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:21 UTC

In another words, BK was a good choice as a filler until there is a free alternative.

There have always been other free alternatives. A great one that is still in development is OpenCM. It does all of the stuff that BK does, but is also designed to handle very security conscious project situations. It even has features that meet government security specifications for software assurance. It's open source, but could definitely use more developers.

The homepage for it is:

http://www.opencm.org/

Also, just as an interesting aside, Larry McVoy tried to get the professor who designed this system fired by claiming that he stole intellectual property from BitKeeper. This is patently false, but if you're looking for another reason to throw your support behind this project, and already resent Larry's actions, it's a creative outlet for the frustrations he's caused many.

@Rayiner Hashem
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:22 UTC

You think OSS folks are legalistic? Go hang around HR people at a company sometime. The *world* is legalistic. The world operates according to an implicit logic and explicit laws. It is not "silly" and "idealistic" to try to use that logic and those laws to your advantage, but pragmatic.

Absolutely but every company I've worked for defines the legal issues and then we move on.

I don't see that in the OSS community. Its just a constant argument over what is legal and whats not legal. The arguments and insults are brutal and honestly on the level that can hinder productivity and/or the achievement of goals.

Why is the GPL formulated the way it is? Survival! If we assume that free software is a good thing (read RMS's essays for arguments as to why), then it is desirable to ensure the production of free software. To ensure this, we need a mechanism that is sustainable. The GPL does that --- by guaranteeing the existance of source code, it guarantees that people will want to contribute, and guarantees that free software can maintain a competitive advantage against proprietory software. It's an utterly pragmatic thing to do.

I can respect and agree with that.

I've often felt the license itself is quite good and the software that is available is excellent.

The vast majority of people involved with the "community" around the software and the license however are a major turn off and seem like a hostile bunch at best.

Why oh why?
by Sean on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:29 UTC

It's simply because they've got too much pride. It turns out that once you use free software, you have this notion that all software should be free. And even if you find something that is top-notch, you're not willing to pay for it because of your OSS pride.

I'm a FreeBSD and Gentoo guy, and I still run XP on my wife's box. Use what's good for you. And anybody out there that says OSS is the only way, you're simply naive.

I feel very bad for those family men who think OSS is going to pay all of their bills. I manage an OSS MVC Framework that makes me quite a bit of money as a specialist. The framework is free and great, and people still pay for support and consulting. It's a win-win deal.

I also think that if Bitkeeper is so good that the kernel developers should chip in the few hundred bucks it probably costs for a license. How cheap are you? You love to program so much, but you're not willing to spend a couple bucks on it? Nice mentality.

@MoronPeeCeeUSR
by leo on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:30 UTC

Its the community that kills it for me

Don't mistake the idiots (like me) on OSNews and other sites for the OSS community. Most of the serious OSS developers don't post in those discussions and are very reasonable.
Read the blogs at http://planetkde.org and http://planet.gnome.org for the views of the real developers.

Strange to blame FLOSS for competing
by AQ on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:37 UTC

"The vast majority of people involved with the "community" around the software and the license however are a major turn off and seem like a hostile bunch at best."

This is a bit ridiculous as the GPL has been the target of attacks by Billion dollar proprietary software companies for years.

Of course we are legalistic, because we want people to know the rights they are receiving that they aren't getting with proprietary code. Also, we are gearing up for court cases and a PR war. The convicted monoply and its proprietary allies are not going to go down quietly.

So of course we have to discuss legal issues. The community is growing by leaps and bounds, and many do not realize what rights they are receiving under free software.

It is import that they understand those rights so they don't take the GPL for granted like they take the millions of EULAs out there for granted. This is an informative movement, and passive users have no vested interest in understanding the promise of free software.

Calling us zealots is ridiculous, who isn't a zealot these days.

RE: Sean
by Adam on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:56 UTC


I also think that if Bitkeeper is so good that the kernel developers should chip in the few hundred bucks it probably costs for a license.


No.

Linux kernel development is in practice is an open process;you should not have to pay for a client. This will detract new developers.

@MoronPeeCeeUSR
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 6th Apr 2005 20:58 UTC

Absolutely but every company I've worked for defines the legal issues and then we move on.

The legal issues have already been defined in things like the DFSG. The continued issues have to do with enforcing the guidelines that have already been decided on. At your company, did people continually try to end-run around the decisions that the company's lawyers made? I don't think so... Did your lawyers, having decided on the rules, then just go home, without trying to ensure compliance? I think not!

Its just a constant argument over what is legal and whats not legal.

The arguments, largely, are on whether specific situations adhere to the guidelines already specified. As for hindering productivity, that's a misguided idea. It costs far more productivity to be sued then to spend some time checking for compliance.

The vast majority of people involved with the "community" around the software and the license however are a major turn off and seem like a hostile bunch at best.

First, "vast majority" is a huge overstatement. Second, personality is an entirely unimportant issue. What matters is whether they fulfil their role in ensuring compliance, how they go about it is their business.

Some Miss the Point
by linux_baby on Wed 6th Apr 2005 21:19 UTC

>> are you linux kernel developers
>> so cheap you can't buy the
>> bitmover application?

But the money is not the point at all. The point is: this company woke up one day and yanked a product that's being used by OSS. Bitmover just made RMS look good.

Now, they may or may not have been justified in taking this action, but the bottom line is: nobody should have that kind of power over an OSS project. Its something the OSS world would definitely learn from. Imagine if there was no Gnome, and everybody went with KDE, and KDE retained it original licensing restrictions, and Thecompany woke up one day and for whatever reason pulled a similar russ . THAT is the point.

>>>
The vast majority of people involved with the "community" around the software and the license however are a major turn off and seem like a hostile bunch at best.
>>>

Do not sound so superior, I've read your posts and you haven't sounded nicer than anyone here. This is a discussion. Get off your high horse!

RE:Mono
by Uno Engborg on Wed 6th Apr 2005 21:55 UTC


I would not call Mono the same situation. Basically every technology out there today is stepping on someone's patent, Mono is no exception to this. The Linux kernel is likely stepping on just as many if not more patents than Mono. Mono is no more at risk than any other open or non-open software out there.


You seam to have fallen for the Microsoft FUD.

All software production is at risk of violating patents, not just free software.

In fact commercial software products might be even more vulnerable to lawsuits as a company may have more money to shake down than usually poor FOSS developers.


KDE
by /dev/null on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:00 UTC

Did KDE not switch to bitkeeper not too long ago? Or was it April Fools day?

Re: KDE
by leo on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:15 UTC

That was april fools. In reality, they are switching to subversion.

Re: Ridiculous argument
by Uno Engborg on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:19 UTC


True. But a number of people do not believe in "helping" their "competitors". Since the OSS community is trying to clone Photoshop, that would make the OSS community competitors of Adobe. Since the OSS community makes Linux, that would make Linux a product of one of Adobe's competitors. So supporting it would be like supporting the competition.


And not supporting Linux would mean giving the Linux market away to their competitors. Not a very smart move when you consider that many FOSS development tools are cross platform. If Adobe let photoshop clones flourish on Linux such clones could spread to other more valuable markets of Adobe.

RE
by Anonymous on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:19 UTC

>> are you linux kernel developers
>> so cheap you can't buy the
>> bitmover application?
Some key kernel developers (ie Andrea Arcangeli) could not use the commercial or free versions. Both versions prevent people who work on contributing products from even using BitKeeper. Andrea did some work on CVS and thus was ineligable to even use BitKeeper.

@leo
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:49 UTC

Don't mistake the idiots (like me) on OSNews and other sites for the OSS community. Most of the serious OSS developers don't post in those discussions and are very reasonable.
Read the blogs at http://planetkde.org and http://planet.gnome.org for the views of the real developers.


Thank you so very much. I shall do just that. ;)

RE: OpenCM
by Marcus Sundman on Wed 6th Apr 2005 22:50 UTC

> Larry McVoy tried to get the professor who designed [OpenCM]
> fired by claiming that he stole intellectual property from
> BitKeeper.

Are you sure about that? I can't find any info about it on the net, nor on the opencm-dev ml.

@Eric Warnke (IP: ---.msc.albany.edu)
by Chris on Wed 6th Apr 2005 23:04 UTC

Java's standards come with a unlimited patent grant from sun to implement the standards. Even if there were patents Sun has given away permission to implement them in a jvm clone.

Actually, the license says that you get a patent grant if you pass the TCK. Given that none of the OSS jvm's have passed, they are at just as much a risk as Mono is (or isn't, depending on your point of view).

Bitmover
by Stan on Wed 6th Apr 2005 23:26 UTC

Seems like Larry didn't even update his website yet. He still has that they support over 2500 linux developers on the front page. Now that's someone using other's as a marketing tool to sell more products.

This sleeze bag should deserve to run his company into the ground after the dust settles..

no whining license
by QuantumG on Thu 7th Apr 2005 00:15 UTC

Well there's a BitKeeper client now that is open source. http://www.bitkeeper.com/press/2005-03-17.html It's under a BSD-like license called the NWL. It really is trivial and would take no effort what-so-ever to understand and expand into a full fledged client (although some reverse engineering of the protocol might be necessary to get commit functionality).

Re: Re: Ridiculous argument
by John Nilsson on Thu 7th Apr 2005 00:22 UTC

Since the CSS community is trying to clone The GIMP, that would make the CSS community competitors of FSF. Since the CSS community makes Windows, that would make Windows a product of one of FSF competitors. So supporting it would be like supporting the competition.

Hmm, that almost makes sense... the point I'm trying to make is that the OSS community is not a coherent entity to be regarded as a competitor, it is a community.

As a comunity it can have entities that are competitores to other entities, within or outside the community.

Use your heads
by rm6990 on Thu 7th Apr 2005 01:35 UTC

Yes, BitMover really discontinued the free version because someone tried to reverse engineer it. I suppose next Microsoft is going to quit shipping Windows because some people pirate them. Then Ford will quit selling cars because a minority of people steal them.

BitMover simply discontinued the product because they were done using the linux kernel crew as beta testers, and this is the best excuse they could come up with.

has the alleged OSDL contractor spoken?
by Paul Gralitt on Thu 7th Apr 2005 02:07 UTC

giving his version of the he said, she said as well as what he was trying to do with it.

That would be interesting.

Re: Ridiculous argument
by Deletomn on Thu 7th Apr 2005 02:39 UTC

Deletomn: True. But a number of people do not believe in "helping" their "competitors". Since the OSS community is trying to clone Photoshop, that would make the OSS community competitors of Adobe. Since the OSS community makes Linux, that would make Linux a product of one of Adobe's competitors. So supporting it would be like supporting the competition.

Uno Engborg: And not supporting Linux would mean giving the Linux market away to their competitors. Not a very smart move when you consider that many FOSS development tools are cross platform. If Adobe let photoshop clones flourish on Linux such clones could spread to other more valuable markets of Adobe.

True. I was just stating the way some people see it. The issue (like many issues) has a number of facets to it which need to be considered.

Re: Re: Ridiculous argument
by Deletomn on Thu 7th Apr 2005 02:51 UTC

John Nilsson: Since the CSS community is trying to clone The GIMP, that would make the CSS community competitors of FSF. Since the CSS community makes Windows, that would make Windows a product of one of FSF competitors. So supporting it would be like supporting the competition.

Hmm, that almost makes sense... the point I'm trying to make is that the OSS community is not a coherent entity to be regarded as a competitor, it is a community.

As a comunity it can have entities that are competitores to other entities, within or outside the community.


That's true that it's not a "coherent entity" and that it has a number of "sub communities" that compete within the larger community.

However... The OSS community (as it supporters frequently point out) is a little different. Code can "flow" from one project to another rather easily and different projects can easily draw "strength" from other projects.

For example: Redhat Linux includes not only Linux, but GIMP and other pieces of software. If Adobe supported Red Hat Linux, some of their customers might switch to it. Tinker with it more and find out. <Gasp> That they can use GIMP instead of Photoshop.

As for GIMP on Windows... Let's see... Some GIMP people might switch to Windows (ya right) and discover that the MS Paint program which is bundled with it is about even with GIMP (ya right) and stop using GIMP.

I just don't see the same thing happening at all. While the first scenario might not happen, the second scenario would never happen. MS Paint is just not even remotely in the same league with GIMP or Photoshop. And the different entities in the CSS community are just not as "cooperative" with each other as the different entities are in the OSS community.

Re: @Deletomn
by Deletomn on Thu 7th Apr 2005 03:01 UTC

Andrewg: True, if you take OSS programmers to be one homogenous group.

Reading some of the statements made by Linus on how Bitkeeper improved productivity etc, it seems like that is such great promotional material and he is such a visible figure that it seems those benefits would be huge.


Agreed.

I see this as being a bad move for the company. Even if their reasons are truly good (I didn't actually read the article) this is going to cause public relations problems for them and everyone else in the "CSS community". And having Linus promote them was definitely good advertising in my opinion.



As far as porting Adobe Photoshop (or other software) to Linux goes. Honestly, overall I'd say I'd probably be in support of it, if I was one of the decision makers at any of those companies.

Why? Well... Uno Engborg said, "And not supporting Linux would mean giving the Linux market away to their competitors".

Turn on your Sarcasm Radar
by . on Thu 7th Apr 2005 07:37 UTC

Oh no! But free software zealots are too political. They are not practical. They are too idealogical. They are “Stalmanists.” I only use software that gets the work done, even if the terms of usage plugs my ass tomorrow.

re: Use your heads
by Viro on Thu 7th Apr 2005 09:51 UTC

Yes, BitMover really discontinued the free version because someone tried to reverse engineer it. I suppose next Microsoft is going to quit shipping Windows because some people pirate them. Then Ford will quit selling cars because a minority of people steal them.

BitMover simply discontinued the product because they were done using the linux kernel crew as beta testers, and this is the best excuse they could come up with.


No. BitMover discontinued the free version because people were abusing their generosity and reverse engineering their product in order to create a competing product.

If you were reverse engineering Windows in order to create a competing product, you can bet MS will be on you like a ton of bricks. Same goes for Ford.

This is a clear case where the OSS community shot itself in the foot. BitMover offered something for free, with the condition that you respect the license that they provided (i.e. no reverse engineering). It's a shame that the OSS community failed to respect that and even ignored BitMover's requests to stop. As others have mentioned, this is highly hypocritical of the OSS community. If you want people to respect your licenses, you need to respect their licenses in return. Or just don't use their software.

@Viro
by Magic8 on Thu 7th Apr 2005 10:12 UTC

"If you were reverse engineering Windows in order to create a competing product, you can bet MS will be on you like a ton of bricks. Same goes for Ford."

Don't post when you have no clue, okay? Think Wine, for one. Clean room reverse engineering is not illegal.

BTW, isn't it hypocritical of BitMover to do everything they can to stifle competition? People often use the market as a bastion of competive behaviour. Of course it is a lie: no corporation, whose only mandate is their own profitability, would ever want competition. For OSS, competition is a given.

Besides, BitMover sucks. Only Linus thought it was groovy.

Re: Use your heads
by Peder on Thu 7th Apr 2005 11:24 UTC

next Microsoft is going to quit shipping Windows because some people pirate them

That analogy doen't make any sense at all in this context. The proper comparison might be "Microsoft won't give away any more free beta versions of Longhorn to company XYZ because they reverse engineer it to make a GPL version called Shorthorn".

Linus and the rest of the developers can still buy a license and continue as if nothing's happened, but I guess Linus is fed up with all the whining from the community, and won't take that path.

Bitmover gave free (of charge) licenses to a community that then started trying to reverse engineer it. No wonder BM got pissed.
It's a similar situation to what the FOSS community feels when someone take GLP code into their products and won't release the code (in short: a violation of license).

And, in spite of what's suggested from some in this forum, we haven't lost anything from Linus' decision to start with BK.
During these years developement has gone much faster that before and I bet we'd been far behind had he decided on another SCM back then.

- Peder

RE: @Viro
by Peder on Thu 7th Apr 2005 11:36 UTC

BTW, isn't it hypocritical of BitMover to do everything they can to stifle competition?

No. They just don't want their trade secrets to be reverse engineered by a community that were given their software for free.

Perhaps the were a bit too anal about the "can't work on a competing SCM if you've used the free BK (and vice versa)" but other than that I think they've been very generous (and obviously gotten a lot back, but that hasn't cost us anything).

If only all the energy spent whining about the BK license had been spent improving the other SCM's perhaps an equal (or superior) alternative would be available today (if it doesn't already exist, but at least Linus doesn't seem to think so [even if he seems to have some sweet eye on monotone]).

- Peder

@Peder
by Magic8 on Thu 7th Apr 2005 11:55 UTC

"Perhaps the were a bit too anal about the "can't work on a competing SCM if you've used the free BK (and vice versa)" but other than that I think they've been very generous (and obviously gotten a lot back, but that hasn't cost us anything)."

Come on, they are terminating development because someone who *also* contracts for OSDL (but not on SCM systems) reverse engineers BM? That is so flimsy of a reason it hurts. Just becuase something is in a licence statement or agreement does not mean it is legal or enforcable and last I checked, you can't tell 3rd parties what to do.

Furthermore, *everything* costs *something*. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there really is no such thing as "free beer". Its just a nice little catch-phrase people use to indicate that they didn't pay any upfront money for something. Waking up with a sore ass is something.

@Magic8
by Viro on Thu 7th Apr 2005 14:26 UTC

Don't post when you have no clue, okay? Think Wine, for one. Clean room reverse engineering is not illegal.

Right.... because Wine is so feature complete that every Win32 app works on it.

Reverse engineering may not be illegal per se. IANAL, so I can't say for definite. However, breaking a licensing contract is. They basically broke BitMover's license when they decided to reverse engineer it to create a competing product.

You can argue about how anal BitMover is for enforcing their license, but then you lose any right to complain when people break any OSS license. Fact is, if the OSS community expects people to respect their licenses, they need to do the same with respect to others.

They aren
by Anonymous on Thu 7th Apr 2005 16:22 UTC

I thought the ones reverse engineering BK weren't the ones who got a license from BM?

Stupid
by rm6990 on Thu 7th Apr 2005 16:57 UTC

"
No. BitMover discontinued the free version because people were abusing their generosity and reverse engineering their product in order to create a competing product.

If you were reverse engineering Windows in order to create a competing product, you can bet MS will be on you like a ton of bricks. Same goes for Ford.

This is a clear case where the OSS community shot itself in the foot. BitMover offered something for free, with the condition that you respect the license that they provided (i.e. no reverse engineering). It's a shame that the OSS community failed to respect that and even ignored BitMover's requests to stop. As others have mentioned, this is highly hypocritical of the OSS community. If you want people to respect your licenses, you need to respect their licenses in return. Or just don't use their software.
"

You are missing my point. NOT ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS WERE REVERSE ENGINEERING THE PRODUCT. Terminate the licenses of the license detractors, not the whole community. I hate when people lump the OSS community as if it were a single person, like each developer should police the other million or so developers in the community.

This is ridiculous. I suppose Microsoft should be forced to govern other proprietary companies too, since you know, they are all proprietary so I guess they are one single entity.

@Magic8
by Wrawrat on Fri 8th Apr 2005 01:15 UTC

Besides, BitMover sucks. Only Linus thought it was groovy.

I'll quote your own advice: Don't post when you have no clue, okay?

Of course, if you are persuaded you're right, go ahead and tell us why.

Clearcase?
by deleted on Fri 8th Apr 2005 03:05 UTC

Perhaps IBM could step up to the plate and opensource Clearcase and Clearcase multisite. Its the best SCM system I have ever used.

"Why? Well... Uno Engborg said, "And not supporting Linux would mean giving the Linux market away to their competitors"."

In the context of this situation. The above assumes that the "competitors" aren't given as sutiable a reason to either not enter, or quickly vacate the market as the original first-mover. In other words, if one percieves the market as unsafe, then competitors may likewise have the same qualms.

[Magic8 (IP: ---.qc.sympatico.ca)]
"Just becuase something is in a licence statement or agreement does not mean it is legal or enforcable and last I checked, you can't tell 3rd parties what to do. "

Last I checked, the GPL hasn't actually been tested in court. By your reasoning it must not be legal or enforcable.

[rm6990 (IP: ---.cg.shawcable.net)]
"I hate when people lump the OSS community as if it were a single person, like each developer should police the other million or so developers in the community. "

True the community isn't one person. However the "community" does have certain qualities that do distinguish it from other "communities". And while a "community" can't micromanage it's members. It can however suffer the effects of one of it's members behaviour. Or as the saying goes "One bad apple spoils the barrel".

re: @Magic8
by Magic8 on Sat 9th Apr 2005 01:25 UTC

@wrawrat: it sucks because the licence sucks. sorry, but software like speech should be free, as far as I'm concerned. I should have said that it sucks for FOSS projects.

@BR: the fact that it hasn't been tested doesn't mean it isn't legitimate. check around: the concensus is that it is enforceable meaning that it would stand a legal test. On the other hand, putting burdons on a 3rd party (one not party to the licence) is not enforcable.