BitKeeper license critic

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Wed Mar 6 22:54:46 UTC 2002

LWN daily pointed me to Jack Moffitt's critique of the BitKeeper license:

It is worth a read.
(Though it is a bit odd that he does not mention that
the definition of the OSI basically explains the same differently
what the FSF defined earlier. *wink* )

| With all of the restrictions that have been outlined, BitKeeper
| seems almost free.

| If we amend the requirements to accomodate something that is almost
| Free Software or almost Open Source, these boundaries will diminish
| gradually and not only will our campaign be unsuccessful but we will
| have weakened our efforts.
| BitKeeper under the terms of the BitKeeper License is neither Free
| Software or Open Source software. It fails to meet the criteria and
| therefore fails to meet the standards of freedom that these criteria
| define and that the community have adopted. If the aim is to promote
| Free Software and Open Source and preserve these rights and
| freedoms, we should not be satisfied with almost free or almost open
| source licenses like the BitKeeper license.

| 4. Conclusion
|    Sometimes it is tempting to sacrifice our rights and freedoms for
| convenience, but we should not do so. There are many problems with
| CVS and other Free source management packages, and it would be nice
| to move to a more robust and more well-designed tool. We are better
| off to repair or fix the tools which are free, or if that is not
| acceptable to create new free tools that preserve the the rights and
| freedoms we enjoy.

| I also encourage Free Software hackers to avoid or cease using
| BitKeeper in their own projects. It might not be as convenient to
| use other tools, but in the long term we should be more concerned
| with preserving those rights and freedoms we currently exercise and
| enjoy daily. I personally have stopped using BitKeeper

| I encourage the entire community to support the efforts of Free and
|   Open Source projects in this area.

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