BitKeeper licence critic // was ... license critic

Alex Hudson home at
Thu Mar 7 07:08:22 UTC 2002

On Thu, 2002-03-07 at 06:55, John Tapsell wrote:
> But on the otherhand I realise the danger (whatif BK 'goes bad' when we are 
> all dependant etc)  but they have added clauses that it will go GPL if they 
> go out of business, etc etc. and are trying to counter most of the usual bad 
> points.

They already have gone bad - it's proprietary software. Does anyone know
what format the BK changesets/archives/etc. are in? I imagine it's a
format that is fairly easy to decipher, but who knows...

Relying on proprietary software in this manner is like Microsoft giving
away free copies of Word to the dev team and them using it to do all the
documentation in. That may seem a great deal at first sight, but they're
locking their data into a proprietary application: if they ever need to
get it out again, it might be difficult. Exporting a complete repository
with changes, history, etc., might be well near impossible.

Unfortunately, I think the BK thing has been brewing for years - people
have been pushing it for years, and it seems that much of it has been
built in response to Linus' requests, so it's probably a very good
technical fit for the kernel. Just not a good ethical fit :(



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