BitKeeper license critic

MJ Ray markj+0111 at
Thu Mar 7 13:38:52 UTC 2002

Joerg Schilling <schilling at> wrote:
> If you like to pay, I believe you are welcome.
> But please do not state that you _need_ to pay.

But that is what the document says.  

>>Digging (very) deep in that site, it appears that I may not have to pay now,
>>but they "reserve the right to charge for HTML/PDF versions of its
>>publications in the future".  Only a fool would agree to pay an unspecified
>>amount at an unspecified future date.
> Please not not start to spread your assumptions, stay with the truth.

How can I make any other inference?  I quote the truth as it is stated on
their pages.  If I agree to those terms, I agree to their right to charge me
an unspecified amount at a future date.  Sorry, but no.  Either that is an
unjust contract, or it is misworded.

> They will most likely start to charge for the PDF files but HTML will stay
> free (as the draft versions do). As soon as ECMA includes POSIX-1.2001, there 
> will be a second source for free access.

Until that time, there is no way to access it for free.

> But your behaviour looks like you did not yet understand that people sometimes
> need to earn money in order to be able to pay for their life.

Can you be more patronising please?

> It yould be nice if I could go to my baker and ask him for free bread just
> bacause he could use my CD recording program for free.

As I'm sure you're aware, we cannot reproduce bread for free.

> It becomes more and more disappointing to see how users of free software 
> behave. 

I'm an author, not just a user.  Sure, nothing as widely-used as your
program, but the users of my software seem to find it useful nonetheless.

> In case of cdrecord it is really disappointing to see my workload
> constanly increasing because dumb and lazy people send me mail and nobody
> is willing to contribute to the project. If users continue to behave this
> way, many real free software authors will stop working on free software.

If "real free software authors" behave as you do, they find themselves
forked anyway, so does it matter?  Sorry to be harsh, but we're not all
beggars at the table of the programmer kings.  I think it's more of a
challenge to find ways to surf the tidal wave of information and try to
convert the "dumb and lazy" to being useful contributors to free software. is one common document
to point them at.

>>> POSIX contains SCCS but does not contain VCS.
>>Surely that is POSIX's flaw?
> Why? SCCS uses the better file format, there is no reason to also 
> put CVS into the standard. The CPIO archive format also has been finally 
> removed in favor of TAR because it is not extensible.

Sorry, I was suggesting that POSIX should contain a Version Control System
specification rather than just the SCCS file format.

> It seems that you never lost a file (or parts of it) because of the flaky
> Linux NFS implementation. I am not shure if this has been fixed now but
> I am still in fear to edit files on Linux if they are NFS mounted.

Of course I haven't.  I was never a system admin at a homogenous network. 
I've not seen any NFS nasties.  Common problems I haven't seen include:

1. NFS breaking because of clock desync between client and server.

2. Linux 2.0 NFS didn't like talking to FreeBSD 3.x NFS.

3. Solaris 7 NFS didn't like talking to 2.5.1.

Nevertheless, if you start trying to solve the problems at the application
level, you will have to solve them in every application.  Problem 1 is an
order of magnitude more common than anything else.  Better to try to solve
the other bugs in the implementation (which I tried and failed to do in case
2 above).  We have that freedom (but I didn't in case 3).

MJR ,----------------------------------------------------
    | Q. Do you need a net-based application developing, 
    |    or advice and training about web technology?
    | A. I suggest you try

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