BitKeeper licence critic

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Thu Mar 7 14:38:34 UTC 2002

On Thu, Mar 07, 2002 at 01:04:57PM +0100, Joerg Schilling 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.
> It helps to visit the BK web site and read first hand information before 
> writing mail that is based on estimations....

I generall agree that good information should be used to judge.
Mr. Moffitt's critic contained a quote of the license.
Assuming that the is correct, his article might be the better source
in comparison to BK's website:

| Unfortunately, the license presented online (both at the website and
| in the download area) is not the most current BitKeeper license.
| There are further restrictions in the license version which
| accompanies the software that are not mentioned on the website.

> BK will bekome GPL if goes offline for 90+ days.

Mr. Moffitt's analysis even offers a funny point about this,
after he explained why this is quite different from other semi-free
licensing models that are more acceptable:

| The humorous aspect to this clause is that the best way the Free
| Software community has of obtaining a free BitKeeper is to not use
| it at all, refuse to promote it, and wait until BitMover fails as a
| company. By using the software, a user is helping ensure that it
| stays non-free.

What do you say to the other problems Mr. Moffitt described,
like the termination for support costs or the powerful possibility 
to restict any user through adaptations of the regression rules?

Do you think these dangers are acceptable?
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