What do to about BitKeeper and the Linux Kernel

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at dekkers.cx
Fri Mar 8 20:22:27 UTC 2002

On Fri, Mar 08, 2002 at 07:51:44PM +0100, Bernhard Reiter wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 08, 2002 at 07:26:25PM +0100, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > On Fri, Mar 08, 2002 at 01:21:18PM +0100, Bernhard Reiter wrote:
> > > Linus wrote an email about the subject.
> > > http://lwn.net/daily/lt-bitkeeper.php3
> > 
> > I don't see why I should even care about Linux and especially Linus at all. 
> Linus has a long time record to develop nice Free Software.

I haven't seen any piece of nice free software from Linus. No, I don't
consider Linux nice and you don't want to get me started about it.

> It is good to keep in contact with people who do this.
> In general it is good to keep communication and discussions going.

True, but I don't see why we should care about it. We could rather
support the Hurd instead of putting time in convincing Linus not to
use BK. Both for technical and social reasons.

> > Personally, I just help finishing the GNU system instead of
> > caring about the GNU/Linux variant. 
> The goal of the GNU project is to give you freedom to completly
> run Free Software for your computing needs. 
> The Linux kernel certainly helps this goal in a significant way. 

I don't like the phrase "The Linux kernel". It's a pleonasm, it
implies that Linux is more than a kernel and that you're talking about
just the kernel of the bigger thing, which clearly isn't the case.

> If Linux would have been available when Hurd
> started, the GNU project would probably have adopted it.
> This is standard GNU project behaviour.

From early messages talking about the Hurd Thomas (author of the Hurd)
tells that they know FreeBSD will be finished sooner than the Hurd,
but instead of helping FreeBSD they want to create a revolutionair

Also RMS contradicts itself by saying "Instead we would choose another
project, something to do a job that no existing free software can do."
The Hurd can clearly do a lot of things which no piece of existing
(free or non-free) software can do.

You can also turn around what you say: If Linux wasn't created, the
current people hacking Linux would probably be hacking the Hurd,
combined with the technical better papers of the Hurd would have
created a much better system. A system which can compete better with
the current non-free systems. It would also promote GNU and especially
the GNU philosophy a bit more.

> Because the Linux kernel is a significant contribution,
> a name like GNU/Linux gives credit to it 
> and also explains that there might be other variants.

True, but still a lot of people call it "Linux", including most
developers of the kernel named Linux.

> http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd-and-linux.html
> | When we started developing the Hurd in 1990, the question facing us
> | was, ``How can we get a free kernel for the GNU system?'' There was
> | no free Unix-like kernel then, and we knew of no other plan to write
> | one. The only way we could expect to have a free kernel was to write
> | it ourselves. So we started.
> | If we did face the question that people ask---if Linux were already
> | available, and we were considering whether to start writing another
> | kernel---we would not do it. Instead we would choose another
> | project, something to do a job that no existing free software can do.
> |
> | But we did start the Hurd, back then, and now we have made it work.
> | We hope its superior architecture will make free operating systems
> | more powerful.
> > I don't see why people supporting
> > free software want to get associated with some bunch of people
> > promoting non-free software, use the term open source and try to get
> > all the credits themself for writing an operating system. 
> You have to keep the perspective here.
> Linus himself never tried to get all credits for an "Operating"
> system.

He does by calling the OS "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux". He knows
that Linux is just the kernel and not the complete OS, but still he
doesn't call the OS by its right name.

> Additionally different people have different ideas on how to promote
> and progress things. Linus is definatly doing good things for the 
> Free Software-Community. We want him to keep doing this.

I don't see much good things. I see broken 'stable' versions of Linux,
waste of manpower, promoting of non-free software, etc.

Jeroen Dekkers
Jabber supporter - http://www.jabber.org Jabber ID: jdekkers at jabber.org
Debian GNU supporter - http://www.debian.org http://www.gnu.org
IRC: jeroen at openprojects
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