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Monday, April 11, 2005

Is Linux homeless?

In Q1 of 2002 Linus Torvalds decided to use BitKeeper to manage the complicated and global development of Linux. Torvalds declared "BitKeeper has made me more than twice as productive, and its fundamentally distributed nature allows me to work the way I prefer to work - with many different groups working independently, yet allowing for easy merging between them."

Three years later Linus decided (read his recent posting) to move away from BitKeeper and temporarily revert to a less automated system based on email. Some significant disruptions in the Linux development community are expected. Linus took a lot of heat from the open source community due to the proprietary nature of BitKeeper. Among those who criticized Linus was Richard Stallman the founder of the GNU Project. In his posting Torvalds made it clear that he was not a big fan of centralized source code repositories like CVS or Subversion, "Don't bother telling me about subversion. If you must, start reading up on Monotone", said Torvalds. He is clearly leaning towards Monotone as a successor but no final decision has been made yet.

The natural question becomes, why is Linus creating distraction for Linux developers when everything was working well? Last week BitMover (maker of BitKeeper) announced they would discontinue the free product used by the Linux community citing that they were concerned some people were reproducing the capabilities of BitKeeper to make them available for free. BitMover's decision left the Linux community with a free solution that is not powerful enough to support their needs. More on this story soon stay tuned!

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