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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Linux and its SCM controversy

I just wanted to follow up on a previous story I had posted about Linux a couple of weeks ago. In it, I mentioned that Linux stopped using its traditional Software Configuration Management (SCM) system BitKeeper from the South San Francisco based BitMover. A dispute between with BitMover has forced Linux creator Linus Torvalds to embark on a new software project of his own, in addition to the Linux kernel. The new SCM project, called "Git" (GPL just like Linux) was started right after Torvalds abandoned the proprietary BitKeeper software he had been using to manage Linux kernel development since 2002.

The most notorious and extreme free software activist, Richard Stallman, had long called for Linux developers to kick out BitKeeper, arguing that using it helps to persuade kernel developers that the use of "non-free" software was acceptable.

Torvalds has already put his kernel development on hold for a week to work on Git. His decision to drop BitKeeper is also controversial. It will certainly affect the productivity of the kernel developers at least in the short term. Torvalds admits Git is still very rough on the edges and not ready for prime time. He said that the real cost will be measured by how much the new software would slow down the numerous maintainers that contribute to the kernel.

When asked why he called the new software, Git (which means rotten person in British slang), Linus replies "I'm an egotistical bastard, so I name all my projects after myself. First Linux, now Git."

Do you think open source should be developed using open source tools exclusively? Please share your thoughts.

Read more on this in this CNET story.


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