Feeds

'Cool it, Linus' - Bruce Perens

Torvalds acting like an idiot - open source leader

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

With Andrew Tridgell silent, apparently on legal advice, open source community leader Bruce Perens has stepped up to defend the work Tridgell did reverse engineering the protocols used by Bitkeeper. Bitkeeper is the closed source proprietary source code management tool that until last week, Linus Torvalds used to manage Linux kernel source code.

Torvalds has responded to the controversy by blaming Tridgell, and made two extraordinarily intemperate attacks on him online, the second accusing him of willful destruction.

Perens told us that Torvalds needs to "cool it."

"There are times when Linus Torvalds can be a real idiot, and this is one of these times," said Perens.

He pointed out that the closed source tool was foisted on kernel developers despite the consensus that it was inappropriate for a GPL project. Many declined to use it regardless of the gateways McVoy created, says Perens. So the criticism is "very severely unfair" to Tridgell, he says.

As for McVoy, who Perens has known since he was seven (the pair grew up on Long Island), the advice is emphatic.

"Larry could have left gracefully, but I'm afraid that's just not in him... If he has any sense, he'll shut up."

That's the summary. Here's the Q&A.

Larry, Mungo and Tridge

Why, according to Torvalds, is exploring proprietary Microsoft protocols good, while exploring proprietary Bitmover protocols is bad? This does not compute.

"Let's look at what Tridge has done," said Perens.

"Firstly, he's well known because of Samba. He reverse engineered the over-the-wire protocol of Microsoft networking, so he could interoperate with it from a Unix system or Linux or a Macintosh. This is very welcome, and it's in commercial products from HP, IBM, Apple, and many other companies. No one seems to have a problem with this."

"There was never a question of copyright infringement, because he did not look at the software, only how it communicated over the wire."

"So becoming commercially very desirable for this task [Tridgell is on sabbatical from IBM Research as an ODSL Labs contractor, where he was named the second Fellow after Torvalds himself - ed] he again started a hobby project - which is how Samba started - which is a Bitmover compatible product. And he reverse engineered the over the wire protocol."

"He never laid hands on the Bitkeeper software. He did not look inside the software to do this."

"So I think a lot of people are giving him a great deal of trouble for the exact thing he did for Samba. It seems to me hypocritical. I can't tell Linus Torvalds what to say. But it's Andrew Tridgell who is literally not allowed to reply, here, and Linus is being very severely unfair."

"There are times when Linus Torvalds can be a real idiot, and this is one of these times."

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?