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'Cool it, Linus' - Bruce Perens

Torvalds acting like an idiot - open source leader

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What Bitkeeper giveth, Bitkeeper taketh away

What can Larry claim as proprietary? He argues that the metadata is Bitkeeper software. But is this true? And if so, does it apply to all of it - the changesets, diffs, check out times, and comments?

"It's exactly the same argument people make against the GPL. Unfortunately for Larry, the proprietary software vendor can really only claim as his own the software of his program, and not the software that is the result of other people's data - even when that data was processed by his program.

"The processing by a piece of software unless it includes pieces of itself in that output, is not placing any kind of copyright encumberance on items that are processed."

"Kernel developers can't get at this metadata." So he's up a creek without a paddle, then?

"Larry sees conspiracies that don't exist."

"If Larry McVoy has any sense he'll shut up. Or, if he really wants to be a beating blowhard, he'll do something really stupid and sue, and it won't get him anywhere and it will risk his entire business."

In Perens view, the blame should be placed on the decision to adopt a closed source tool for a GPL project in which free software developers are adamant about the right to use free software tools of their choice.

"One of the things that offended a lot of people was that this was an agreement between Linus and Larry, and others weren't being listened to. As a result a lot of people aren't interested whether Larry put up a gateway or not. The kernel is Linus and over a thousand other developers, of which 200 are active every day. Their approval of this entire deal was less than unanimous."

"Linus, to his credit thinks there is too much effort required holding together these people together, who don't want to stay together. He could have realized this at the start."

Finally, we wondered what had happened to Linus gift for diplomacy, which has defused intense rows before, but which now seems to have deserted him?

"Linus Torvalds is not a diplomat. But Linus is even keeled, and he's not even keeled in this, and not taking other people's feelings into consideration."

"He needs to cool it."®

Related stories

Torvalds knifes Tridgell
The Larry and Linus Show: personalities vs principles? [Letters]
Linus Torvalds in bizarre attack on open source
Linus Torvalds defers closed source crunch

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