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Tridgell demos Bitkeeper interoperability

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Samba man Andrew Tridgell has publicly demonstrated how to interoperate with the proprietary Bitkeeper source code management system. It's so easy, you'll be able to do it yourself wearing boxing gloves.

Bitkeeper is at the heart of the conflagration which saw Tridgell, one of the most senior and widely respected open source coders, slammed by Linux founder Linus Torvalds for acting destructively. Torvalds was then firmly told to shut up and stop acting like an idiot by Bruce Perens, and very many Linux supporters.

The moment came as an aside during a keynote Tridgell was giving to the Linux.Conf.Au gathering in Canberra, Australia, attendees report. It's only Tridgell's second public reference to the episode, as he is believed to be acting on legal advice. Both Tridgell (as a contractor) and Torvalds (as a full-time employee) work for the same employer, OSDL.

Departing from his topic, Tridgell described how to get at the cunningly obfuscated functionality of Bitkeeper.

First he said, you open a telnet program. Then you telnet to port 5000 on the Bitkeeper repository you wish to access.

Then you type 'help'.

Apparently, it looks something like this.

Bitkeeper interoperability - click to enlarge

According to attendees, Tridgell demonstrated the procedure to disprove accusations that his detractors in the Torvalds/McVoy camp had made against him. Principally, that he was some kind of "an evil genius" reverse engineer. Tridgell has maintained, and he appears to have the support of the community, that his work didn't cross any ethical boundaries.

Will Larry McVoy now seek an injunction against the distributors of Telnet? ®

Related stories

'Cool it, Linus' - Bruce Perens
Torvalds knifes Tridgell
The Larry and Linus Show: personalities vs principles?
Linus Torvalds in bizarre attack on open source
Linus Torvalds defers closed source crunch

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