When Linux creator Linus Torvalds began using the BitKeeper (BK) source control tool for managing the 2.5 Linux development kernel [earlier story], one of the big fears people put forward was that all Linux kernel developers would eventually be forced to use this tool. (The BK license is a major source of contention.
James Simmons announced innocently enough on the lkml, "Just to let you know I created a bitkeeper repository for the framebuffer layer." M. R. Brown replied a couple hours later, "Please tell us that primary framebuffer/input/console development will continue in the CVS drop-in tree on SourceForge? "
Linus recently returned from a two week vacation, announcing the release of "a largish 2.5.8-pre1 patch". Following the announcement, he commented on the earlier April Fool's message. He says, "PS.
Par for the course, "shocking" email hit the lkml on April 1'st attributed to Linus Torvalds. This year's email stated, "Linux needs new leadership", putting Linus' succesor up to a vote. A surprising number of people thought the email was real, expressing dismay at Linus' "choice" to abandon Linux. The contrived email follows.
Linus' earlier decision to test the BitKeeper source management tool with the 2.5 kernel tree has continued to create wakes of dissent. One group went so far as to start a petition against the usage of the tool, saying "We, the undersigned members and officers of the Open Source Club at the Ohio State University, are unhappy with the advocacy of the proprietary BitKeeper software for use in maintaining the Linux kernel." Details on the BitKeeper licenses that so many are opposed to can be found here.
The posting of this petition led to a frenzy of replies, in a thread that continues to grow. Many pointed out that the time spent protesting this tool could be much more productively invested into writing an open source alternative of at least equal caliber. All seem to agree that such an alternative does not currently exist.
Towards the end of the many samples from this thread that follow is a reply from Linus, making it clear that he is content using BK himself, but will in no way force it upon anyone else. In his email, he says, "And I personally refuse to use inferior tools because of ideology. In fact, I will go as far as saying that making excuses for bad tools due to ideology is _stupid_, and people who do that think with their gonads, not their brains".
Kerneltrap has spoken with Linux guru Alan Cox. He is perhaps the second most influential Linux kernel hacker, next only to Linus. In this interview he talks about himself, his history with computers and Linux, working for Red Hat, Marcello and the 2.4 kernel, the DMCA, the future of Linux and much more.
Dave Jones currently lives in London, employed by SuSE as a Linux kernel hacker. In the past six months since he graduated from the University of Glamorgan he has gotten involved in an impressive range of kernel related projects, including Powertweak, x86info, OProfile and the Kernel Janitors Project. Additionally, he maintains a -dj patch for the 2.5 development kernel, helping to sync it with the stable 2.4 kernel as well as offering increased stability.