Monday, April 11, 2005

The fine art of Articulation

I had been following the Linux and BitKeeper story.

Newsforge has carried an article on the same.

I find the following argument to be particularly subtle and very well articulated. I quote Linus' own words from the article:

Larry is perfectly fine with somebody writing a free replacement. He's told me so, and I believe him, because I actually do believe that he has a strong moral back-bone.

What Larry is _not_ fine with, is somebody writing a free replacement by just reverse-engineering what _he_ did.

Larry has a very clear moral standpoint: "You can compete with me, but you can't do so by riding on my coat-tails. Solve the problems on your own, and compete _honestly_. Don't compete by looking at my solution."

And that is what the BK license boils down to. It says: "Get off my coat-tails, you free-loader". And I can't really argue against that.

As I juxtapose these arguments with the work that I have been doing with BMCS, I feel shivers running through my "backbone".

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