On version control

When I was hunting around for a free version control system, people recommended Perforce. I wasn’t happy with a non-open-source version control system, however.

BitMover Software have now demonstrated why, far better than I could have hoped to. They encouraged Linus Torvalds to move the Linux kernel source tree into BitKeeper, offering him and other kernel developers free licenses for BitKeeper on Linux.

Then once everyone was using BitKeeper, they decided they didn’t like the fact that a developer at OSDL was reverse-engineering their file transfer protocol in his spare time. In a fit of pique, they have decided to yank BitKeeper for Linux, because OSDL refused to fire the guy. They apparently won’t even give Linus a free license to continue using BitKeeper in the long term, unless he agrees to their demands that he stop working for OSDL. In spite of which, he’s putting a surprisingly positive spin on the whole thing.

As a Mac owner, I’ve obviously seen some pretty user-hostile behavior by computer companies; but BitMover have taken it to a whole new level. So no, I definitely won’t be touching Perforce, or any other proprietary version control system. Perforce may seem reasonable now, but as BitMover have just shown, that’s no guarantee of continued reasonableness.