Tridgell releases SourcePuller

Summary:Two weeks ago we reported on the rift between Larry McVoy, who wrote a closed source tool Linus Torvalds himself had begun depending upon, and the open source community. Today the "other shoe" dropped on that story with word that Samba's Andrew Tridgell has released an open source tool for reading BitKeeper repositories called SourcePuller.

Two weeks ago we reported on the rift between Larry McVoy, who wrote a closed source tool Linus Torvalds himself had begun depending upon, and the open source community.

Today the "other shoe" dropped on that story with word that Samba's Andrew Tridgell has released an open source tool for reading BitKeeper repositories called SourcePuller.

Torvalds has expressed more than mild irritation with Tridgell's efforts, which include using Telnet on Port 5000 to get at BitKeeper's help files. I can understand and sympathize with Linus' point. Losing BitKeeper and waiting for an open source replacement will be a major inconvenience, slowing open source development at a particularly exciting time. Of course, I can also understand Tridgell's point. Open source dependence on closed source tools looks bad.

Since Tridgell himself recently became the second fellow at OSDL, alongside Torvalds, there is now great snarkiness among the press. It's not Britney vs. Christina snarkiness, but for a dispute among software developers it will do.

Personally I'm low on snark today. (And by the way, can someone tell me when the word snark jumped out of the hacker underground and into mainstream usage? Or is it just a fad-word, to be dumped as soon as some reporter jumps the snark?)

I'm more interested in how developers are digesting and dealing with all this. BitKeeper seems to be an excellent, albeit proprietary tool. SourcePuller is not a replacement, but it could be used as part of a transition to open source. Will you be participating in that transition? Is that transition good and necessary?  Or is it more ethical to stand by the closed source tool's efforts to prevent open source competition from emerging?

Let me know what you think on TalkBack.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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