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Bitkeeper News Redux

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the salt-lake-city-rocks dept.

Software 278

gosand writes "Newsforge is running Part 1 of a two-part interview with Bitkeeper author Larry McVoy. You may recall that there was quite an uproar in the community over Linus choosing to use a proprietary source management tool. Although there are no hard numbers, the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK."

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Pretty impressive productivity increase (5, Insightful)

mindless4210 (768563) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119192)

What we did to arrive at that number was to simply measure the amount of change over the two-year period in BitKeeper and contrast that with the two-year period before BitKeeper. It worked out to about 2.5x more change.

I'm no mathematician but I'd say that's a decent way of estimating their productivity increase. But does BitKeeper actually help that much? Anyone who has every used it in a production environment please comment.

Linus is processing around 50 patches a day, 365 days a year.

That's a pretty incredible number. If that's the truth, then I'm very impressed.

is there more than bk involved??? (3, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119234)

There are other things to think about for terms of productivity. Like, how much time per day is he putting into it? How much faster is his setup to allow him to apply patches? Are the patches more/less/equaly in size to the ones from years ago when Linux was getting off the ground.

Re:is there more than bk involved??? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119254)

Yes, methamphetamine.

Re:is there more than bk involved??? (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119528)

I agree. There could be confounding factors, but the people who came up with the number are all pretty smart and if Linus says the tool helps, then probably the tool helps. Maybe the numbers aren't exact or even all that useful. All I can say is: I wouldn't want to use CVS for this task either, and if you've looked at the other revision control systems out there, it's a pretty sorry landscape. I've never looked at BK myself, because of the license... which to me says: how much do we have to pay McVoy to open source this thing? He's giving so much away for free as-is, we really ought to consider bribing him into making it Free Software. :)

Pretty impressive productivity increase-Methods (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119246)

There's only one small problem with measuring things that way. Things basically are more complicated during the second-two years, therby generating more work. So how much is Bitkeepers doing, and how much is simply more work comming in?

Although there are no hard numbers (4, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119316)

I'm no mathematician but I'd say that's a decent way of estimating their productivity increase.

Actually, it's meaningless without looking at other factors. Even the concept of more change is so open ended it tells us nothing. As Linux gains users it will certainly increase in these numbers, there is no strong indication that bitkeeper is a factor at all, or how much of a factor it is.

Although there are no hard numbers, the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK.

Following the statement that there are no hard numbers , the ten percent figure seems more like a number pulled out of thin air and selected to not be large enough to be called outrageous but big enough to encourage people to make a change. That's not to say we are not talking about a good tool here (I have no opnion on that issue), but this is much more hype than a valid study.

10x - I misread it as 10%! (2, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119405)

With no hard numbers the 10x number is absurd. I misread it as 10%, and even that number seemed hard to justify since all factors were not considered. 10x is an outrageous claim, and would imply that Linus previously spent almost all his time not doing programming.

Re:10x - I misread it as 10%! (1)

jjhlk (678725) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119454)

Maybe 10x was some hyperbole?

Re:Although there are no hard numbers (4, Insightful)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119623)

I guess it all boils down to what Linus thinks. If he feel's it's better, and helpes increase his production, then that's all that matters. Something as complex as this will prove very difficult to make hard numbers with because of the large number of uncontrolable variables.

Re:Pretty impressive productivity increase (1)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119333)

Linus is processing around 50 patches a day, 365 days a year.

Bullshit. The guy never gets out to take a walk, or go for a drive in that yeallow sports car of his or, heaven forbid, take his kids to the fucking zoo for the day.

Yeah, he just sits there, 365, 24x7, turning out patches.

Please.

Re:Pretty impressive productivity increase (2, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119532)

He doesn't make them, he reviews them. I'm no expert, but I'd guess he gives them a quick look over for obvious breakage and other no-nos.

Re:Pretty impressive productivity increase (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119449)

Depends. Did the move to BK come before or after IBM jumped in and started donating huge amounts of code to the kernel, companies started pumping out device drivers, and Linux became a well-known name in IT circles?

I'd be willing to bet that KDE and Gnome have accelerated a lot since Linux moved to BK, but I don't think that anyone would assert that BitKeeper should get the credit.

In short, that move happened at a fixed point in time when a whole lot of other interesting things were starting to happen. Was BK causative or correlative? I'd put money on the latter.

Success due to Bitkeeper? (4, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119468)

There has been a noticable improvement in the 2.5-2.6 cycle compared to 2.3-2.4. Linus and the team has done a super job. Bitkeeper gets a lot of credit for it. I can't help but wonder if similar results would not have been achieved with CVS, Subversion, or arch. Are there any features Bitkeeper has that the free alternatives do not?

The GCC project is of comparable complexity to Linux. They use CVS with some success, don't they?

Re:Success due to Bitkeeper? (4, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119541)

I can't help but wonder if similar results would not have been achieved with CVS, Subversion, or arch. Are there any features Bitkeeper has that the free alternatives do not?

BitKeeper has distributed revision control and history-sensitive merge support. Of the alternatives you mention, Arch is the only one which is comparable.

The GCC project is of comparable complexity to Linux. They use CVS with some success, don't they?

Some, largely because they have a great deal of process set up around beating CVS into submission. It's much more work and dicipline than most teams are willing to go through, though.

Re:Pretty impressive productivity increase (4, Funny)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119472)

  1. Linus is processing around 50 patches a day, 365 days a year.

Active cooling, a dedicated fan, a big heat sink, and he should get up to 60-75 patches a day. No need to wait a year or two for Moore's law -- these changes can happen today!

Re:Pretty impressive productivity increase (4, Funny)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119601)

Ever strap a large heat-sink to your forehead? This may sound silly, but it DOES feel really cool! Try it!

Of course, people might think you're odd if you're walking around on a hot day with a HSF going full blast on your forehead, but hey, it could be the new geek trend in hot climates!

FOREHEAD HEAT SINKS!

-Z

Productivity (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119205)

Although there are no hard numbers, the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK.

And I'm 1000x more productive with CVS!

Instead of pulling numbers out of the air, just say the guy likes the tool and performs better with it. Sheesh.

Re:Productivity (1, Flamebait)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119264)

Boy, you don't know the first thing about marketing, do you?

Re:Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119465)

Lighten up moderators...it was a joke for crying out loud.

Re:Productivity (5, Informative)

dresgarcia (251585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119288)

"Here's how that announcement came about. I asked someone we were considering hiring why he wanted to come work for us. His response was, "I hang out on the kernel list and it is obvious that Linus is ten times more effective since he switched to BitKeeper." That sounded pretty nice, but I didn't believe it. I knew things were better, but ten times better? That sounded a little too good to be true."

Did you bother to read the article before posting? They say the real number is closer to 2.5x.
Sheesh.

Re:Productivity (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119318)

Did you bother to read the article before posting? They say the real number is closer to 2.5x.
Sheesh.


Then why didn't the article poster say that instead? Sheesh. ;-)

Re:Productivity (1)

Ravensfire (209905) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119437)

Accuracy? From an article submitter?

lol - what next, you want the editors to make sure there isn't a dupe already out there?

-- Ravensfire

Re:Productivity (1)

Bronz (429622) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119300)

Isn't that what they just said? Is it really different to say "Linus is 10x" as opposed to saying "Linus is a whole lot more" productive?

Re:Productivity (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119304)


I'm 10x more productive when I don't read /. at work.

Anything else than free software is not kosher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119336)

Indeed.

So why the big uproar back when Linus began to use BK? Because it was just not "kosher" to use anything else than GNU tools.

Just like the war-against-drugs bigots who cannot accept that fact someone who's a succesful professional can still smoke a joint now and then (a Finnish MP just ruined her career by admitting that she smoked pot a year ago), the free software crowd bigots feel that the reality must be made to fit the theory instead. There must not be better, more productive software than free software.

Re:Productivity (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119345)

I agree with you 100%...it's about the right tool for the job and the tool the user works better with...to some photoshop is better and to some gimp is better...not about making a big deal about something being not free but suits the needs better.

Re:Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119590)

I agree with you 100%...it's about the right tool for the job and the tool the user works better with...

Exactly. That's why so many people choose Windows. :)

Amazing how philosophical and noncommittal the FOSS community gets when a commercial app is shown to be immensely better than FOSS alternatives from an unquestionable source like Linus.

earlpost (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119213)

cvs/wincvs suck

rit is dumb

10x... riiiight... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119217)

In one day Linus can hammer out the code that used to take him 2 work weeks? Give me a break.

Re:10x... riiiight... (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119289)

probably not, but maybe in the absence of BK, he would never get to the actual *writing* of code.

Re:10x... riiiight... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119302)

Linus doesn't hammer out code; he merges code that other people wrote.

Re:10x... riiiight... (1)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119423)

Bull. Linus is still very active in the actual coding. Look through the patches and see how many have him listed as the author.

Re:10x... riiiight... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119323)

actually, i heard Linus has been hooked on crack cocaine for quite some time now. When I saw him at a the Blue Zebra strip club in Las Vegas a few months ago, he got kicked out for trying to choke some big-titted black girl to death for tipping over his bottle of Cristal during a lapdance.

Re:10x... riiiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119348)

Who the hell modded this insightful? Making a successful build of a software project isn't simply about proper coding... it's about successfully merging the changes made by EVERYONE working on it at the same time.

Productivity? (-1, Offtopic)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119219)

Productivity? Who cares about that? It's all about the open source!

That and the music.

I think Linus needs a flame war again based on his heresy.

Re:Productivity? (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119241)

I think you will find that productivity has increase d due to open source, the big companies know that they can be beaten by free software now

You know... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119221)

Hitler used Bitkeeper.

Re:You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119650)

Nuh-uh. No he didn't!

The right tool for the job (3, Insightful)

beatleadam (102396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119224)

...You may recall that there was quite an uproar in the community over Linus choosing to use a proprietary source management tool. Although there are no hard numbers, the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK...

No interest whatsoever in being a flamebait here so...

Though no hard numbers exist and this is largely speculative all around, one would have to applaud Linus for using any tool that is making him 10x more productive.

Re:The right tool for the job (1)

BK425 (461939) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119255)

Since I stopped holding my breath my productivity is up far more then that... isn't it possible that other factors should be considered here?

Re:The right tool for the job (1)

beatleadam (102396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119390)

Since I stopped holding my breath my productivity is up far more then that... isn't it possible that other factors should be considered here?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt "Yes"...nay...Hell Yes!

I was merely stating that sometimes a certain tool or application, regardless of its origin (i.e. Open Source or "Other") has to be considered on its individual merits and what it can do for you as a whole. Frankly, I am was more than a little suprised to hear that Linus was using a non OS tool.

BitKep'R (3, Interesting)

Leffe (686621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119238)

"BitKeeper has made me more than twice as productive, and its fundamentally distributed nature allows me to work the way I prefer to work - with many different groups working independently, yet allowing for easy merging between them." -- Linus Torvalds, February 2004

Interesting... and BTW, is BK just another SCM(is that the right acronym ;)?) or what?

If it is, I'm using Subversion, and it's nice ^^

Re:BitKep'R (5, Informative)

Benabik (31932) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119313)

BK uses a more distributed development model instead of having one central server, which allows people to maintain their own version controlled source tree from which Linus (or anyone) can pull patches from. This is more like Arch [gnuarch.org] or SVK [elixus.org] than CVS or Subversion. Although in the end it performs a similar function, the difference is fairly significant.

Re:BitKep'R (1)

Leffe (686621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119340)

Thanks, this diagram [clkao.org] explains everything!

Re:BitKep'R (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119467)

Mmm. There's a better one; see here [verbum.org] for a presentation by Colin Walters (a Red Hat employee) on GNU Arch.

Incidentally, Arch is where SVK got its star-merge algorithm.

Re:BitKep'R (1)

DARKFORCE123 (525408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119357)

SCM is a lot more than just a tool to store and maintain different versions of file elements.

Anyone one trying to say using CVS you can be as productive as someone using Bitkeeper or Clearcase has to be joking.

I hope that free software does come out that is just as good but it just isn't there yet.

Re:BitKep'R (3, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119362)

Subversion is a CVS replacement. It is not and will never be as powerful as Bitkeeper. It does its job as a CVS replacememnt well.

The only Free SCM that can be compared with Bitkeeper is Arch [srparish.net] . Arch should be able to replace Bitkeeper in the future if not already (it's been a while since I used Arch). It is Free Software and part of the GNU Project now too.

Re:BitKep'R (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119422)

or darcs or monotone....

Re:BitKep'R (3, Informative)

trance9 (10504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119481)


Arch is not the only one, monotone [venge.net] is another, cleaner tool.

Re:BitKep'R (3, Informative)

casret (64258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119586)

Yeah, it's the correct acronym, (Software Configuration Management (I don't get it either)).

I've used a bunch of them over the years, it's a bit of a hobby for me. I won't try to do a comparison of them all, there's one

here. But I'll give some general impressions. BK is definetely the best of the bunch so far. The distributed nature, the solid tools around it, the don't lose any piece of change data philosophy.

I've been on an Arch kick though, it follows the same principles, distributed repositories and all that, but there aren't as many tools around for it quite yet, but I think it's building a community around it. There are some idiosynchrocies that bug me though.

Still haven't gotten around to playing with Subversion, it just didn't seem ambitious enough for me to bother with.

Perforce and CVS are the other ones I have the most experience with. They are pretty typical for a client-server type model of SCM, with Perforce being well supported on the commercial end. That external database gets large and slow though if your tree gets too big.

I don't see (4, Insightful)

Power Everywhere (778645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119256)

Why there was an uproar over this. Who cares if it's Free or not? It gets the job done better, and in the end that's what counts. The flame wars all over LKML and other places were just wastes of time.

Re:I don't see (4, Informative)

WanderingGhost (535445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119309)

Who cares if it's Free or not?

I usually don't, butif you read the BK license, you will notice that it disallows you to work on competitors (including CVS and subversion) if you are a BK user. I think at least one of the subversion developers (who also contributes to the Linux Kernel) is not allowed to send Kernel patched using BK because of that (he sends them via email).

Re:I don't see (2, Interesting)

gevmage (213603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119400)

You know, I don't think that can possibly be an enforcable license provision. That would be like M$ trying to control what sorts of papers people could and couldn't write with Word.

Re:I don't see (3, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119546)

or like MS not allowing developers to write a MS Access competitor or other competing software using Visual Studio?

i) your Licensed Product shall not substantially duplicate the capabilities of Microsoft Access or, in the reasonable opinion of Microsoft, compete with same;

MS Scaremongering? (2, Interesting)

blorg (726186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119634)

*I may be wrong*, but I presume that is to prevent people from producing pass-through programs that use Access as a component and just duplicate Access functionality. As a Studio developer (Enterprise edition only, IIRC?) you can use Access as a component in your compiled software without the end-user having to buy an Access licence. So this is to prevent someone packaging up the Access engine in such a product as a new piece of database software, not preventing you from writing a new database from scratch using Visual Studio.

Re:I don't see (3, Informative)

pqdave (470411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119452)

IIRC, the "not for BK competitor" is for the free version, the paid version has no such restrictions.

Re:I don't see (1)

Icculus (33027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119584)

IIRC, the license you speak of is only for the free (beer) version for the LK devs. If you pay for a license those restrictions are absent. I think Larry's reasoning was that if he was giving it away he didn't want to give it to someone trying to take his market and dollas away.

Re:I don't see (5, Informative)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119391)

It gets the job done better, and in the end that's what counts

I've used many peices of software that have gotten "the job done better."

And, I've been burned too many times to count when the company that makes the software changes focus or goes out of business.

Free Software, for me, is great insulation from forced migrations, "upgrades" and unsupported software.

Countless times, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119632)

And, I've been burned too many times to count when the company that makes the software changes focus or goes out of business.

Please, detail these closed-source disasters for us. They were working and all of a sudden one day, the software you had paid for quit working? Like when they went out of business, or changed focus? They used a remote-control device in the software to make it stop working?

I keep hearing these justifications for why OSS is allegedly better, but I've yet to see any evidence that this situation has ever actually happened.

Since there were "too many times to count," how about just a few? Did you learn from these experiences, or did you just keep repeating them with shoddy companies? Have you gotten better at picking vendors whose software doesn't self-destruct when they go out of business, or change focus?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Re:I don't see (1)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119434)

I care.

Suppose you current tool doesn't do what you want. You can simply check the sources to see why I isn't working correctly and you can even patch it.

Now, with a closed tool (even if it's free), you have to contact the developers and wait for a new release.

As I have a good "tracking problem sense", I will always use an open source tool over a closed one. I don't care if the closed one is better or not, I just want to feel safe when the troubles arise.

Re:I don't see (1)

Power Everywhere (778645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119469)

Obviously Linus and company aren't having such "need to see the source to fix bugs" problems if they're 10x more productive. Your point also kind of collapses when you look at the fact as the previous tool, that they got 10x less work done with, was Free.

I don't see-Freedom hurts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119462)

"Who cares if it's Free or not? It gets the job done better, and in the end that's what counts."

Is it? Is it really? Are we really that selfish a species, that if we get immediate gratification it's all good? We've seen this with the Nvidia drivers. We've seen this with Debian and Red hat decisions. And now we seen this with BK. Would anyone care to point out why exactly we all embarked on this journey and elected to put it under of all things a FREE license? Obviously this whole FREE thing isn't important, if we're going to so casually discard it when things get difficult.

Re:I don't see-Freedom hurts. (1)

Power Everywhere (778645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119498)

What's more important? The journey or the destination? Philosophically, the journey. But in the world of making money, the destination is the focus. We need working products. Your principles will go out the door each and every time in favor of greenbacks.

Don't just trash it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119257)

Instead of just trashing it, rewrite and open source it, but with improvements! Right?!?

Lesson to be learned (5, Insightful)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119268)

The lesson to be learned here is very simple...
Open source and propriety software can and should be used hand in hand. The best tool for the job etc. etc. The OSS scene suffers from the idea they are members of some religion and by using anything other then Open Source they are committing a crime against the movement.

Re:Lesson to be learned (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119572)

  1. The OSS scene suffers from the idea they are members of some religion and by using anything other then Open Source they are committing a crime against the movement.

While I agree this is the case, OSS is often seen as 'freeware' by most people. This in itself is dammaging far beyond the rants of a few OSS advocates.

(For the record: I'm using Linux 2.6.5 with NVidia's video drivers, have paid for Transgaming's WineX, Crossover Plugin and Office, VMWare, numerous native and ported Linux programs,. At the same time I don't have Windows running (dual boot or not) and only use VMWare for testing or running other instances of Linux or BSD.)

Re:Lesson to be learned (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119580)

Not if you fall into the RMS crowd.
Which believes proprietary software is immoral pure and simple.

It seems OSS falls into two groups: pragmatic and idealogical.

And as time moves along the differences between the two grow larger.

Re:Lesson to be learned (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119600)

No, the BitKeeper license is evil. Go read it sometime -- it prevents folks from working on competing systems. This means that folks working on Free revision control (like me!) are substantially hampered if we want to also do some work on the Linux kernel.

Larry has also been known to change license terms specifically to force a particular user to upgrade to a more expensive license -- I was an employee at a Linux startup (MontaVista Software) when it happened to us. He's been known to spread FUD about Arch in public, and is otherwise not a very nice person to have as a competitor *or* a supplier.

Particularly given that Free alternatives [gnuarch.org] to BitKeeper with history-sensitive merging and distributed repository support (the two features that make BitKeeper so powerful) are available, using BitKeeper is arguably much more destructive than it is useful.

Re:Lesson to be learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119612)

see www.faifzilla.org - and yes, you're right.

numbers... (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119274)

Although there are no hard numbers, the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK.

No, it's that *everyone* was just 10x more productive after everyone stopped arguing about the whole matter.

just kidding. If BK really helps the kernel dev's, all power to them. I havn't looked at the BK website in a year or so, but one thing I think i didn't like was having to connect to the internet every couple of days if using the unregistered version. while I understand the concept, it's just a bit unsettling. it's nothing in comparison to "yearly subscriptions" for software, as seems to be the current trend for other softwares.

but that's neither here nor there. new evils do not make old evils any less evil, to be a bit extreme.

i currently have no need for BK. i'm done rambling now... mod me sideways!

Other products in the line (5, Funny)

galonso (705202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119277)

BitKeeper is a fine product. Check out the other fine products in the same product line:

*BitCreeper debugging tool
*BitSleeper archiving tool
*BitDeeper anti-anti-enhancement spam tool
*BitPeeper anti-anti-porn tool


Re:Other products in the line (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119445)

And ByteKeeper, which increases productivity 8x

Re:Other products in the line (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119540)

I think your sig malfunctioned.

arch? (3, Interesting)

dash2 (155223) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119286)

The arch people have been making a lot of noise recently, and I've seen more projects using it. Does arch aim to provide the features that BK has currently? How close are they? Has anyone got any experiences to share?

Re:arch? (5, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119529)

I haven't used BitKeeper (I can't as I have done a couple of trivial bugfixes in arch, duh), but arch works pretty well for me. It could be a bit faster, but I like its transparent design and responsive and friendly community.

The fact that it's actually used outside of one project/domain (unlike BitKeeper) also helps as there's a wider pool of experience to tap into.

Having said that, while it's maturing fast it still has an evil UI (no Tom wrappers are NOT an acceptable solution for that), and lacks some important features like being able to turn a changeset into a flat text file and then email it in one command. If you're willing to do some scripting arch is the most powerful SCM I've ever seen, but it could always be better.

Finally it's a bit misleading to say that it was BitKeeper that made Linus 10x more productive. Before BK they didn't use any source control at all, and all patches were sent either in private email or onto lkml. It's not surprising that using source control improved things!

For comparison, Alexandre Julliard who maintains Wine processes approximately 100 checkins a week, so that's about 14 a day. We use CVS with a single committer. Given that Alexandre actually codes a lot as well, I think it's pretty clear that Linus' "productivity boost" more to do with being able to work full time and having a decent project structure (we all send patches to a dedicated mailing list for instance and we don't have a ton of "lietenant" trees) than anything magical about BitKeeper.

Its sounds like the right decision (3, Interesting)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119287)

Sometimes the correct decision is to make a decision and stick with it. I hate it when people go back and forth, and can't really nail down what they want to do. I admire that Linus made the decision, stuck with it despite outside pressure, and has proven to at least be much more productive than he was before. Linux has come a long way both technically and work-flow-wise in the last couple of years. It sounds like BK is doing a good job, even if it isn't FOSS.

Re:Its sounds like the right decision (1)

cwis42 (563232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119441)

I hate it when people go back and forth, and can't really nail down what they want to do.

DON'T CLICK HERE. [mozilla.org]

New unit of measurement? (2, Insightful)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119296)

"...the estimates are that Linus has been 10x more productive with BK." Does that mean we have a new unit of measurement for benchmarking?

Re:New unit of measurement? (3, Funny)

phurley (65499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119363)

I hope not, because I don't want my boss coming to me to say you are only working at 0.1 Linus and you need to have at least 1.0 Linus to get a bonus.

50 patches a day - that is amazing.

Re:New unit of measurement? (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119364)

Something along the lines of:

"Program X parses 23.5 Libraries of congress per fortnight, a 1.32 Linus Productivity increase over Program Y"

Re:New unit of measurement? (1)

kpansky (577361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119570)

Yes. I believe its called LinPack. :-)

Ninnle User! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119306)

He uses Ninnle Linux, don'tcha know.

Why is it so productive (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119339)

I have evaluated bitkeeper and it is an ok in terms of configuration management. Most of you are probably not familiar with SCM but what it does is allow you to have branches and multiple configurations at the same time with no threat of destroying other work. Most good tools allow you to visually see structures of files with visual branching history. CVS is a good file management tool but doesn't handle the SCM side very well (Linus mentioned in the article refusing to use CVS). I have used various SCM tools most are very good and if you don't complain but try to understand the process, you'll find yourself 10x more productive (I said I was 10x more productive but no one believed me) - I'm just finally glade someone can actually measure the success of a good SCM product and people may believe others when they say that a good SCM tool will make them much more productive; instead of looking like a dog when you blow a high pitch whistle.

Bitkeeper is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119346)

I like Bitkeeper. It is the best. I think that everyone should use Bitkeeper.

What is the "natural" growth rate? (1)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119353)

What would be interesting is the volume per year since 1993, so that we could see if the growth rate has changed since BK. If I remember well, the volume has always increased a lot.

--
Go Debian!

support monotone (4, Interesting)

trance9 (10504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119381)

The monotone [venge.net] project needs developers to create a free software tool solving the same problem. We really do need good tools that are free.

Sanity check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119415)

The only way Linus could be ten times more product on account of Bitkeeper is if he spent NINE TIMES as much time fighting with tar and patch as he did reviewing code.

Maybe not so great? (2, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119439)

We derive benefit from the pro bono work in other ways as well. When we are testing out a new release we can put it on bkbits.net and we know in seconds if we have broken something important; people use old versions of BK to talk to bkbits.net every few seconds.

Perhaps having the repository where Linux and other projects are hosted being broken to older clients now and then is a bad thing for a community (though the bk people obviously see it as positive for them - free testing). I understand they're providing everything for free, but perhaps Linux might be better off on a community-supported service (still running Bitkeeper) that is concerned a bit more production status?

I'm not intimately familiar with this, so it's just my two cents, feel free to argue.

10x more productive my ass. (1)

Eminor (455350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119440)

If it is true that bitkeeper makes him ten times more productive, then he must have spent more 90% of his time in the tool he used previously (was it RCS?).

Emphasis on 2x, NOT 10x (5, Insightful)

skink1100 (259238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119444)

Folks -- the 10x productivity number mentioned in the article was only an anecdotal claim; Larry McVoy claimed 2x. And the latter number is backed up by some pretty fair reasoning. I RTFA and didn't get the impression anyone was pulling numbers out of their ass.

S

Re:Emphasis on 2x, NOT 10x (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119494)

the 10x productivity number mentioned in the article was only an anecdotal claim; Larry McVoy claimed 2x
You fool, it's binary

Distributed revision control is Good Stuff(tm) (2, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119447)

That's not to say that BitKeeper is the only way to get that effect, however. GNU Arch [gnuarch.org] is another distributed revision control system, and Free Software to boot.

"BitKeeper makes Linus 10x more productive" might be generalizable to "distributed revision control makes Linus 10x more productive" -- pity we don't have more sample data yet. :)

Since when did Linus... (5, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119466)

...need to justify himself to the Slashdot crowd?

Unlike a lot of you, Linus isn't a Linux zealot. He's said on more than one occasion that Linux/OSS is about making the right tool for the job when one doesn't already exist. It has nothing to do with shoving an ideology down everyone's throat.

In this case, Linus decided that Bitkeeper was the best tool for the job, and it is very telling that people are judging him for not complying with an almost religious ideology that he doesn't even subscribe to.

And for the rest of us.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9119475)

And for the rest of us who enjoy using free software, there's the Subversion [tigris.org] (also known as SVN) revision control system.

The article makes some moot points comparing BitKeeper to CVS - since I'm fairly sure anybody who's tried SVN would never want to go back to CVS. I now recoil in disgust whenever I have to access a CVS database - SVN's implementation solves problems in a much cleaner way than CVS and has far fewer rough edges.

10X More? Must be in Metric. (1)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119492)

That's only 6.3X more productive in Imperial Productivity Units.

Re:10X More? Must be in Metric. (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119596)

Yeah, but what about Canadian units?

Yes 2.5x better than nothing (4, Insightful)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119502)

IIRC he was not using any SCM at all so yes using one in gneral will help. CVS for me was able to get my team about 10x better (but then again I did most of the work anyways and this was for class).
But anything not using a SCM will be helped by using one.

Subversion Anyone? (2, Interesting)

cornice (9801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119547)

I remember a discussion about this a while back and a number of people saying that Subversion should be used but isn't yet ready. I'm certainly ignorant of the nuances of version control systems. Does anyone have an update on how Subversion compares to Bitkeeper especially as it might handle kernel development?

Testing Expertise (4, Insightful)

barryfandango (627554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119565)

"When we are testing out a new release we can put it on bkbits.net and we know in seconds if we have broken something important; people use old versions of BK to talk to bkbits.net every few seconds."

I'm sure they're experts in code management, but their testing procedures could use some work.

Re:Testing Expertise (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119622)

Perhaps the folks that run Slashdot could offer some advice on this topic.
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