Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bruce Perens Tells Linus Torvalds To Cool It

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the back-to-your-corners dept.

Software 825

Eh-Wire writes "Bruce Perens has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Andrew Trigdell's attempt to 'reverse engineer' the proprietary Bitkeeper code management software of Larry McVoy and the ensuing fallout with Linus Torvalds. Not only does he tell Linus Trovalds to 'Cool it!' he also suggests, 'Larry sees conspiracies that don't exist.' Sounds like Bruce is a bit worked up about this."

cancel ×

825 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

An insightful first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253407)

Just checking to see if you guys read more than the subject line....

Well.. (3, Funny)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253408)

Just because Larry's paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get him.

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253413)

Just because Larry's paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get him.

Is everyone out to get him? Naw, it's just us.

The Register (0, Flamebait)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253411)

After TheRegister made up Linus' previous quotes [slashdot.org] , I'm not sure how am I going to read quotes like "There are times when Linus Torvalds can be a real idiot, and this is one of these times".

Re:The Register (4, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253427)

They made up a quote, but they also said right afterwards that it was, in fact, not real, so while it's debatable whether that really is good journalistic style, they did not attempt to actually mislead people, and there is no reason to assume that they're doing so now, either.

Re:The Register (1)

oreaq (817314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253432)

After TheRegister made up Linus' previous quotes,
from the fine link: "The article offers the quote and then continues: 'Actually he didn't - we just made that quote up. But what Torvalds really did say this weekend is only slightly less bizarre.'" I can't see how this affects The Register's credibility.

They clearly stated that the quote was made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253437)

The only problem was our beloved /. editors not being able to RTFA.

So to in anyway use this to dismiss theregister or discredit it is simply not justified.

Generally speaking (0, Flamebait)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253441)

... the Register doesn't need any help being discredited.

Re:The Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253451)

They didn't make up a quote, it was just a way of making a point in the article that was fully disclosed for what it was (for those who actually reads articles it was no way it could be misunderstood, but the Slashdot poster and editors managed anyway when this first was referenced on Slashdot)

Re:The Register (5, Insightful)

khuber (5664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253465)

After TheRegister made up Linus' previous quotes,

If you actually read the article [theregister.co.uk] you can see that the sentence Actually he didn't - we just made that quote up. immediately follows the "made up" quotes. It was a joke to make a point by analogy to reverse engineering Microsoft file formats.

In the Bruce Perens article, he makes another analogy -- to the work Trigdell did reverse engineering the SMB protocol. Both articles are pointing out this weird blind spot Linus seems to have in accepting something that is generally supported by the community and completely legal: reverse engineering proprietary protocols is a good thing which frees the open source community from vendor lock in.

Re:The Register (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253466)

If I write an article using the comparison "this is like the Pope saying 'I don't believe in god'" - only Slashdot would get "The pope don't believe in god" out of this :)

Trovalds (0, Offtopic)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253412)

Google it - google knows whats up.

Did you mean: torvalds?

Re:Trovalds (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253420)

Damn noobs can't even spell Linux Torvalds!

TROLLvalds.... (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253459)

Damn trolls making everyone spell incorrectly.

Trigdell (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253533)

Wow, same trick works for "trigdell". Google is amazing. Of course, since I just misspelled McVoy in another post, I guess I shouldn't be casting stones. :)

Linus / BM shares? (4, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253415)

After having followed all this (and especially Linus' attacks on Tridge, which, as Bruce points out, are entirely unjustifed), I'm really wondering about one thing - just how many BitMover shares does Linus own? ^_~

Re:Linus / BM shares? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253454)

I don't think that I would ever invest in anything named BM.

Re:Linus / BM shares? (1, Interesting)

Dtyst (790737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253456)

I think it's more about Linus being a nice guy, Bitkeeper and Larry has done alot (supported both in money & time) for Linux during these 3 years and even if people have the right to reverse-engineer the software it's bad for linuxs, and now finally leading to the fact that Linux developers can't use bitkeeper for free anymore, so i thnk lLÖinus attack on Tridge has some justification behind it...

Re:Linus / BM shares? (1)

Narchie Troll (581273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253476)

Linus is attacking someone because he's a nice guy? Did you even consider the logic of that statement?

He's being a prick, and there's no way around it.

Re:Linus / BM shares? (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253550)

This thinking I find funny. Lets say that Microsoft gave a free product, and then later charged money. There would be hell to raise, including statements like, "See I told you the evil borg had a hidden agenda".

Well, bitkeeper did a bait and switch with the Linux kernel and that is NOT funny! Bitkeeper should have known this and not made the offer in the first place, and Linus should not have accepted the offer!

In this one situation Linus and Bitkeeper screwed up, and made a bad decision that impacts something that many many people rely on!

Re:Linus / BM shares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253579)

This is so true. Neither BM or Linus seems to have understood the open source / free software communities regarding this issue.

It's not like you can tell other people what to do and what not, in such a loosely coupled community. Linux isn't a corporations and you can't fire people..

Bad, bad, BAD decisions.

The ONLY way for Linus to save face is to acknowledge he did a mistake. Not attack others for doing what interoperability and computing is all about.

Everybody loves SAMBA. Well, it became that by this very process! It fought hard legal battles to stay alive despite Microsoft trying to kill it. We should protect those rights with whatever means, because the IT-industry will be far poorer without them!

Re:Linus / BM shares? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253457)

Probably none, but Linus and Larry are friends. I think that may be the cause for Linus' behaviour.

Re:Linus / BM shares? (0, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253479)

McVoy "invented" the idea for Linux at Sun, which he called freenix.

He's a bigwig CS type, like McKusic and Allman.

He now sucknix.

Cool. (3, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253416)

Perens vs Torvalds vs RMS vs Gates in death match, Perens lobs a grenade. Will Torvalds respond with a clean headshot ? I can see RMS as the Axe murdering type while Gates just cheats with g0d_m0d3 .

Re:Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253450)

I can see RMS as the Axe murdering type while Gates just cheats with g0d_m0d3 .

IDDQD

MOD PARENT UP !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253509)

+50 FUNNY

Re:Cool. (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253515)

Must make standard slashdot response....

"Gates corner turns blue, Gates dies."

Re:Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253572)

RMS launches HURD and kills linux

Re:Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253573)

Yeah, I'm sure with all of that time spent honing their skills playing "tux racer", Gates would be pwned by those three with only his crappy Halo skills to fall back on.

Cool it? (1)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253421)

Since when does Slashdot believe in mud-slinging? I read about Bruce Perens' comments on the Register earlier today and thought what he was saying was pretty stupid -- or at least the whole thing was stupid. How is this at all pertinent to Open Source?

Re:Cool it? (5, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253440)

Strange question. Linus says (in essence) "reverse engineering the over-the-wire protocol employed by a closed-source application is morally wrong". Bruce says "that's not true, and FWIW, you didn't seem to have a problem when the same thing was done for Samba, either".

How could that NOT be pertinent to FOSS? Open source / free software is not just about writing code; unfortunately, maybe, but that's the way things are, so it's better to deal than to ignore.

Re:Cool it? (1, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253471)

How could that NOT be pertinent to FOSS? Open source / free software is not just about writing code; unfortunately, maybe, but that's the way things are, so it's better to deal than to ignore.

It's not pertinent because it won't further the cause. It's a blind alley. Perens thinks he can dethrone the king of Open Source by slinging mud at him -- perhaps justly -- perhaps not.

Linus is right about his moral statements right now, even if at one point or another in the past he was amoral. Perhaps he's realized what I've known for years, that Open Source does not have to be a reverse-engineered byproduct to be of any value. It can be 100% orginal.

Re:Cool it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253526)

Perens thinks he can dethrone the king of Open Source by slinging mud at him

Linus has done a lot of good and important work. As have lots of others, Andrew as mcuh as anyone. Bruce less so imho but still plenty. But that's all for any of them. There is no "king", nor does there need to be. It sounds like you're pushing Linus into the same "leader" crap that made ESR so absurd.

Re:Cool it? (4, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253559)

You say that as if reverse-engineering is something bad, though. I say the opposite is true - it's a good thing, as it furthers interoperability between different products and prevents vendor lock-in (which, incidentally, is just the stunt that Larry seems to be trying to pull now by claiming that the metadata of projects hosted on BK is somehow copyrighted to BitMover). Maybe you'd argue that being "100% original" is better, but again - welcome to the real world, kid. Interoperability *is* a real concern.

To give an example... has anyone ever sent you something as a Word document instead of (say) a PDF? If yes, then (unless you actually paid for a copy of Word) you probably were quite happy that you could open that Word document with OOo, too, especially if you happened to be running something other than Windows. Would you argue that the OOo developers did something wrong by allowing you to do that?

Why would "morally right" be equivalent to "does not mess with the business model of $company who'd obviously prefer if there was no competition and everyone would be forced to pay for their own products"? That doesn't make sense, at all.

And as for Bruce thinking he can "dethrone" anyone, I doubt that's true, either - but why disagreeing with someone and pointing out flaws in their reasoning would be an attempt at "dethroning" (or "slinging mud", for that matter) is beyond me, too.

Re:Cool it? (5, Insightful)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253563)

that is an intersting interpretation and an intersting point in itself. however a reverse engineered unencumbered client-replacement is either beneficial to all as a stop gap or diverting effort for the FLOSS to roll their own valid and (r)evolutionary replacement.

-- after all, larry apperently made no money from the free linux clients only loss and his money came from the service he provides in his server software. and maybe more people would've adopted BK and paid for it -- who knows.

tha fact of the matter is ; it is about choice. you are free to hack; you are free to choose what you use and what you do with software.
the BK clients did not let you do that.
these conditions not ebing met give rise to a favourable ecosystem for reverse engineering or completely new Free replacements.

i/ restrictive licence on what your 'intent' is.
ii/ you could only use the official BK client
iii/ the free BK client was crippled.

it was a reverse engineer waiting to happen.
however, i would have imagined that larry feared 'one good turn deserves another', is that these wily open source hackers would cobble together an ENTIRE replacement.

but thats not my main point.

inspired by your statement i think i would go one further; linus is upstaging even RMS himself by allowing himself to be martyred on restrictive closed source software. by showing that he is fallible like us, capable of sin. he shows anger, and revenge -- all the dark side of the force.
we see the error of his non free pragmatism and learn how he atoned for all our non-Free sins.
the man is a genius. thank you.
i shall never hear an mp3 again!

maybe he got sick of esr talking about how Free is abstract and only novel but Open Source pragmatism like Linus's is what counts.

whatver it was we are now approachoing a new higher plateau of maturity. lets sieze on it.

on a legal note: i don't like mcevoy; he comes accross as arrogant and ethically unsound.
is it a gross mischaracterisation by the OSS press?
his products, OTOH, should be put under the microscope for any copyright violations. he sounds so paranoid and fervent taht i am sure he is the sinner "methinks the lady doth protest her [innocence]too much".
or the tainted see guilt and shame everywhere.

thanks,

che

Reverse Engineering (1, Insightful)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253497)

There's a difference between reverse-engineering SMB and reverse-engineering Bitkeeper: noone has ever agreed to not reverse-engineer SMB just by running it. This is different from Bitkeeper. Now how does this make a difference here, where Tridgell didn't use the Bitkeeper software? He must have been listening to someone's network traffic, and either he was eavesdropping, or that other person allowed it, and this could be construed as a violation of the Bitkeeper license.

Also, McVoy has claimed that Bitkeeper saw unusual usage patterns or something like that, so maybe Tridgell even tried his software on Bitmover's servers, which to some degree would explain their anger.

Personally, I still believe that what happened is better for the Free Software movement overall. Hopefully, management people get told this story with the right spin, i.e. proprietary software means you have no rights.

Re:Reverse Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253536)

Hopefully, management people get told this story with the right spin, i.e. proprietary software means you have no rights.

Forget the "spin" and concentrate on the facts. Other than that you're close, proprietary software means you have fewer rights.

Re:Reverse Engineering (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253546)

He must have been listening to someone's network traffic, and either he was eavesdropping, or that other person allowed it, and this could be construed as a violation of the Bitkeeper license.

And how do you imagine the samba people reverse engineered SMB? Someone must have been running an SMB share with windows, and all Microsoft licenses include a "You may not reverse engineer" clause.

Re:Reverse Engineering (2, Informative)

Flaming Death (447117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253548)

You dont need to have BitKeepr software to reverse engineer the _data_ - and that _is_ the same as reverse engineering SMB. Since you dont have microsofts source code for the portocol stack, you only have the data. People have been reverse engineering data for as long as there has been computers.. data reverse engineering has occured for millions of software data structures.. from game data mods.. to document recreations.. to graphic data .. and so on.. the only problem here is that Linus believes that Larry owns the data.. he doesnt.. he can only own the source and the binaries derived from that source. If someone manages to make some code that happens to reproduce the same data - TUFF!! Take it on the chin and get the hell over it.

Re:Reverse Engineering (4, Insightful)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253569)

He must have been listening to someone's network traffic, and either he was eavesdropping, or that other person allowed it, and this could be construed as a violation of the Bitkeeper license.

In what reality? Looking at a software package doesn't mean you accept it. Reading a license aggrement doesn't mean you accept it. Listening to or looking at output from a program doesn't mean you agreed to any license terms that program is under.

EULAs haven't even been proven to be enforcable in court. Lets not even forget the fact that reverse engineering for interoperability is expressly protected by even the DMCA.

So again I ask, in what twisted reality could simply listening to the network traffic of some other program be construed as a violation of that programs license when you did not buy, use, copy or modify the software in question?

Re:Reverse Engineering (1)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253622)

Do you disagree that the person causing the network traffic that was being listened to, would be viiolating the license (you may not use Bitkeeper to reverse engineer Bitkeeper) if he allowed this? And would you OTOH not condone Tridgell if he listened to somebody else's network traffic without them knowing?

Re:Reverse Engineering (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253606)

He must have been listening to someone's network traffic, and either he was eavesdropping, or that other person allowed it, and this could be construed as a violation of the Bitkeeper license.

Such a license should never have presedence over the moral rights to reverse-engineer anyways. The whole license should be regarded invalid on these grounds. This whole debacle was just waiting to happen as a certainty the more popular BitKeeper became.

Attempting to treat "Linux" as a corporation, really shows a big misunderstanding of BM and Linus regarding the community. You can't stop it! Even if you think you're "leading" it (Linus is NOT).

It's stupid, plain and simple. But they're just human, like the rest of us. I think everybody need to acknowledge that.

Re:Cool it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253460)

Don't know if this was on /. already earlier, but you need to read the Perens thing in context [theregister.com] .
And then yes, I think Perens has a good point.

Re:Cool it? (4, Insightful)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253482)

It's pertinent because this small fiasco has the ability to radically destabilise kernel development.

Pretty much everybody except Linus is in agreement that Tridge isn't doing anthing untoward, nothing different from the work he did in writing Samba.

Everybody see that Linus is being hypocritical at best, and perhaps a bit nepotistic as well.

That sort of attitude doesn't go over well in the OS community and if he keeps it up then it's going to be a major destabilising influence on kernel developement specifically - this is how unnecessary forks begin.

Re:Cool it? (5, Funny)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253554)

This is just the latest in a string of problems that seem to be caused by Linus. He's not scaleable, and we have no access to his source to fix his bugs. I think it's time we replaced him with an open solution

My understanding... (0, Troll)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253626)

Pretty much everybody except Linus is in agreement that Tridge isn't doing anthing untoward, nothing different from the work he did in writing Samba.

While I agree, there is no "moral" argument to be made here, in fact the situations are different from the perspective of OSS. A more apt analogy could be made to Qt and Trolltech than to Samba.

Bitkeeper exists almost solely to support Linux development. In exchange, Mr. McVoy sells a proprietary version for commercial use in order to support the one he gives away for free for OSS. Having Bitkeeper helps Linux, at the cost of charging for other uses.

Samba, of course, is free to no one. Reverse engineering it helps OSS. It also happens to help everyone else. You could say the situations are the same, but the fact is that Samba won't go away if it's reverse engineered. Bitkeeper very well could. In fact, reverse engineering Samba opened up new opportunities for Linux and OSS. It's doubtful doing the same for Bitkeeper would have the same effect.

If Mr. Tridgell has a personal stake in having a free version of Bitkeeper for commercial use, that's one thing. He should go ahead and reverse it. If, on the other hand, he feels he's helping OSS by reverse engineering Bitkeeper, he's wrong. If I were Larry, I'd do the exact same thing.

oh god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253429)

It's like LJ drama -- Linux Journal

there's a disturbance in the force (1)

techarnate (786687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253434)


would i be out of line if I called out for a preemptive burying of the hatchet?

i know the community is diverse enough to handle it, but do we all want to?

it'd be horrid if something like this created a schism of any sort. seems like it's getting too heated too quickly with this kinda coverage.

not too long before geraldo gets another broken nose the way this is progressing.. haha

Re:there's a disturbance in the force (5, Insightful)

PSargent (188923) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253529)

Well.... I think so, yes.

The fact is that I think this is a fairly important debate.
Was Linus wrong for using a propietry tool for the development of the kernel and essentially forcing all kernel developers to follow him?
Could this situation been forseen?
Is Linus angry with Tridge because it actually shows up his previous bad decision and the only way for him to save face is to badger Tridge?
Is McVoy behaving like a spoilt kid and taking his ball home because somebody didn't want to play his game?

I'm personally with Tridge and Perens all the way on this one (not that anybody will care). Reverse Engineering is legal. McVoy needs to deal with that.

If we get a schism, then so be it. It's an important line to be divided by in the development of a Open Source / Free OS.

Re:there's a disturbance in the force (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253631)

SlashotDot Reviewer PLEASE MODE THIS UP

In the Star War Trilogy,

A child started with good intention, a desire to help bring freedom to all

He was discovered and trained by a Jedi master. Other has doubts, but the child is a product of the force, the master believe, and he stood firm against doubts from others and instructed his student to take care of this child prodigy.

He later engaged in many heroics to salvage the galaxy civilizations and a beautiful queen, which he promptly fell in love.

However, as a master Jedi sensed it, he has a weakness, which will eventually blur his path..

In this coming months,
he will be confused, and eventually be seduced by the emperor's persuasion and fallen to the dark side...

Please watch Star War: The revenge of the Sith

Too harsh. (4, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253443)

"There are times when Linus Torvalds can be a real idiot, and this is one of these times," said Perens.

I'm no kernel developer so I have no clue as to if Linus is "[being] a real idiot". However I do have a goodly bit of management experience and this kind of talk is bad no matter how you slice it.

Saying these kinds of things to the press can only hurt the whole OSS movement as it give all the MS, Sun, et all shills plenty of ammo to use. I can see press release from MS now, "And even Linus' colleagues wonder about his decision making process, going so far as to call them idiotic." Does that statement reflect what was originally intended? Of course not but this is the era of the spin and you can bet that they will use it in whatever way they can.

Total Carp (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253485)

Saying these kinds of things to the press can only hurt the whole OSS movement as it give all the MS

What you are saying is carp. There is no way that rudementary working ethical debate can hurt the OSS movement because it's bigger than any of these players. That's why it's such an advantage over the closed model.

Each of these guys could be pictured in some lewd manner on the Smoking Gun and the whole Open Source movement would still march on!

Re:Too harsh. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253487)

Linus is being a cock.. it might be bad PR to say it, but its true.

Re:Too harsh. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253577)

He isn't being one. He's being rational. It's the stubborn people who are trying reverse engineer something that was free with certin limitations. At least Linus is looking for something to replace BitKeeper.

Re:Too harsh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253523)

Saying these kinds of things to the press can only hurt the whole OSS movement as it give all the MS, Sun, et all shills plenty of ammo to use. I can see press release from MS now, "And even Linus' colleagues wonder about his decision making process, going so far as to call them idiotic." Does that statement reflect what was originally intended? Of course not but this is the era of the spin and you can bet that they will use it in whatever way they can.
It won't help the movement, but what's to stop MS, Sun, et all from saying their disparaging remarks anyway? Does it really matter if they have "real" quotes for this or not? They'll sling mud no matter what, and I feel it's better to get these problems out and fixed, strengthening the OSS movement, rather than sitting on it, worrying about how others will view us, while we tear ourselves apart.

Re:Too harsh. (3, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253544)


However I do have a goodly bit of management experience and this kind of talk is bad no matter how you slice it.

Bruce Perens doesn't work with Linus, and Linus doesn't work with Perens. This isn't a "make everyone feel nice-nice" situation. Anyway, if Linus has such a thin skin he can't stand someone saying he can be a real idiot.. well, that's Linus's problem.

Saying these kinds of things to the press can only hurt the whole OSS movement as it give all the MS, Sun, et all shills plenty of ammo to use. I can see press release from MS now, "And even Linus' colleagues wonder about his decision making process, going so far as to call them idiotic."


Any statement taken out of context can be used against you. In the real world people disagree on things, and that's OK. Pretending otherwise is just lame. Real people with real opinions say things like "that guy can be a real idiot sometimes" and everyone accepts that statement at face value. If you start playing that game of "never say anything bad", you just wind up sounding like a dickless politician. The public at large is pretty stupid, but dickless politicians can be identified by anyone from a few light years away.

Re:Too harsh. (5, Funny)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253589)

I apologize in advance, but I felt like having some fun ;)

Any statement ... can be used against you ... and that's OK. Pretending otherwise is just lame ... and everyone accepts that statement at face value. ... a dickless politician ... is pretty stupid, but dickless politicians can be identified ...

Re:Too harsh. (4, Insightful)

haggar (72771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253583)

You have it all wrong. Criticism of Linus is not ammo for MS (bindacceptance of anything Linus says or does, could).

What MS could and probably WILL use agaisnt the FOSS community, is Linus' criticism of reverse engineering of proprietary protocols. MS can now say "Even Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, condemns reverse engineering of our file formats." They could use Linus' quotes in court, in PR, etc. Linus handed MS a great Christmas present ahead of time.

Re:Too harsh. (4, Insightful)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253607)

However I do have a goodly bit of management experience and this kind of talk is bad no matter how you slice it.

Is that right? Well, I'm with Bruce here all the way. Sometimes you just have to say it like it is. Sure, in many a company this would stay behind closed doors. So, the doors to the board meeting are 'Open' here. Kinda matches the philosophy of the software.

I'm personally very disturbed by Linus's attitude. IMHO closed protocols/file formats are the worse of all. It's the closed formats that provide the horrible lock-in. I personally don't care if Word is closed source or not, what I care about is if Microsoft decides to discontinue Word, or charge $5K for it, I have no alternative. All my damn files are stored in their format.

What's surprising is that Larry McVoy is proving the exact point, and Trigdell was working on making sure he didn't have that kind of power, yet Torvalds choses Larry's side.

You can be as pragmatic as the next guy, but this smells a lot like there's more going on. And so Torvalds needs to cool it.

That's why they call it Open Sores!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253446)

My money is on Linus. The Finnish don't take no crap. The man has been bulking up in anticipation of the bout..

Re:That's why they call it Open Sores!! (4, Funny)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253504)

Tridge verses Linus. It's like Father Christmas verses Jesus...

Re:That's why they call it Open Sores!! (1)

gihan_ripper (785510) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253551)

Damn straight --- but it should be "The Finns don't take no crap." I should know, I share an office with one.

De Raadt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253448)

is linus channelling theo? is say we get the vatican to exorcise him.
or has his brain been infested with openbsd flame parasites?
or we get RMS to debug him.

So... (0, Flamebait)

darkov (261309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253455)

Let me see if I can get this right:

Tridgell, pushing his own agenda, screws up Linus's very happy Bitkeeper deal.

Linus gets upset for this and speaks his mind. Note that Tridgell doesn't complains because he has gotten his way.

Perens calls Linus an idiot for being upset. He calls Larry names for being upset that he is upholding his side of the deal and others aren't.

Someone should tell zealots like Perens that in the real world, people compromise so everyone can be happy. Also that there is nothing wrong with with proprietary or comercial software. If it didn't exist free software would have nothing to 'libarate'.

Re:So... (5, Informative)

Narchie Troll (581273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253469)

1. Tridge reverse-engineers proprietary protocols. That's what he does. Ever heard of Samba?
2. As far as I can tell, Tridge wasn't intent on breaking any deal between Linus and McVoy.
3. Tridge never used BitKeeper's free client, so he did not agree to the license. He can't fail to "uphold his side of the deal", because he never made a deal.

Linus is hypocritically attacking someone for reverse-engineering his friend's protocol, when he does not criticize others for doing the same to other protocols. Tridgell has done some great work, and he deserves better.

Re:So... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253495)

And what about Yloni's original ssh?

Hell, Theo tore the code to pieces, to make an unencumbered version, once the license changed. I sure hope Linus stands up on principle for his fellow Finn! Maybe he'll return to telnet - or buy a commercial SSH...

Re:So... (1)

Stack_13 (619071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253543)

Yloni? You must mean Ylonen [ssh.com] .

Re:So... +5 insightful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253500)

1. Tridge reverse-engineers proprietary protocols. That's what he does. Ever heard of Samba?
2. As far as I can tell, Tridge wasn't intent on breaking any deal between Linus and McVoy.
3. Tridge never used BitKeeper's free client, so he did not agree to the license. He can't fail to "uphold his side of the deal", because he never made a deal.


Mod up! Forget who says what - point 1 to 3 here is right to the point of this case.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253493)

Tridgell, pushing his own agenda, screws up Linus's very happy Bitkeeper deal.

That is total b.s. You are creating a straw man. Many, many, people did not support Linus's ridiculous decision to use Bitkeeper. Trigdell was just doing the same thing he did with Samba - reverse engineering the proprietary protocol of a morally bankrupt company. By reversing BK, the Linux kernel development community would no longer have to be victims. Proprietary protocols and software are counter to the goals of the open source community.

Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253512)

Oh, Christ, talk about FUD...

"Tridgell, pushing his own agenda, screws up Linus's very happy Bitkeeper deal."

Tridgell, in his free time, simply did what he is good at, reverse engineer a proprietary protocol. This is not only legal, it's also generally considered a good thing, especially in the open source community. Perens rightly points to samba as a successful and widley accepted result of reverse engineering.

"Linus gets upset for this and speaks his mind."
And he is free to do so, as are others to call his comments stupid.

"Note that Tridgell doesn't complains because he has gotten his way."
And where did you get the information, that he had an agenda in the first place and that him not saying anything is related to him getting his way and not him following sound legal advice? Oh, there isn't any such information, you just made it up to spread FUD.

"Perens calls Linus an idiot for being upset. He calls Larry names for being upset that he is upholding his side of the deal and others aren't."
Again, Tridgell didn't break any contract and didn't have any kind of deal with Tridgell, so how can you talk about Tridgell breaking a deal with Larry?

"Someone should tell zealots like Perens that in the real world, people compromise so everyone can be happy."
Wow, spreading FUD and than calling others zealots really bolsters your case. Impressive.

"Also that there is nothing wrong with with proprietary or comercial software. If it didn't exist free software would have nothing to 'libarate'."
1. Who said there was something wrong with propietary software? Perens didn't, but thanking for building this nice strawman.
2. What kind of twisted argument is that? So according to you anything bad would in fact be good, as if there was nothing bad, good could not do good. Wow.

Your Paragraphs are in the Wrong Order (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253516)

Someone should tell zealots like Perens... should come first, since otherwise your logic breaks: it's not just a 'very happy' two-way deal when the product is the result of teamwork, where many of those working with you disagree with you.

If you start with stuff about free software zealots, then the will of those involved in the project can be ignored, since they're clearly not reasonable in their opinion, Hell, maybe they should give up on that stupid project of writing a free kernel, since there are perfectly good proprietry alternatives.

Ultimate Nerdorama Fighting Championship (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253462)

Digital insults cut to the heart.

Stoopid nerds.

So McVoy took his ball and went home, some other dude looked at stuff he shouldn't have (allegedly) and Torvalds is a temperamental Swedish Finn.
That's the story.

End Of.

Good points (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253474)

I think Perens is really making sense here. (Not that he always doesn, but this time around he hit the nail on the head.)

Why reverse engineering the smb protocol should be considered a good thing, while reverse engineering the protocol bitkeeper uses is beyond me and though Linus has come out strong against the latter he still didn't explain how he can still consider the former to be a good thing.

And above all, I think Linus is behaving very unfair towards Tridgell, who has done nothing illegal, didn't break any contract, but just did what he has done with other things already, which were always considered to be a good thing. Why doing the very same thing considered good in other circumstances now should lead to Torvalds attacking him is again beyond me.

Trovalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253483)

Honestly....

His name is spelled correctly several times in the same stub.

Apparently the editors don't even read the SUBMISSIONS anymore.

I WANT TO GET PAID TO DO ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOTHING.

Well if Bruce is not happy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253488)

he can initiate a fork on the Linux Kernel.

Oops... maybe problem is, he is not a kernel developer, but more of a politician.

Torvalds takes a quick shot at Slashdot too (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253492)

"I'll respond once just because RWT is not slash-dot." - Linus Torvalds flaming [realworldtech.com] on Real World tech

Actually (4, Funny)

loomis (141922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253502)

The actual statement directed at Linus was that he's got to "cool it now," and that he'd better "watch out" because he's "gonna lose control."

Furthermore, it wasn't Perens who said this. It was actually Bobby Brown. It was also at this point that Whitney Houston told Torvalds that she "believed the children were the future," and that a reversed engineered Bitkeeper would "teach them well and let them lead the way."

Age Old Story... (1)

Paris The Pirate (799954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253507)

First the Penguins, then the arguments came. How many times have we seen this happen? (?)

I'm sure Novell is feeling good right about now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253510)

Just think, the folks over at the Big red OH green SUSE engine staked their company on linux. Not looking too good right now! And the guy who controls the kernel up and gets rid of the coolest source engine control thing from what I read and now is slammed by another OSS person. The closed camp is just smiling. Go Novell, all the way down the tubes!

Re:I'm sure Novell is feeling good right about now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253571)

The closed camp is just smiling.

Like the 'closed camp' don't happily slam one another? Guess you haven't been paying attention.

why do I ever get so angry... (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253517)

...when I read stupid political talk from people who wish to be able to influence not by providing, but by talking down the stars from heavens - well, like most stupid polticians do.

If I have to choose between a man who talks so much, and crap so often that it's far above the statistical mean, I will always take the side of the other guy, who proved his ways so many times with his deeds.

That's the story for me, you choose who's who from above.

Re:why do I ever get so angry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253552)

If I have to choose between a man who talks so much, and crap so often that it's far above the statistical mean, I will always take the side of the other guy, who proved his ways so many times with his deeds.

That's the story for me, you choose who's who from above.


That's easy. The talking comes from Linus, McVoy and to a lesser extent Perens. The guy who isn't yammering on about all this but who has undoubtedly proved his ways many times is Andrew Tridgell.

So you're a Tridge supporter.

Re:why do I ever get so angry... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253557)

Honestly, I have no idea why you do ever get so angry, maybe an anger management course would help you find out and cope with the problem?

Anyway, nobody is disputing the immense input of Linus for OSS (to put it mildly), however that doesn't mean that he always has to be right on anything he says, does it?

On the other hand, while I think your characterization of Bruce Perens is unfair, to say the least, even if you were right this would make his arguments wrong automatically, would it?

So please, take a look at what the issue is here, what the involved parties had to say about it, weigh their arguments and then decide who you agree with and who you don't agree with.

Simply basing your opinion on the issue on personal preference surely isn't the most intelligent thing to do and I'm pretty sure it also constitutes a logical fallacy (I think it amounts to an ad hominem, but I'm not really sure).

I'm with Mr. Perens (4, Insightful)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253519)

My hat's off to Linus for his work and stewardship of the kernel.

That doesn't make this right, however. Linus is unequivocally wrong in creating double standards for the morality of reverse engineering, and I don't think the community is going to forget that.

I'm not vilifying Linus, I'm aying that the guy's human, not the demigod that the slashbot party portrays.

He just cannot be in such a sensitive position and remain "just an engineer".

Perens hardly cool :) (5, Interesting)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253521)

While I basically agree with Bruce completely on this particular issue, there's something a bit ironic about Bruce, who has quite a reputation as a hothead himself, telling the usually unperturbable Mr. Torvalds to "cool it".

Ever since Larry McAvoy pulled kernel dev (and former Debian Project Leader) Ben Collins' license I've been waiting for this thing to blow up. It's been obvious that it was a matter of when, not whether. And it seems pretty obvious to me that Tridge merely provided the excuse Larry has been looking for.

Linus is a smart guy, and I'm sure he'll get over his little snit before long. But in the meantime, my god, being told to cool it by Bruce Perens is like having RMS tell you not to worry so much about whether the software is really free or not! :)

(Not to dis Bruce, who I really like. And, as a person of Irish descent, I understand the temper thing. But still....wow! :)

"Beating" blowhard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253522)

"...Or, if he really wants to be a beating blowhard, he'll do something really stupid and sue, and it won't get him anywhere and it will risk his entire business."

How 'bout bleating blowhard?

Linus has lost the respect of many developers. (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253532)

I used to like Linuse's "just for fun" and "I'm an engineer" attitude. Now I see what lack of ethics and moral code can lead to in ANY field. I say SHAME ON YOU LINUS.

Re:Linus has lost the respect of many developers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253594)

fuck you and your sig

Re:Linus has lost the respect of many developers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253615)

Hey, at least I am not supporting the apartheid government in Middle East.

Re:Linus has lost the respect of many developers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253625)

More like SHAME on Perens and Trigdell. They obviously don't show any respect.

Problem with a Single Person in Charge (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253538)

I always wondered if it was a good idea to have one person be the end all for the kernel. Not to start a flame war here, but FreeBSD seems to take a more community approach in decision-making. The single leader format gives linux a single point of failure. With Linux, Linus is the one guy in charge. If he goes nuts, people don't really have much say (except to fork.)

it can be original (1)

samxiao (757407) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253553)

unlike SMB everyone uses it and the fact is majority of the computers are running on Windows but BitKeeper is not the same case

My Two Cents Worth (5, Insightful)

cranos (592602) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253560)

Okay first things first, everyone should pull their heads in. Linus should give a detailed explanation of how he thinks that reverse engineering is a "Bad Thing", Tridge should break his cone of silence and let the community in on what exactly he was doing, and Larry should get used to the fact that people in the "Open" Source Community are going to want to have a SCM that meets their requirements, both in terms of technical abilities and licensing issues.

I think this is what Bruce was trying to say.

If any of the above mentioned do happen to read this (seriously doubtful I know) this does not imply disrespect for your previous work, just that my seven year old acts like this when he gets pissed off too.

Linus had it coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253566)

Like they said. Over 200 developers are active in kernel development at any time, thousands and thousands of people have contributed code.

I know it's passe' to have convictions and ideals nowadays were only practicality and money matters, but some people do beleive in something.

Many of the developers in the Linux kernel project have devoted their lives to the prospect that software should be Free. Many have based their lives and livelyhoods around it, and have made lots of money off of it.

And here comes Linus telling them that they may not use the programming software of their choice, and in addition to that they have to use crippleware that has other restrictions such as you can't try to understand how it works.

So Linus hands black box software out to Free Software developers, many with deep convictions, and says: "I am basing Linux development around this. You can use it, but don't look otherwise it will be taken away from us."

WTF was he thinking?!!

How the hell is he going to FORCE all the developers to abide by a agreement that they not only dissagree with, but in some cases consider the entire concept of black box software as immoral!

Bitkeeper may have been a good technical choice, but a extremely bad when it comes to reality.

Linus can't tell programmers what they can and cannot do any more then you or I can. Most people listenned to him becuase they gave him benifit of the doubt, but it was something that was going to end badly and it did.

And now Linus is blaming another person for his own personal fuck-up and Perens is calling him out on it.

This shit happens. It's happenned before with Linux, were Linus made very poor decision on something (SMP support for instance) and people had to force his hand.

This was doomed from the start. Everybody knew it. RMS knew it. The majority of the kernel developers knew it. Perens knew it. I knew it. Linus was just being stubborn.

He made a mistake, it's ok to make mistakes. But it's not ok to get abusive over it.

And don't worry. Linux will move on.

Re:Linus had it coming. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253596)

Bitkeeper may have been a good technical choice, but a extremely bad when it comes to reality.

With "reality" you're surely meaning "ideological purity".

What I really like about Linus, unlike the likes of RMS, Perens and many slashdotters, is that he puts technical facts way ahead of political non-sense when making decisions.

Difference between Samba and Bitkeeper situation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253578)

I don't recall hearing about Microsoft donating free licenses to Linux or Samba developers.

When you continously give something of value to a group of people, and they 'condone' a member of their group to do something that jeopardizes your livelyhood (how you pay your rent and provide for your family) then it is understandable that you might want to stop giving to that group--especially when the gift was costing you around $500,000/year. Seriously, think about this scenario without associating it with open source, etc. You bet your ass you'd stop giving to that group!

The ideal solution would've been for the 'troublemaker' to leave the group, so that the gift-giver would have no grounds to stop giving to the entire group. But nooo....that was too simple for them to consider.

Linus did the right thing because all the open source SCM solutions sucked for the past few years. There are some really cool open source solutions like SVK and monotone, but they probably could've used another couple years to become robust enough for a large, complex project like the Linux kernel.

Linux clearly benefitted from Bitkeeper. And Bitkeeper probably benefitted from all the publicity.

People should select SCM software based on technical merits and user productivity rather than religious views on licensing. The idiocy and fanaticism of both corporate monkeys and GPL fanatics never cease to amaze me. Linus avoids these two opposite extreams and did what was best for the Linux kernel--unfortunately, the fanatics surrounding Linus put an end to a good thing.

BTW, I'm a very satisfied Subversion 1.1.4 (Debian server) and TortoiseSVN (Windows client) user so I've nothing against open source SCM products for my needs. I just know that for the Linux kernel, there really isn't anything as appropriate as Bitkeeper.

And I pray that ClearCase doesn't become the SCM for Linux (in case IBM offers a very generous license). Not because it is closed source, but because I didn't like my experiences with it.

Legal and a Good Idea are different things (2, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253595)

Sure, this may be the same thing that happened with Samba but linus never made any claims about the legality. Something which may be technically and legally similar is not necessarily just as good a strategic idea.

In the case of microsoft we had a widely deployed piece of software that the open source community needed to interact with for compatibility reasons. Nothing of the kind is true with BitKeeper. In the case of BitKeeper the open source community could have simply built their own incompatible protocol and not have to worry about being shut out of the market by a BitMover monopoly. On the other hand in the case of microsoft the open source community couldn't simply build a better protocol than Samab but really needed to be compatible.

Secondly, while it's possible I very much doubt that the BitKeeper protocol was being reverse engineered from the expensive pro version. Most likely it being reverse enginered from the free versions (or at least comped versions). Unlike microsoft which needs to keep Samba out there in every windows box BitMover was just allowing this free usage as a donation/PR move and could easily revoke it without comprimising their buisness model.

In short by trying to reverse engineer this protocol it seems that Andrew? gave the impression that the 'price' of donating expensive software to open source projects is to have your market advantages reverse engineered and probably implemented in free projects. So while sure he has just as much right to reverse engineer in samba the first instance is an important blow against a monopoly trying to use propietary protocols to unfairly strangle competition. In this case there was no similar monopolistic pressure (there isn't a strong installed base of BK users who we need to be compatible with) and made it look like there was a steep price for trying to help the open source community.

Regardless of what you think of the deciscion to use BK or the need to reverse engineer this project having someone paid by the SAME organization which is the beneficiary of the free software (or at least appears to be in the media) is surely a bad move politically. It certainly would give me pause if I was a manager at a big corporation thinking of donating some helpful development tools to some open source project.

larry@microsoft.com? (1)

betasam (713798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253602)

So, do we get to see Microsoft products using Bitkeeper? I don't get the message here. If Larry goes ahead with this "no competing products" thing (as if he has no idea about the opensource community), extinction would probably be inevitable as has started happening to someone who owned almost every PC.

Sorry Larry, thought you had it all worked out. This seems to have nosedived. The opensource community made a better OS platform "GNU/Linux" against one that was "freely" available in India (when piracy couldn't be checked.) Are we trying to say we can't create a "better than bitkeeper" versioning system? We made so much progress with just CVS.

Re:larry@microsoft.com? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12253629)

What the hell is it that you people have against people trying to make money?

And no, you can't make money with free software.

In other news... (1)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 9 years ago | (#12253620)

...Linus took a dump today. It happened around 6 PM local time. It was brown with a little green and quite a bit squishy; approximately 6 to 8 inches in length and about 3 inches in circumference. It had a faint aroma of turnips.

This "scoop" brought to you by The Register.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>