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geomon's Journal: All Smoke, NO Fire

Journal by geomon

I've read a few exchanges from the /. crowd, read a few statements by Linus and the gang, have read McVoy's interpretation of the BK saga, and have come to one conclusion:

No one but the three people involved in this fiasco *really* knows what happened to get this situation to the stage where people begin a verbal free-fire in public.

McVoy is a business man; true to his heart, he needs to keep the BK user strung out on his code. Hell, I would feel the same sense of outrage that he feels if someone threatened to kill my cash cow. Don't pretend that every one you wouldn't feel the same way if it was *your* revenue stream. To me, anyone who claims an absolute vow of poverty is looking for a monastery to live in. Everyone I know would fight to protect a source of financial income.

Selfish? You bet. But nature has created more selfish beings than egalitarian ones. Nature favors pragmatism.

But McVoy could have let this one ride a bit more. It is just a matter of time before someone cracks his model. Then he will have to play the same game as Microsoft and Adobe only on a different level. Too bad for him, though, that his inexpensive advertising scheme didn't last. That is another little detail that goes relatively "un-remarked" upon in the various forums I've read. Larry had one of the hottest programmers in FOSS using his SCM. In fact, this Man Of The Year lavished all kinds of praise on his progeny! You would have to pay more than the "free" license fee for that kind of advertising. Shit, probably A LOT more. If Linus had been paid for his endorsements, that could have added up to quite a sum of money. Larry has wisely kept those funds securely in his pocket.

Again, I'd do that too. The monks of this world can keep their vows.

Linus? Well, it was kind of hard to turn down a free license for one of the best SCMs on the market. If I had been in his position, I would have grabbed the product and ran. In fact, I would like to personally thank Larry for helping juice the Linux kernel development. I know SCO has been rummaging around in the Linux closet for evidence that it was their intellectual property that made the kernel advance so quickly. I believe that Larry's BK contribution probably made the significant increase in kernel production possible. Judging from Linus' angst and outrage, I think he believes that too.

But Linus is being a bit thin skinned. Does he believe he is the ONLY programmer that has been burned by relying on a proprietary product for their work? Didn't he listen to all the people who had been telling him about *their* bad experiences with proprietary lock-in? From what I've read in the past, they had plenty of legitimate worries that this was going to happen. I'm sure that Linus knew it would happen someday too. He's just pissed that it happened NOW as opposed to LATER.

Boo hoo, get over it, this too will pass, etc. But why attack Tridgell in public? Hmmm.... That does raise some interesting questions. And why get all bitchy about it?

There is something we are not getting in this little soap opera. Tridgell is silent, probably for good reason. But why would Linus take him to task knowing that he would not be able to respond publicly?

And Perens? This is a slugfest that only Gates, Darl, and RMS would love - all for differing reasons. Why does Perens feel compelled to call out Linus over his treatment of Tridgell?

I thought the points made by some posters about just how Tridgell was sniffing packets to see the metadata protocols is extremely insightful. To have BK protocols running on his network would require that he be operating a client and server somewhere where he could see it, no? What network was he sniffing if he didn't have a license?

What amazes me is that the attempt to get BK's protocols didn't happen *sooner*. With all of the pissing and moaning that erupted when Linus started using BK, I would have thought there would have been someone doing what Tridgell was accomplishing years ago. Is it possible that Tridgell was sniffing Linus's traffic? Or did Tridgell go to another kernel developer's house and sniff the line as they worked? Does it matter whether Tridgell did the sniffing? What if there are a whole faction of kernel developers (there 200 daily active programmers working on the Linux kernel according to Perens) that had been submitting ether dumps for Tridgell to analyze?

What if it was someone other than Tridgell who had been doing the work? Would that have gotten Linus as mad as he is now? What if someone, totally unrelated to the kernel development group, and/or not directly linked to ODSL, had done the work? What would have been Linus' objection then? Would he have laid such harsh condemnation on someone else for breaking BK's protocols? How would he justify his rage then?

I believe there is a lot of personal tension in this situation than is evident from the written (and unwritten) traffic on this matter. McVoy accuses Tridgell and OSDL for not stopping the hacking effort. He could be right, but so what? What if Joe Schmo had broken the protocol? The open source world would first say "Who?" then would throw up their arms in victory, and quickly moved along. But this is a personal matter between people who have been hanging out together for a LOOOONG time (how old is McVoy or Perens?).

The vase is irreparably broken. It is time to move on.

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All Smoke, NO Fire

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