Re: BK Licence: Protocols and Research

From: jw schultz (
Date: Thu Jul 17 2003 - 22:01:01 EST

On Thu, Jul 17, 2003 at 10:01:07PM +0100, Rory Browne wrote:
> I had hoped to bring this discussion to a more private level between
> myself and Larry McVoy.
> I am however disgusted to find that he has shared details, which I
> explicitly marked as Private, with a third Party, namely One of the
> Educational institutes I am involved with.
> I find this breach of confidence distrubing.

Substatiate your accusation or go away. I see nothing in
his followup that even hints that there was any private
communication. He quotes what you posted in this public
forum and addresses that, and that only.

Like most here i often disagree with Larry (though not about
his right to pick his own licence and enforce it) and find
his statements or the manner of them irritating but in this
case his response is exactly on the mark and except for his
friendly suggesting you might work for him matches my
initial reaction to your post.

> * Larry McVoy <> [030717 15:55]:
> > With apologies to the list for the off topic post (I'm really trying to
> > not annoy you guys but some stuff we can't let slide due to legalities).

Accepted. A very nice and mild response on your part. My
apologies for this posting too but when someone does
well as you have with that posting he aught not be met
with the above reaction.

> >
> > On Thu, Jul 17, 2003 at 01:05:05PM +0100, Rory Browne wrote:
> > > Would the conduction of research(and publication of results of same) on
> > > the bitkeeper formats/protocols, preclude users from using the Free version
> > > of Bitkeeper, for the research project?
> >
> > Yes, for the research project and/or anything else.
> >
> > > Would the carrying out of such research using the free version of
> > > Bitkeeper, prevent them from developing a product which contains
> > > substantially similar capabilities of the BitKeeper Software in the
> > > Future, assuming that all copies of Bitkeeper were destroyed before the
> > > development started?
> >
> > Yes.
> >
> > > Would previous activity in the area of developing a product which
> > > contains substantially similary features to Bitkeeper preclude users from
> > > using the Free Bitkeeper software?
> >
> > Yes.
> >
> > Each question above can be restated as "Would it be OK if we used BK
> > in violation of its license?". The answer is no and if you did that we
> > would be forced to come after you, if we don't and some large company did
> > the same thing we would have a much tougher time enforcing the license.
> > Trademarks and licenses tend to lose their value if you don't enforce
> > them.
> >
> > Your questions indicate one of two things: you either have a burning
> > desire to work on BK itself or a burning desire to copy BK. If it's
> > the former, that's easy, send us a resume and if you are a good engineer
> > we'll hire you, we need good engineers with a solid understanding of file
> > systems, distributed systems, graphs and sets, and/or human interfaces.
> >
> > If you are trying to copy BK, give it up. We'll simply follow in the
> > footsteps of every other company faced with this sort of thing and change
> > the protocol every 6 months. Since you would be chasing us you can never
> > catch up. If you managed to stay close then we'd put digital signatures
> > into the protocol to prevent your clone from interoperating with BK.
> >
> > Instead of trying to copy our work in violation of our license, you'd be
> > far better served by doing some new work. If you like SCM then either
> > work here, work on some other SCM unrelated to BK, or expect a costly
> > discussion with a lawyer. I realize this is an unpopular position but
> > that's tough, it's our code and our license and you obey the rules
> > or suffer the consequences. The license is a contract and it's an
> > enforceable contract, we have gone up against a company who spends more
> > on lawyers in a week than our annual gross revenues and successfully
> > enforced it.
> > --
> > ---
> > Larry McVoy lm at
> -
> To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
> the body of a message to
> More majordomo info at
> Please read the FAQ at

	J.W. Schultz            Pegasystems Technologies
	email address:

Remember Cernan and Schmitt - To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in the body of a message to More majordomo info at Please read the FAQ at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jul 23 2003 - 22:00:32 EST