Re: Bitkeeper

From: Larry McVoy (
Date: Sat Jul 19 2003 - 17:39:56 EST

On Sun, Jul 20, 2003 at 12:28:38AM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > product for *money*. If you paid us money, you'd have a point. But
> > you didn't. You get to use the product for free and until there is
> > some case law which says otherwise, we get to make any rules we like.
> > And our rules say you can't reverse engineer. Too bad for you if you
> > don't like it, I'm not exactly overflowing with sympathy for someone
> > who paid nothing and is now complaining that they aren't allowed to
> > reverse engineer and steal what they didn't pay for.
> The current German copyright law doesn't talk about money. If you allow
> someone to use a copy the law explicitely states that some kind of
> contract clauses (e.g. a complete prohibition of disassembling) are
> simply void.

Alan pointed out to me that the EU rules are for interoperability and they
do not allow reverse engineering for the purposes of learning how a product

Since BK can export any and *all* data and metadata from a one line command,
it's awfully hard to make the argument that you are reverse engineering
for interoperability. You can get your data as flat files, diffs, unified
diffs, context diffs. You can get your checkin comments in any format you
want. It's trivial to get data in and out of BK.

You can even get all of that from a web server so you don't have to sully
your hands with evil BK software.

So where is the law that says it is OK to reverse engineer when the product
already provides everything you could possibly want for interoperability?

Larry McVoy              lm at
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