Developer Forced To Stop Development on Mercurial due to BitKeeper License

Ben Collins-Sussman pointed to this blog entry written by a developer on the Mercurial Distributed Version Control System which talks about Larry McVoy contacting his employer about his work on the project. His employer is a licensed user of the BitKeeper software.

I think its sad that an employee of a customer of a software company, with no access to the tools source code, can be told to stop developing open source software because of his use of another software application.

Think about this a minute. Before OpenOffice was useable, what if each developer who had to use Microsoft Word at work was forced to stop working on the software because of their use of the Microsoft products at work?

Much of what is going on in the Bitkeeper world right now was the main reason why there was such an uproar over the licensing of the product when Linus Torvalds started using it to manage the Linux kernel. Looks like the community was right again.

On another note, however, I’m definitely going to take a look at Mercurial. It looks like an interesting piece of software. I think its a travesty that its lost one of its developers due to the decision of his employer on what software package to license.

The full discussion on this can be found on the Subversion Developers mailing list.