Why I am no longer working on Mercurial

Eric Bloodworth ergosys at gmail.com
Fri Sep 30 19:31:25 CDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-09-30 at 14:40 -0700, Bryan O'Sullivan wrote:
> As I mentioned the other day, I will not be contributing to Mercurial
> development for a while.  Several people have asked me why.
> At my workplace, we use a commercial SCM tool called BitKeeper to
> manage a number of source trees.  Last week, Larry McVoy (the CEO of
> BitMover, which produces BitKeeper) contacted my company's management.
> Larry expressed concern that I might be moving BitKeeper technology
> into Mercurial.  In a phone conversation that followed, I told Larry
> that of course I hadn't done so.
> However, Larry conveyed his very legitimate worry that a fast,
> stable open source project such as Mercurial poses a threat to his
> business, and that he considered it "unacceptable" that an employee of
> a customer should work on a free project that he sees as competing.
> To avoid any possible perception of conflict, I have volunteered to
> Larry that as long as I continue to use the commercial version of
> BitKeeper, I will not contribute to the development of Mercurial.
> As such, Mercurial can stand entirely on its own merits in comparison
> to BitKeeper.  This, I am sure, is a situation that we would all
> prefer.

I'm confused about what would be unacceptable, unless by some chance you
have access some BitKeeper source.  Otherwise, the only thing you (or
anyone else) can copy is look-and-feel.  And we know what kind of legal
standing that has.  However, IANAL.  

I can only hope that you can convince your current employer to make use
of Mercurial in the future or perhaps find an employer who doesn't let
other companies dictate what their employees do on their own time.  

-- Eric

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