Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Interview with Linus about Git

Filed under
Linux

Linus Torvalds didn't want to change software configuration management tools; however, business and open-source philosophy problems left the Linux founder with no choice but to abandon BitKeeper and create his own system: Git.

SCM programs are used to control the flow of updates and track program changes. In a project as large as Linux-more than 17,000 files-this can be very difficult and very slow.

Because most SCMs-such as CVS (Concurrent Versions System)-are too slow for him, Torvalds built his own.

He describes Git as "a stupid (but extremely fast) directory content manager. It doesn't do a whole lot, but what it does do is track directory contents efficiently."

t also can't be used with BitMover Inc.'s BitKeeper, the controversial and proprietary SCM that Torvalds had used to manage Linux kernel development.

"Git has a totally different model of representing the source tree," said Torvalds.

The name itself really doesn't have a meaning. Torvalds joked that it can be a "random three-letter combination that is pronounceable, and not actually used by any common Unix command. The fact that it is a mispronunciation of 'get' may or may not be relevant." Or, "'stupid. contemptible and despicable. simple.' Take your pick from the dictionary of slang." Or, "global information tracker: [if] you're in a good mood, and it actually works for you. Angels sing, and a light suddenly fills the room."

Git has already been used for its first run of Linux: the beta of Linux 2.6.12-rc3. But Torvalds admits that Git is still a work in progress.

"The roughness really comes from two things," said Torvalds. "It's a young project, and it just takes time for things to mature. That will go on for years, assuming none of the other open-source SCMs just eventually show themselves to be capable enough that we just end up deciding that Git was a good temporary bridge."

Also, Git does some things very differently from traditional source management, Torvalds said.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Firefox OS media-casting stick strikes Kickstarter gold

The first Firefox OS based media player has arrived on Kickstarter, in the form of a $25 open-spec HDMI stick that supports Chromecast-like content casting. The Matchstick, which has already zoomed past its Kickstarter campaign’s $100,000 funding goal, with 28 days still remaining, was teased back in June by Mozilla developer evangelist Christian Heilmann. The unnamed prototype was billed as an open source HDMI stick that runs Mozilla’s Linux-based Firefox OS and offers casting capabilities. Few details were revealed at the time except that the device used the same DIAL (DIscovery And Launch) media-casting protocol created by Netflix and popularized by Google’s Chromecast. Read more

Open source history, present day, and licensing

Looking at open source softwares particularly, this is a fact that is probably useful to you if you are thinking about business models, many people don't care about it anymore. We talk about FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, but if we really are strict there's a difference between free software and open source software. On the left, I have free software which most typically is GPL software. Software where the license insures freedom. It gives freedoms to you as a user, but it also requires that the freedoms are maintained. On the right-hand side, you have open source software which is open for all, but it also allows you to close it. So here we come back to the famous clause of the GPL license, the reciprocity requirement which says, "If I am open, you need to be open." So software that comes under the GPL license carries with it something that other people call a virus. I call it a blessing because I think it's great if all software becomes open. Read more

Leftovers: Software

Proprietary

today's howtos