Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Andrew Tridgell Finally Breaks Silence on Bout with Torvalds

Filed under

A RIFT over development procedures has exposed fractures at the highest level of the Linux community and raised questions about the future direction of the open-source operating system.

For the past month, the biggest topic of discussion in the tight-knit Linux world has been a major fallout between Linus Torvalds, who created the popular OS, and Andrew Tridgell, the Australian developer of Samba, a well-regarded and widely-used tool for getting Linux and Windows systems to interoperate.

While Linux enthusiasts have always engaged in technical arguments, the latest dispute is more reminiscent of the personality-driven wars often found in the commercial software industry between rival technocrats such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Sun's Scott McNealy.

The dispute centres on Mr Tridgell's work to develop a free software client for BitMover's BitKeeper, a commercial software package that Mr Torvalds has used since 2002 to track changes and patches to the Linux kernel.

BitKeeper acts as a source code management (SCM) tool, helping Mr Torvalds to track the contributions and code suggestions submitted from developers across the world and maintain multiple builds of the kernel.

Many in the Linux community have been uneasy about using a proprietary closed tool for such work, arguing that open source software should be developed with open source tools.

Mr Tridgell used his keynote speech at the conference to make his first public comment on the dispute. He described much of the commentary on it as "trivial and crazy". But he showed no signs of backing down.

He demonstrated how BitKeeper's online help made it relatively simple to deduce its basic data format.

Later, he released the first version of the SourcePuller code online during the conference.

In the release notes for the software, Mr Tridgell called for an end to the dispute, writing: "There have been enough flames over this issue already."

"Kernel development, to a great extent, has come to a halt over the past few weeks," said Jonathan Corbet from, a Linux news site.

"It's only Linus who is directly affected by the BitKeeper business," Andrew Morton, the Australian co-maintainer of the kernel, said at the conference.

"Torvalds and Morton could both be hit by the same bus and we would recover somehow," Mr Corbet said. "It would hurt, but it wouldn't kill the kernel."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Slackel Linux: Not Your Father's Slackware

You might think of the Slackel distro as a better Slackware derivative. Slackware dates back to 1992. By comparison, well-known and well-used distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora and Linux Mint were introduced in the mid-2000s. So Slackware is among the oldest actively maintained Linux distros. Despite its longevity, it has not joined more modern Linux offspring in terms of user friendliness. Read more

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Review: Google Outsmarts Apple By Guessing Your Next Move

It may seem like a big decision, but something tells me the service arms race is going to be a lot like the feature race. Google has the nose on Apple with Google Now on Tap until… Apple figures out a way to borrow it. Read more

Red Hat News

IBM releases Power-based Linux servers with Nvidia GPUs

The Power Systems LC line was introduced by Dr Stefanie Chiras, director and business line executive of IBM scale-out Power Systems, as part of her keynote on the subject of 'waitless computing'. IBM, as a patron of the OpenPower Foundation, has been a staunch supporter of Linux and OpenStack, and this represents a logical step for the company, as it has been building its Power line following the sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo in 2014. Read more