Torvalds codes temporary replacement for Bitkeeper

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

In the wake of Bitmover CEO Larry McVoy's decision to end the free distribution of the Linux version of the source code management system Bitkeeper, Linux founder Linus Torvalds has written a program called "git" to access the Linux source code repositories, Torvalds wrote in a post to the Linux kernel mailing list. The program, resting at version 0.04 as of April 13, is, according to Torvalds's README file: "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."

When Bitmover changed its licensing scheme, Torvalds wrote that he was looking into using Monotone; he added that he did not want to use Subversion (SVN). According to, on April 7, Torvalds noted, "I detest the centralized SCM model, but if push comes to shove, and we just _can't_ get a reasonable parallell[sic] merge thing going in the short timeframe (ie month or two), I'll use something like SVN on a trusted site with just a few committers . . ."

While Torvalds characterized Monotone as slow, he was hopeful that it could be sped up. He anticipated using the pre-Bitkeeper system of "people email patches to Linus" until the 2.6.12 kernel is released in the next month or so.