Fifteen years ago, BitKeeper invented distributed version control
and helped prevent Linux from forking by enabling the Linux kernel
development to scale. And scale it did. By many accounts, using
BitKeeper resulted in a 10x faster pace of development.
The system was good. Our PR skills were not. There was a lot of
controversy about our licensing terms and some mighty hurtful things
were said about our team.** After the flaming died down,
we needed time before facing the world again.
By 2005, we were self-supporting and had assembled the best development
team in the world focused on version control.
- Zero full-time sales and marketing people.
- Zero full-time support people.
- Zero full-time HR people.
- One very laid-back manager.
- Enough revenue that there were no VC's in the mix.
It was an engineer's dream: 100% focus on developing the world's
best version control system.
We tackled and solved big problems like:
- Distributed version control doesn't mix well with lots of large binaries.
- The distributed model doesn't scale to gigabytes or terabytes of source code.
- The world has been waiting for a way to do code reuse on a grand scale.
What's more, we didn't give up on any of the ease-of-use or safety
features that our customers have come to expect and love. Unlike
other systems, we don't let you do things that will corrupt your
repository. We automatically detect and fix file corruption problems.
If there was a way to make a developer go faster, we did that. If
there was a way to make an enterprise go faster, we did that too. All
while striking the right balance between safety and letting the
developer do whatever they want.
This work required deep architectural changes as well as a constant
process of polishing the system to make it safe and easy to use. The
result is a solution that preserves distributed version control's
flexibility and power while addressing its traditional weaknesses of
safety and scalability.
With our first release, BitKeeper showed how to scale a single project
(like the Linux kernel). With this release,
BitKeeper is showing how to scale the enterprise.
Come back for a free trial in July, or
Signup to be notified when we release.
In the meantime see our old website for
current BitKeeper info or documentation.
** For what it's worth, we did what we thought was right
at the time to protect our IP. However, if we could go back in time,
we might do things differently. Legal and PR battles aren't what we're
good at. But even our fiercest open source critics were adamant that
our tools and support were first-class. They still are.