There was a time when the Linux community used BitKeeper as its source code control system, after switching from the open-source CVS. But then Samba developer Andrew Tridgell figured out you could telnet to a BitKeeper server, type “HELP,” and get a list of commands. Upon hearing of Tridgell’s daring hack, BitMover — the company that maintains BitKeeper — got all license-revokey on the community, changing the terms of the agreement and demanding that Linux developers start paying for its software.
There were other free source control systems available, and the popular one was Subversion, which was billed by its creators as “CVS done right.” If you’ve never used CVS, the dark humor in that statement is that it doesn’t make sense. Labeling something “CVS done right” is about the same as labeling something “a urinary tract infection done right.” Many developers, Linus included, find CVS and the like completely unacceptable.
Now, the Legend of Linus is part truth and part mythology. Nobody really knows where the facts end and the tall stories begin. But one common theme in all of them is that Linus has the power of many men. While that multiple is up for debate, the editorial staff here at The Reg has decreed that Linus has the power of ten. It’s a conservative estimate, but it keeps our fact checkers happy.
With the power of ten men, Linus reacted swiftly. Rather than cry about it like a little bitch, he created his own source control system called git. In a self-deprecating style that only a developer on Linus’s level could pull off, Linus said, “I’m an egotistical bastard, and I name all my projects after myself. First Linux, now git.”
(We Americans don’t really get the joke, because while “git” is British slang for a worthless person, we have come to acknowledge the fundamental law of British insults: don’t be insulting).