Here follows the text of a message I posted to the Mercurial mailing list earlier today.
As I mentioned the other day, I will not be contributing to Mercurial development for a while. Several people have asked me why.
At my workplace, we use a commercial SCM tool called BitKeeper to manage a number of source trees. Last week, Larry McVoy (the CEO of BitMover, which produces BitKeeper) contacted my company’s management.
Larry expressed concern that I might be moving BitKeeper technology into Mercurial. In a phone conversation that followed, I told Larry that of course I hadn’t done so.
However, Larry conveyed his very legitimate worry that a fast, stable open source project such as Mercurial poses a threat to his business, and that he considered it “unacceptable” that an employee of a customer should work on a free project that he sees as competing.
To avoid any possible perception of conflict, I have volunteered to Larry that as long as I continue to use the commercial version of BitKeeper, I will not contribute to the development of Mercurial.
As such, Mercurial can stand entirely on its own merits in comparison to BitKeeper. This, I am sure, is a situation that we would all prefer.