Issue #3054 wontfix
Former user created an issue

I hope you hear me out. I hope someone with some decision power hears me out.

Right now, Bitbucket is not free. When Bitbucket has functionality that I dislike, I am not free to implement suggestions for you. At best, I can beg and argue with you when you decide that my suggestion is not a good one. If Bitbucket were free, I could go and implement it and show you, "see, this is how it could work, what do you think?" I could have much more leverage with which to help Bitbucket be better if it were free.

I was told that Bitbucket is not free because it is commercial. I do not understand why this is an explanation. Red Hat is free and commercial. Some of the best money I've ever spent. Gitorious is free and commercial despite more directly competing with a behemoth like github. From what we know of their finances, both of these are successful commercial ventures. And they are free.

I am not asking you to give up your trademark, your savoir-faire, your brand image, your hosting, your servers. Ultimately, all of this is what you really sell, just like Red Hat sells support and Gitorious sells support and hosting. I only see you adding value to Bitbucket if you make it free.

Hell, I will pay for access to the source. As much as 50, no, 100 USD per month for a premium source access subscription. Make it so that only premium subscribers have read access to the master Bitbucket repository. I will pay for the privilege to collaborate with you instead of begging you to make changes and arguing with you when you decide WONTFIX, HOLD, LATER, NOTABUG, CANTREPRODUCE.

Make it AGPL. If I or anyone else decides to run off with the source and make a knockoff site (which, btw, I haven't seen happen with gitorious yet, perhaps you have?), your source won't give us a competitive advantage, because we won't have the service, hosting, trademark, brand name, and support you actually sell. Give me the opportunity to buy another product from you.

As it is stands right now, I am not happy with Bitbucket. I think it has potential, but I can't fix it when it doesn't work. Every user of this site is a developer. Every user is a potential collaborator, moreso than any other kind of software. We hackers also like to hack with our and on our tools. We are already writing code. We all give you our source. You don't give us yours. We gave you Mercurial, Python, Pygments, Django. Please give us Bitbucket.

Collaborate with us. Share source like we share it with you. Make it free.

Comments (6)

  1. Charles McLaughlin

    Hi Jordi,

    Thanks for your suggestion and the offer to hack on our code. This has come up before, for instance in issue #1566. You make some great points, but we still don't have any immediate plans to open source the entire code base. For starters, we link against Mercurial, so if we distribute the code it would become GPL. If we wanted to sell a "behind the firewall" version of Bitbucket with a different license we would need to rewrite a significant amount of code and possibly shell out to hg to avoid linking. Since Atlassian bought Bitbucket a year ago we've added hundreds of improvements, stabilized and improved performance, and scaled the infrastructure to handle huge increases in users and repositories. That's were our focus is, but we are committed to the open source community.

    While this doesn't satisfy your request, as we develop new features we're open sourcing as much as possible. Here's an example:

    And there's more to come.



  2. Anonymous

    First of all, thanks for at least giving me a complete answer instead of simply dismissing me as a lunatic.

    A few scraps of free software unrelated to the functionality I actually care to influence or modify don't serve my needs, you are correct. I find scraps to not be a strong commitment to free software. I want the whole thing. Paying for it, like I said.

    As to linking to the GPLed hg code, I suggested using the AGPL, which as you know, is much stronger copyleft compatible with the GPL. That way, you don't have to rewrite anything (and it's arguable if you can avoid copyleft by using a different interface), and if someone forks off your code, the source alone won't give them an unfair advantage since they can't add modifications to it and use it publicly unless they share them back to you.

    I really think the real value is the hosting and the maintenance. And being able to submit patches. I see you as selling your services. If I could have those things, I would be happiest with bitbucket. I have my own hg hosting, but it's a pain to maintain, and I would be happy if I could pay someone else to do it.

    As for influencing your direction of development, I'm very disappointed to have received an email today about things you have implemented, none of which I want or need, and at least one that alarms me (git...?).

    Furthermore, I'm hosting some GNU development on bb. I can no longer do that in good conscience. Since you don't offer what I want, and I can't influence what you are doing with the website except with ineffective pleading and arguing, I will be working this week on moving my work off bitbucket, closing my account, and maintaining my own hosting elsewhere. I'm sorry it has come to this.

    Good luck with that git.

  3. Dryden Personalis

    I just wanted to say that, I came across this and it is four years ago. But I don't know what has changed in the meantime. I just want to say that I support the closed source model. Free is in this case not free, it is begging. It is wanting a free lunch. Someone owns a thing and you want to have it. Give it to me for free. It has nothing to do with openness. You have to work for it if you want it. Such is life. The free availability of things usually means it is worth nothing. That is why much in the opens source linux world is worth nothing. It can't be worth anything if it's always free, and this is the release often and release early model. It doesn't work, it creates crapware. That's all I wanted to say I guess. Sorry about the words. I have to speak my mind sometimes. I just came across this for the first time and I'm already thinking of getting a t10 user plan and later cancelling my Github account. It just feels nice and I like JIRA as well.

  4. Arne Babenhauserheide

    Dear Dryden, the crapware you speak about is the base of Mercurial and Git which both enable the business model of Bitbucket. It also runs my computer. Wanting something to be free is very different from wanting it to be free. The English language just munges these two very different concepts together. You can be sure that the majority of the components used in Bitbucket are Free Software. Finally your whole rhetoric falls flat where people pay for Free Software — or pay for the ongoing development of Free Software or services based on Free Software. Some people might want a free lunch — they can use freeware. Those who ask for free licensing, especially strong copyleft licensing, often don’t mind paying but rather consider proprietary software as an affront to society. You spoke your mind freely, so I will pay in kind: If you develop proprietary software, you ask people to invest learning time into your system and then hold them hostage by their investment to control every aspect of how they can use it. The only valid reason for developing proprietary software is being forced to do so to pay your lunch, because too many people -- like you -- mistake freedom for a free lunch. I agree with you on openness. It’s not being open which counts. What counts is Freedom.

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