Why Bitcoin Unlimited should be correctly classified as an ‘attempted robbery’ of Bitcoin, not a fork
Looking into the history of open source project forks, I finally figured out (I can’t claim to be the first, but I haven’t seen others say it) that forks do not try to steal the names of their parents.
Firefox is a fork of Mozilla which is a fork of Netscape. Why aren’t they all named Netscape? Because two are project forks.
Forks are new entities with new developers that start off with the same code as their parent, but then make the code their own. They do not say “Give up control, we’re taking over.” That is called theft.
Not applicable to Bitcoin Unlimited, you say? Bitcoin Core is compromised, you believe?
The open source CMS Joomla! is a fork of Mambo. In 2005-ish the employees and community at Mambo felt the company was controlled a bit too tightly by their primary investor, Miro. The entire core development team at Mambo (and the community) left to create Joomla! in a major walk-out together. Even with such ill feelings for their former employer, nobody stole anything worse than a red stapler from their former employer.
They just took some code.
I’ve looked at tons of forked projects to see if this holds true across the board… The torrents apps, the blogging platforms, chat apps, database platforms, all kinds of CMSs, and of course Linux. Some forks went on to be far better than their parents, others were complete crap and never heard from again. Still, they didn’t steal the sign on the way out.
No project seems to have any history of the forkers stealing the forkee’s name nor property, no matter the circumstance. Yes, even when large amounts of funding were involved.
The history of Linux forks is an extremely large pool, too. Check out this chart to the left; those are all the linux distributions, pretty much up to date. (You may want to click here to see it in full resolution.)Notice how they all have different names?
Look at how the lines connecting parents to forks… Not a one of them loops back to it’s parent.
Good example: Red Hat linux was a corporation, which was profitable most of its 19 years of existence. Fedora was its fork, and again, didn’t try to steal the assets of Red Hat. Eventually the corp went out of business and Red Hat’s code was merged into Fedora. Classy way to go out, that.
Plenty of these projects felt that their parent “sold out” or “lost its way,” just like those who have lost their faith in Bitcoin’s core developers today. Did they impersonate them?
There is simply no precedence for a fork stealing it’s parents name. When they steal the parent’s marketshare or customer base, it is because they, as separate entities, out perform their parents, not pretend to be them.
There is no precedence for this attitude anywhere in the world of open source development that I can find.
Interestingly, Bitcoin already has tons of precedence for being forked properly itself. Since bitcoin is a currency, forking bitcoin creates altcoins.
Litecoin and namecoin were early Bitcoin forks, and like every other fork in history, they have their own development teams and grabbed a new name.
Satoshi’s code may allow a way for majority hashrate to steal the project away from one dev team and put it in the hands of others, but that is a ‘might makes right’ argument; it doesn’t make it ethical to take a whole project away from its developers, and it certainly doesn’t mean they get to steal the name too.
They see Bitcoin’s massive market cap and frontrunner status as the things they want to fork, not some code. This is immoral and against the Non Aggression Principle, to which many Bitcoiners and Bitcoin millionaires subscribe.
To Bitcoin Unlimited, and all future attempts to steal Bitcoin’s identity and assets: Do the right thing and just fork off.