Letter to ADMIN

Article from ADMIN 19/2014

Recently you published an article "Free Enterprise Backup with Bareos," written by Jörg Steffens and Philipp Storz. The problem with this article is that I personally find the second half of the following sentence slanderous and patently false:

"In 2010, long-standing Bacula developer Marco van Wieringen thus started to maintain enhancements and code cleanups that either were not accepted or were only proposed for integration into the commercial version in a separate Git repository."

First, the authors are repeating hearsay from a third party and not reporting something that they were involved with. This is clear from the wording of the sentence. It is also clear from the fact that neither of the authors ever worked on the Bacula project and neither had any knowledge of what changes were going into the "commercial" version other than hearsay.

Secondly, this clearly states that the Bacula project manager refused contributions for the open source version but nevertheless "proposed them for integration into the commercial version." This is false. Mr. van Wieringen had full write permission on the Bacula community git repository and was generally responsible for integrating community contributions. He could freely commit anything.

Yes, the Bacula project has either refused, or more often requested changes to, submitted patches for the community version, but these are based on a number of carefully chosen criteria that I can clearly state if requested that guarantee the consistency and quality of the Bacula code.

To state it very clearly: neither myself nor anyone else have ever rejected a community contribution and subsequently put it into the "commercial" version. This is something I would never even consider doing, and to say otherwise is a significant injury to my ethics and honor.

What these authors fail to explicitly mention is that Mr. van Wieringen had access to the Bacula Systems proprietary source code (dual license), and Bacula Systems has subsequently filed a lawsuit against Mr. van Wieringen and Bareos for theft of intellectual property (stolen source code) and unfair competition.


I am wondering why your editorial policies permit publishing an article that uses false hearsay to slander an open source developer of long standing and devotion such as myself. You apparently did not even attempt to contact me for comment. This does not seem to me to be a very professional manner of running a magazine or newsletter, and at a minimum, I request you should publish some form of excuse or retraction.

Best regards,

Kern SibbaldBacula Project Manager


Thank you for your letter. We value accuracy and a balanced discussion, and we are happy to offer you this space to respond to our previous article on the Bareos backup tool. At ADMIN Magazine, our emphasis is on the technology, not the legal issues; however, I will address your remarks with regard to any inferences about our motivations and policies.

First, given the tensions regarding this topic, I regret that we did not ask for your viewpoint prior to publication and include your comments along with the published article. Publishing your complete letter (above) is our attempt to address this oversight.

Authors of magazine articles often report on projects, products, and events they weren't directly involved with creating. If that were not true, magazines could not even exist in their current form. The question is not whether the author had a personal role in the event, but whether the article stated the facts correctly.

With regard to the paragraph cited, we all agree that Bacula, or any community development project, has every right to reject source code submissions from community developers if they do not meet the project's quality criteria. This fact is not disputed by you, ADMIN Magazine, or the authors of the article, and no knowledgeable reader would take the fact that a maintainer rejected a package as a condemnation of Bacula.

You write that the paragraph "clearly states that the 'Bacula project manager refused contributions for the open source version but nevertheless proposed them for integration into the commercial version.'" Actually, the passage you quote in your letter does not say that this code proposed for the commercial version was originally intended for the Bacula open source edition.

The fact the Bareos project integrated source code that was intended only for the Bacula commercial version does not seem to be in dispute – in fact, Bareos's use of Bacula's source code appears to be the very basis for the lawsuit you describe above. The parties do seem to disagree regarding the license status for this code, but the passage from the article does not address this question.

Regardless of outcome of any litigation regarding the license status of the code, we have no reason to doubt that Bacula acted in good faith.

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