This paper reviews ways and means used for reduction or elimination of periodic nonlinearity in heterodyne interferometers. The periodic nonlinearity resulting from polarization mixing or frequency mixing in heterodyne interferometers was modeled into one expression, which included the initial polarization state of the laser source, the rotational alignment of the beam splitter along with different transmission coefficients for polarization states and the rotational misalignment of a receiving polarizer. Three compensation techniques, measuring two orthogonal output signals, Lissajous Compensation and Chu-Ray Algorithm, are described and discussed for reduction of periodic nonlinearity. These algorithms needed at least one fringe of motion or a constant velocity sweep to properly correct the motion. And five types of two spatially separated beam interferometer configurations are described and discussed for elimination of periodic nonlinearity to a picometer level. It is concluded that the main disadvantage of these configurations was their complex architecture with unbalanced long beam paths.