Re: Issues of GPL'ed (was [RELEASE] Wilderness/ASCII)

From: d. hall (dhall@OOI.NET)
Date: 06/19/98

>>>>> thus on Fri, 19 Jun 1998 12:01:08 -0400, James wrote:

> "d. hall" <dhall@OOI.NET> writes:
>> There is one very small, itsy, little problem with JUST a GPL'ed mud.
>> People could charge for it's use.  Both DIKU and Jeremy have worked very
>> hard to make sure that within their respective licenses, that you cannot
>> charge for use of the running source.

> I see no real problem with this.  If the codebase could be used for
> charging, we'd see a flood of charge-based muds.  But of course this
> wouldn't work because most would be stock.  People would play on the
> free ones and ignore the mostly-stock charge ones.  There are no free
> lunches, which includes making money from muds.  People won't pay
> unless there's something new, fresh, unique.

You're missing the point.  If you think about it, the concept of muds is
the opposite of the GPL.  The GPL was meant to make "free software" (think
free speech and not free beer[1]).  The FSF and others often can and do
make money from these products, either via secondary means (distribution)
or via software support or grants.  The source code is to be released since
it truly promotes the open atmosphere.

Take most muds, using Diku as a basis, source other than base source is not
openly distributed, it's kept very closely guarded, therefore not "free",
but you cannot charge for it's use, or nearly anything else associated with
it, so it is free [beer].

> A GPL'd mud wouldn't be a problem.  A lot of companies (cygnus for
> one) make money doing custom alterations of GPL'd software or porting
> it to embedded markets.  Should Cygnus be prevented from making money
> frmo the code?

Any strictly GPL'ed DIKU-style mud would go against the grain of why the
original DIKU team originally programmed this game.  They made it for fun
and hoping it would benefit people via recreational means.  Jeremy has gone
out of his way to also strictly enforce this same philosophy.  It's
important to the online community to consider these style games, like
netrek and mu* to be free, with the advent of online games like Origin's
Ultima Online.

> Perhaps add a clause to the GPL stating that running the code in a
> public environment would require the release of the source within a
> year of opening, though that would be a bit unpalletable to most
> people.  But in and of itself the GPL is fairly well suited for a mud
> license IMO.

Charging for games and Diku's licenses vs. GPL are two completely different
issues since they involve two totally different concepts.  You could GPL
and Diku license a mud source, but just to strictly GPL would not conform
to Diku's original license.  You must add in clauses for use of source and
derivatives thereof.

[1] RMS' favourite terminology.

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