Re: [THREAD] Copyrights, Wilderness, Credits, and Oatmeal Cream Pies

From: James Turner (turnerjh@XTN.NET)
Date: 06/25/98

Chris Jacobson <fear@ATHENET.NET> writes:

> Only one or two pieces of my code have ever been shared to the public,
> for two reasons - I don't want people claiming they wrote it, and (and
> this may sound selfish) I don't want competition.  I have, however,
> shared pieces of my code exclusively with friends I have made on this
> list, such as DOOMer/Akuma, on a trust basis.  We don't expect a place in
> the credits or the logon screen, just a "don't tell people you wrote it
> yourself" kind of deal.

I've been trying to decide how to handle code releasing on my mud.
I'm the only coder and have been the only one we've had (and will be
the only one we have for a good while).  However, there are some
snippets -- DG scripts and Oasis OLC being the largest -- and I
certainly will be giving credit.  But in my mind, that's not really
enough.  People who have publicized snippets have done the community a
service.  Some snippets (particularly one-function ones like
do_liblist, do_vwear, etc) are simply convenience functions.  Others
are larger.  However, there's not a single snippet I've used that I've
not modified in some way (the majority of which were major

But... that doesn't change that I've used freely distributed code.  In
my mind, it becomes a question of ethics.  Is it fair to the Circle
community to take but not give back?  Not really, but there are a lot
of ways to give back.  One is here; posting and helping people does
enrich the community.  Another is through giving out code.  Yet
another would be providing web space containing useful information for
others in the community.  (Hmmm George has done all of this, I guess
he's the mayor of our community, or maybe vice-mayor with Jeremy being

Probably what I'll end up doing is releasing my entire code base.
We've not opened yet, and it will be a while before we do (there's
quite a bit of work to do, and I won't let us open half-finished).
Perhaps a year after opening I might release it, or perhaps two years,
or whenever 2.0 of ThreadsMUD is completed.  It's a very heavily
modified code base; completely new fight and magic systems from
scratch, plus quite a number of other innovations not yet publicly
available.  I think people will like it.

The only real problem is that it is WoT-based, of which there are
many, many mostly stock codebases out there.  How to protect from
people taking the code and running it as their own?  There's no real
way unfortunately.  I'd hope people would use the code to increase
their coding abilities and get ideas from; but of course there will be
thieves, there's no question about that.  A number of corporations
have been caught distributing software with GPL-ized code inside of it
(BeOS comes to mind, but they rectified their [known] offenses fairly

To be honest, in some ways, it chafes me to not release some code
earlier.  I have a number of modules that I think people could really
use (overland map, grantable/revokable commands, vastly improved
personalizable color code, notice code, generalized menuing code (very
useful and simplifies adding more of those silly CON_ states, and it
works with non-menu based states, though that is where it shines the
most), rewritten skill and magic code, rewritten ability code, plus a
huge number of smaller pieces of code).  But the risk of copying too
soon is something that bothers me.  I wouldn't want someone to take
some of my code and use it before my mud even opens, so I wait, and
post here occasionally and give pointers... but my code will be
released, in its entirity someday.  When is a question of when the
other imps and builders think the time would be good, and fair.

> PPS... Oh yes, Oatmeal Cream Pies.  If you live in the US (and any other
> country Little Debbie snack goods are available), the Oatmeal Cream Pies
> are EXTREMELY delicious, low-fat, and for 12 for $1.30 or so, can't be
> beat for late night coding snacks!

I love these things, just got some yesterday.  Though for late-night
coding snacks, something with caffeine and chocolate is always good :)


James Turner                   UIN: 1102038

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