Re: Circlemud/diku Licence

From: StormeRider (
Date: 07/19/00

>My intent was only at clarification, not to make the license more
>restrictive.  To give you some context, at the time I wrote this
>license I was an active reader and occasional contributor to
>, where there were constant flamewars between and
>about people who were charging for using DikuMUDs.  The flamewars were
>idiotic, and the people who were charging for use were generally just
>assholes.  They were clearly violating the *spirit* of the Diku
>license and trying to weasel their way out of being held accountable
>by trying to argue that their actions were not specifically forbidden
>by the *letter* of the license.
>I was so angry that I decided just to amend the Diku license and
>*specifically* ban activities that, at the time, were generally
>regarded as bad things.  Looking back on it now, 7 years later, I
>would say that in my attempt to do this, I probably went a too far and
>ended up making the license too restrictive.

Alas, I think I have to agree with that.

>Also, I've mellowed a lot in my old age.

Don't we all? :)

> >Not trying to be harsh, but if you're pro-GPL, and you're on the subject,
> >perhaps you can explain this one for me. :) And while I might still dislike
> >it, perhaps I can understand and live better with it.
>This is easy to answer.  Yes, today I'm pro-GPL, but:
>   1) The Circle license was intended to be a clarification of the Diku
>      license, and no matter what I say or do you still have the
>      restrictions that come from Diku

Agreed and understood.

>   2) My attitude about free and open-source software was significantly
>      different in 1993 than it is now.
>But today, yes, I'm absolutely pro-GPL.  As I said in my previous
>email on the subject, I would definitely use a plain GPL license if I
>was writing a MUD from scratch today.  The fact that all the other
>software on my home page is GPL testifies to this fact.  (The
>exception is software I wrote for the US Government, which has license
>encumberances that prevent me from giving it away to anonymous users,
>but which you can get a copy of through the Freedom of Information Act
>if you really wanted any of it.)

Heh. Interesting. :)

>Legally, I don't know if one is allowed to retroactively make licenses
>less restrictive.  I'm pretty sure you can't make licenses *more*
>restrictive retroactively, but I'm not sure if it is allowed in
>reverse.  If so, maybe that's what I'll do (to the limits imposed by
>the Diku license -- unless the Diku people also want to join me.)

That's a very interesting question. I am in the same boat as you. I tend to
think that ultimately the person who wrote the license still has complete
and utter control over the license to change it as they see fit.

The only recent case that I can think of something along these lines is
MySQL. MySQL originally had a license that was "free-for-all" on the
UNIX side (for the most part) and "pay-per-use" on the Windows side.
MySQL is now released under the GPL. Not to push you into researching
this, but if it's something you're looking at, TCX would probably be able
to help you understand some of the technical/logistical issues involved.

>Of course, the whole matter seems almost academic anyway, because I
>seriously doubt anyone will actually be willing to go to court over
>this issue.  Current users of CircleMUD do the right thing (or, don't
>do the right thing) for reasons other than threat of legal action.

Agreed. But as a user who wants to abide by the rules and do the "right
thing" according to the rules, I would like to see this change. There have
already been times that I have wished that I could have done this, and, long
term, I expect this to resurface in the future.

Thanks for the response and consideration of this matter.


StormeRider             "Peace favor your code." 9000 ( 4008 (

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