Re: Circlemud/diku Licence

From: George Greer (
Date: 07/20/00

On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, Jeremy Elson wrote:

>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.

Always refreshing to hear someone claim a license is too restrictive today.
I'm used to buying myself a Playstation game and feeling lucky I'm allowed
to _play_ it. Of course, then you get a Japanese version and find you're
not. ;)

>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.

I'm the same way.  Even the niche Final Fantasy Tactics programs I wrote
are under the GPL.  In fact, I'm writing a bulletin board software package
right now to release under the GPL (with the Perl module dual-licensed
Artistic/GPL) just because UltimateBB and WWWThreads want so much
_per_year_ ($100-$250) for their software.  If you just purchase it, you do
not get upgrades.  I wasn't about to pay that much for a bulletin board so
I wrote one, in a week of man-hours. (Actually, my primary goal was to
flesh out my Perl module but releasing a free bulletin board on par with
their software sounds like a good idea to me.)

>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.)

UC Berkeley retroactively removed the "advertising clause" from the true
BSD license (software from UC Berkeley).

>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.

I'm all for retroactive GPL-ing if the people from Diku agree.

George Greer

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