[MUD-Dev] Re: My vision for DevMUD
ApplePiMan at aol.com
ApplePiMan at aol.com
Tue Nov 3 21:22:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998
At 11/3/98 12:45 PM Jon Leonard (jleonard at divcom.slimy.com) altered the
fabric of reality by uttering:
>We've had at least one list member (ApplePiMan) state that anything stricter
>than PD would probably keep him from reusing the code. He also said that
>if he's lucky, he may be able to assign some (paid!) programmers to help.
Please recall I also asked that no one count on that in making decisions.
=) Things are still too much "up in the air" to say with any certainty
that such a thing will happen.
>Even if his business ventures don't work out the way we'd like, I think
>that's still a good indication that stricter licences would limit the
>audience for our code.
>So I think the legalese should say "Steal this Code", but extra text should
>recommend (without legal force) that code modifications be contributed back
>to the project, attributions maintained, etc.
I think that's your best bet.
Please note that I have no problem whatsoever with maintaining
attributions, nor even with contributing code back to the project to the
degree that my company's modifications allow (that is, modifications that
don't constitute the "essence" of what makes my commercial venture unique
-- if a modification would allow any Joe to come along and easily "clone"
what I'm doing, it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of making it
back to the project =) ). The problem is in having those things mandated,
and beyond that, in having to use the code under any sort of license
Suppose, for instance, the DevMUD team dissolves under acrimonious
circumstances. I don't anticipate that, but I don't think anyone could
refute it's a possibility, either. Suppose there is feuding over who
"owns" DevMUD then (and consequently, who administrates the license my
commercial venture is using). Or even just suppose that at some point
team consensus changes and it's decided that free commercial usage isn't
such a good idea. The terms of my future usage of DevMUD could change so
drastically that it was no longer feasible for me to use the code,
leaving me up the proverbial creek. Such a change could effectively be
forcing me out of business. The mere statistical possibility of that will
scare off most, if not all, commercial users, I would think.
If John Q. Public owns the code, those issues are no longer a concern.
Once it's PD, nothing you can do or say can alter my right to use it.
The alternative, which perhaps bears some consideration, is to explicitly
charge a fee, from the outset, for commercial usage. I, personally, would
still be too frightened to use DevMUD under those circumstances
(considering the roots of the project and the fact that, as I say, team
members could change); but at least it would give a commercial entity
recourse to the courts if the license changed in the future in such a way
as to effectively drive the entity out of business. That could tempt some
commercial entities without the in-house talent to build a DevMUD of
their own to license rather than hire the talent.
>Contributors are welcome to submit things under different licenses. They
>just run the risk of having them rewritten, or possibly ignored if the
>license is obnoxious enough.
Nod. I imagine you'll find DevCore and a very small handful of modules
(networking and such) to be about the only things with much commercial
usage. If someone in my position can get those things PD, then WHY NOT
use them? But beyond that, our (commercial users') individual visions had
best be unique enough (or we won't have many customers) that we're better
off "rolling our own".
However, I also suspect you'll find commercial users contributing back
some really cool modules. Ethical commercial users will see that as "only
fair." Ditto proper attribution of sources. Granted, you'll have some
unethical folks abusing the system; but, generally speaking, the
unethical won't be deterred by the existence of a license, either. =)
Rick Buck, President and CEO <mailto:rlb at big-i.com>
Beyond Infinity Games, Inc.
See you in The Metaverse! <http://www.big-i.com>
More information about the MUD-Dev