[MUD-Dev] code base inquiry

Greg Miller gmiller at classic-games.com
Thu Nov 18 12:51:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> On 11:54 AM 11/17/1999 -0600, I personally witnessed Greg Miller jumping up
> to say:
> >
> >That's why I never release
> >anything as GPL--it smells too much like a legal trap designed to make
> >it look like generosity when it isn't. LGPL and MPL aren't so bad,
> >although I don't use them myself.
> I find that the major problem with the GPL is that it "infects" other
> programs. I'm also concerned about looking too much at such projects,

Yes, that's what I had in mind... Someone mentioned previously that a
lot of admins left the mudding community because their muds became to
expensive to be provided at no charge, yet they were already covered by
licenses that prevented them from accepting money. This is sort of the
same thing... You start using a utility or something, decide to pour
some work into, and eventually reach a point where you need to dump it
or sell it to justify your time investment. The GPL only allows one of
the two. MPL, on the other hand, allows you to distribute binaries
without distributing the source for sections of the program that are
entirely your own.

> because if I get an idea from some project released under the GPL it could
> technically be considered derivative. Therefore, I have to GPL it, or 
> an "enemy" of the always zealous, often militant, and sometimes completely
> irrational open source community.

Legally, there's nothing they can do, so I wouldn't worry about what a
few greedy teenagers on SlashDot have to say about it.

> This is one of the many reasons I have to hate intellectual property; if
> I've looked at games X and Y based on game Z which all use select() loops
> very similar to mine... how exactly do I prove that I didn't just copy
> theirs and make some minor changes? How many ways can you write a select()
> loop, for God's sake? One of them is the "right" solution. Intellectual
> property assumes guilt based on opportunity; if I have seen the source to
> codebase X, then I have been effectively barred from using whatever that
> codebase does without providing the appearance that I stole it from them...

I can't say I've ever heard of a plaintiff winning a case like that.
Copyright suits of this sort are extremely rare, and courts aren't too
horribly sympathetic to the plaintiff unless it's clear-cut copying.
Conspiracy theorists mistakenly assume others think before acting.
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