[MUD-Dev] code base inquiry

J C Lawrence claw at cp.net
Thu Nov 18 14:53:24 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:39:33 -0700 
Ben Greear <greear at cyberhighway.net> wrote:

> My personal opinion (and I have been living in a cave of my own
> construction for several years) is that text based MUDS are in a
> decline, and have been for years, even as the rest of the NET has
> expanded.  Although I do not know the answer, I wonder if the huge
> number of forks in the MUD tree is part of this decline.  

Certainly the rate of forks which have significant user bases seems
to have declined mightily in the last 5 years.  Instead we know of a
comparitively large number of new code bases, none of which has a
significant user base that I know of.  In looking at product life
cycles this either indicates that MUD servers are about to become an
assumable commodity, or that we are at the precipice of a major
paradigm shift for MUD servers.

I know which of the two I prefer.  Unfortunately I suspect the other
is more likely although ew're long overdue for a massive paradigm
shift.

> Because advances are not shared back into the community, I believe
> much effort is wasted on the mundane, where as a GPL type license
> seems to keep branching to a minimum and maximize the collective
> efforts of many.

Otherwise known as the "norming" force created by the fact that
maintaining a fork's currency against a moving main target becomes
increasingly, and eventually critically difficult the larger the
project and the more rapid its development.

> However, from personal experience, the GPL is not a magic bullet.

Yup.  Community involvement requires their being a participatory
community in the first place.  Throwing your doors open and posting
a sign, "Come work here!  Free!" isn't usually the sign of a party.
You have to have an itch _and_ a community.

> I have released Scry and it's client under the GPL for over a year
> now, and though there have been many downloads, and I know ppl are
> running the server, at least on their own machine to see how it
> works, I have had little in the way of patches offered from the
> field.  On the other hand, many people do comment that they really
> do like that it's under the GPL, and several coders have joined my
> own server project and have contributed some useful code.

The fact that you have others joining the project however is
encouraging.

> It was also interesting to see how the MUD-DEV project burned so
> bright, but flamed out so quickly.  

Ahem.  DevMUD.  MUD-Dev is this list.  

> Too many indians, not enough chiefs, no benevolent dictator, and I
> think the fact that so few of us really want to work for others
> when we could implement our own thing killed it.  We as a
> mud-developer community just seem too set in our ways, busy, or
> otherwise introverted to be able to collaborate on a meaningfull
> project.  

The Trove project is another good comparable.  There the lack is
fairly clear: Nobody is leading the fray by actually going out
there, putting their neck on the line, and writing code, more code,
and lots of code, and thereby establishing a fact and history of
forward motion for the project.

You can't gain any momentum if nobody actualy does anything for any
length of time.

--
J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                            Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...


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