[MUD-Dev] Diku & GPL

Jon Lambert tychomud at ix.netcom.com
Tue Dec 5 10:26:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


Patrick Dughi wrote:
> 
> <EdNote: Please, no license wars>
>

Oh Pooh! ;-)


>	As a few of you may be aware, a while back I had approached the
> original creators of DikuMUD, asking if they would consider re-releasing
> the DikuMUD codebase with a GPL license to replace their own license.  As
> a sideline to this, I attempted to track down the listed owners/creators
> of every publicly released derivitive of DikuMUD to ask for their support
> - as they would have to re-release their code in GPL. 

What was the result?  
 
> 	This ends up with a sad situation; the pay MUDS have money, and
> they use it to hire programmers, to make more money, etc..  Free muds -
> for the most part - depend on volunteer labor and time.  Massive amounts
> of both.  That's just to run on a day to day basis.  More if they're
> actually expanding.  On a production level, it's very difficult to
> compete, and lets face it, that's what's happening.
>

There are at least a dozen publically available codebases that are 
amenable to commercial exploitation.  Some are GPLed.  Some are free.
Some are licensible.  Why the concentration on Diku and Diku-derived
servers?  

> 	As luck would have it, it is possible to simply provide a choice:
> Either use the Diku license, or use GPL.  This is the choice that
> the individual distribtors would have to make, and where applicable,
> current Users of the many different (including Diku itself) codebases.
>
> 	It is an either-or choice though, and does have to be made.  The
> default of course, would be the existing Diku license.

No this is illegal and dare I suggest unethical.  
There isn't any way one can GPL a DIKU derivative codebase short of
the Diku authors GPLing it themselves.

> The choice seems to rest with
> the DikuMUD team, and then potentially with the individual distributors.

The former.  The latter cannot remove restrictions placed by the former
they can only add additional restrictions.

> 	This also needs to be cleared up.

No.  Copyright law is not murky.  It is not untested or uncharted 
waters.  It is crystal clear.  I've already posted several 
references on this exact topic in r.g.m.d.  You cannot force someone 
to GPL their code.  GPLing modifications to an original work does not 
give you permission to violate the license to that original work 
because modifications plus that original work created a derivative work 
which is still under the original license. 

--
--* Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD        Email:jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com *--
--* Mud Server Developer's Page <http://tychomud.home.netcom.com> *--
--* If I had known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.*--

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