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RE: [Bug-gnubg] Re: Using GNU engine for NetGammon cyber players

From: macherius
Subject: RE: [Bug-gnubg] Re: Using GNU engine for NetGammon cyber players
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 13:22:28 +0100

IANAL^3, and here are my 0.02.

First I think it is a fair act of Pierre to ask the question at all, it
would not have been required by the GPL.

Second, I think a compensation of whatever kind to the long time gnubg
hackers is just a matter of decency and manners. However, that's fully
outside the GPL, which deals with software licensing and not with people.
Still, a BG-playing bot on a gameserver is not unlike a machine printing

Thirdly, if I had to summarize the GPL as briefly as possible, it would be:
"Do whatever you like, but the sources are belong to us".

So rather than money Pierre could offer code. The borderline is where GnuBG
ends and the bot begins: at the interface level. So if netgammon worked in
that area, it should give back the code for inclusion into the CVS. 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: address@hidden 
> [mailto:address@hidden On Behalf 
> Of Nis Jorgensen
> Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 12:45 PM
> To: Øystein Johansen
> Cc: Pierre Labbé; gnubg (E-mail)
> Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] Re: Using GNU engine for NetGammon 
> cyber players
> Øystein Johansen wrote:
> > Hello Pierre!
> > 
> > Thanks for your request. I think the license question have 
> been raised 
> > before, many many years ago when GamesGrid wanted to create 
> bots for 
> > their service.
> > 
> > IANAL, but I believe using calculations and results from a GPLed 
> > program inside a commercial product should be legal 
> according to the 
> > GPL, so I guess it would be ok from a GPL viewpoint.
> IA also NAL, but I think it is pretty clear that the GPL 
> allows this. As long as NetGammon is not going to distribute 
> the software, they can more or less do whatever they like with it.
> This however illuminates to me what seems to be a big problem 
> with the GPL: you don't have to distribute the source code if 
> you don't distribute the executable. Basically you can give 
> people access to a copy running on one of your machines 
> through a web interface, terminal or other interface - 
> without having to publicize any modifications or other 
> derivative works (including larger works containing parts of 
> the GPL-covered program). This seems to go against the spirit 
> of the GPL.
> Please note that I do not believe that NetGammon using gnubg 
> for the indicated purpose is against the spirit of the GPL. I 
> do believe that NetGammon is morally (but not legally) 
> obliged to contribute any modifications back to the project.
> > The project does not receive ant fees from GamesGrid or 
> Paul Magriel 
> > either the the service they are providing, so I guess we 
> can't accept 
> > a fee from you either. The project doesn't have any economy at all, 
> > and all contributions are done by volunteers. It has been 
> discussed if 
> > we should have some kind of economy/found for the project but I 
> > believe we have partly rejected it since it may lead to internal 
> > arguments.
> >
> > I suggest, as a fair compensation for usage of GNU 
> backgammon at your 
> > gaming server, that the GNU Backgammon developers and maintainers 
> > receive a free lifetime membership at your server. I 
> addition a nice 
> > positive description of the GNU Backgammon project with a link to 
> > www.gnubg.org at your web pages. Does that sound fair?
> Since the GPL gives NetGammon the RIGHT to use the program, I 
> don't think they should feel in any way obliged to give 
> anything to the developers, more than normal users do. So in 
> short I think the above suggestion is unfair (although 
> NetGammon are of course free to follow it).
> /Nis
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