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

From: Pierre Labbé
Subject: RE : [Bug-gnubg] Re: Using GNU engine for NetGammon cyber players
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 10:18:41 -0500

Greetings Nis,

Thank you very much for your input in that matter.

I clearly understand that the distribution of the GNU backgammon
software is done exclusively via the GNU project. However, NetGammon
will aknowledge the work done by the GNU Backgammon creators. And for me
the best way to do that is to provide our players with a link to GNU
backgammon on our website. I must say that every time a player is asking
me for a good backgammon software I always suggest GNU first, even if we
are marketting a stand alone backgammon program, Goto Backgammon.
(Please don't tell that to my boss :-) )

As for the use of the GNU backgammon engine, it is soly to create cyber
players of different level. In fact they are not part of the NetGammon
program itself. As you may know we are currently the Snowie engine under
licence to run our Cyber players, exception made of CyberGammon. I am
pretty sure that our programming team will be happy to report to GNU
project any modification they had to make to create Cyber players with

Finaly, I don't feel oblige toward the developers, however if some want
to see what Netgammon looks like, I will be glad to create accounts for

If you need mor information about NetGammonj, feel free to contact me.


Pierre Labbé
NetGammon Customer Service Representative

-----Message d'origine-----
De : Nis Jorgensen [mailto:address@hidden 
Envoyé : Wednesday, February 09, 2005 6:45 AM
À : Øystein Johansen
Cc : Pierre Labbé; gnubg (E-mail)
Objet : 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


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