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RE: [Bug-gnubg] gnubg "personalities"

From: Ian Shaw
Subject: RE: [Bug-gnubg] gnubg "personalities"
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 10:35:04 +0100

Douglas Zare wrote on 07 July 2006 22:32
> I've contributed many ideas to gnubg, but I'd like to ask 
> that you not start working on this idea of mine before the 
> end of 2006. I'm pretty confident that this idea was not "in the air."
I think this is a reasonable request, and I don't think it would be a
great sacrifice on behalf of the gnubg team. It's only 6 months, and
there's plenty of other work in progress to improve gnubg in the
meantime. I doubt anyone would have started work on something like this
for a while anyway, but since the can of worms is now open, I'll dip in.

Others have pointed out that having multiple playing personalities in
games is not new, but it is my impression (accurate or no) that only
Douglas and the Zbot team have been seriously proposing it as part of a
backgammon bot. Douglas is trying to develop a commercial bot, and this
feature will be one of its selling points. We've known he's planned it
since 2004 at the latest, yet no gnubg developer has worked on the idea
yet. If I were he, I would be a mite disgruntled if, shortly after he
happens to mention it on GoL, the gnubg team pick up on the otherwise
dormant idea and develop it. That sort of response would be likely to
make him more reticent about sharing his ideas in future. 

I think the backgammon community is far richer for the open exchange of
ideas we have now. This mailing list is mainly for gnubg, but it is
probably fair to say that it is the de facto forum for ALL bg bot
development discussions. It's great when zbot and BgBlitz developers
post here, and it's a shame that Snowie plows a lone furrow.

The gnubg developers do a great job, and I am proud to make my small
contributions where I can. The gnubg project only works through respect
and co-operation, and I see no reason not to extend that to the wider
community. We should be taking steps to encourage rather than discourage
the emergence of another commercial bot - the ideas coming out of it
will no doubt drive the bg software world forward, as have the releases
of TD_gammon, Jellyfish and Snowie. I strongly doubt that gnubg would be
what it is today without those forerunners.

Douglas is not some faceless corporation. He and Walter Trice are
valuable members of the backgammon community, and out of respect for
them and their contribution I would be pleased to see the gnubg team
honour the request to hold off on the personality development for a
brief period. 

Gnubg is a free product - in the sense of "free will" - so individuals
are free to choose what they do with it, and I won't presume to demand
that you choose to behave as I want you to. Everyone will make their own
decision. For my part, I'll do what I think is right. I'm not a coder,
but I won't be contributing ideas, testing and bug reports on any
personality development until at least January 2007. 

Well, that was a longer post than I intended. It appears I have fairly
strong feelings on the matter.

Best regards,
Ian Shaw

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