AGPL, was RE: [vworld-tech] Modern MUD server design

Patrick Dughi dughi at
Thu Jan 22 15:25:13 PST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: vworld-tech-bounces at
[mailto:vworld-tech-bounces at] On
> Behalf Of Jeremy Noetzelman
> Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 2:38 PM
> To: vworld-tech
> Subject: RE: [vworld-tech] Modern MUD server design
> On Thu, 22 Jan 2004, Patrick Dughi wrote:
> > 	There has been sort of a minor revolution, though I can't point
> > to the roots of it; there is much emphasis by NONE of the major
> > to make the next version of the GPL the 'Affero' license, found
> >  I've gone into some depth with
the ..
> > poor wording, and lack of definition with this license which is, in
> > nutshell, GPL with the same rights for users of network software as
> > those who execute the software.
> >
> > 	In other words, if a MUD were put under the Affero license, any
> > player can require that you provide them the current existing code,
> > of course any additional software, code, or mechanisms required to
> > it 'go'.  It doesn't specifically cover data files, scripts, or
> > items, so those are up in the air.
> This isn't consistent with a reading of the license itself or the FAQ.
> would seem it only applies when the program (MUD in this case) has a
> facility to download the source:
>	<Q&A clipped out>
> This would seem to indicate that if the Affero GPL licensed code you
> has a 'download source' button, then you have to provide the source to
> entire work.  Otherwise, it's no different from the GPL.

	Sorry, I over generalized, but this was one of the points of
contention that I had with the individual I was working with.  The
problems with this statement are that the opportunity to request or
built in facility are poorly defined.

	It is quite obvious when an individual puts a 'download here'
button in their software.  It may be odious to many to provide a working
copy of your own personal source code (instead of the original author's)
but that is the goal of the Affero License; to ensure that any and all
changes to your software are made available to you.

	However, it's not quite so clear what that refers to with an
interactive environment.  For example, on any given RPG, I may have the
opportunity to say the owner/administrator "I request transmission of
the source code for this Program".  I know this seems like a stupid
complaint, it's obviously not what they intended (I hope..), however it
is -at least in the legalese - one valid scenario, since opportunity and
facility were not restricted to, say, chat.

	To take it to a mindlessly stupid extreme, one could argue that
the placement of an email address provides one with an opportunity to
request transmission of the source code, since it does.  Again, this is
not directly in the spirit of things, but I would bet that most judges,
being not so very computer savvy, and the questionable legal validity of
such a vague addendum would probably say, "You had an opportunity to
request it, and you did, you must follow the license".

> I do know that lots of people are pushing for the GPLv3 to treat
> users the same, but this AGPL isn't it.

	I had heard of, and was watching the development of GPLv3.  In
fact, I was directing some questions to licensing at, but it
appears that this is sort of an electronic hurdy-gurdy, and you never
know what comes out, or who's going to answer.  The most recent replies
came from an individual who was ~STRONGLY~ pushing for everyone to use
the AFERO, and claimed it would be the next (v3) GPL.  I was confused
because I was pretty sure it wasn't, but he was very insistent that it
is/was v3.  

	Apparently, the licensing at has no sort of regulation or
control, it's apparently somewhat of a personal opinion hotline that's
redirected to individuals who've worked with/for the FSF (like finding
GPL violations).   

	As I noted initially when bringing this up, no one of any
reputation that I know by name has advanced the affero license.  If RMS
said something, I'm sure I'd have heard.  He didn't, as far as I know,
and so I discounted much of the correspondence as opinion.

> I could, of course, be wrong, as IANAL.

	Neither am I, but I spent a decent bit of time working with
different licenses, especially the GPL.  I'm waiting for v3 of the GPL
to come out so I can finally have a good reason to start my "Make
DikuMud GPL" campaign again.  The only thing that's holding everyone
back right now is; they want to insure they show up in the splash screen
when the game starts (though their 'license' is supported more by good
will than legal effectiveness).


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