PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

A late World War II game which attempts to balance historical realism with a tactically complex model of battle.

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ThinkSome
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PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by ThinkSome » 29 Apr 2017, 17:40

As you may or may not be aware, there have been ~4 autohosts hosting two nonexistant versions of Spring: 1944 for months:

Code: Select all

0+1/16 | s44notAhost001 | Spring 1944 beta-170108 | 1944_Cooper_Hill_v3 | developers of the WWII (CE) |
0+1/16 | s44notAhost002 | Spring 1944 2.31 | 1944_Moro_River_V1 | Europe at War
1+3/16 | s44notAhost003 | Spring 1944 2.31 | 1944_Cooper_Hill_v3 | Europe at War - Veterans
0+1/16 | s44notAhost005 | Spring 1944 2.31 | 1944_Kiev_V4 | North America at War - Veterans
On these autohosts users of other lobbies could not play without downloading their unofficial version manually. This has changed recently in that PepeAmpere had uploaded "Spring: 1944 2.31" to springfiles (http://springfiles.com/spring/games/spring-1944-2 ) supposedly with the blessing of "active S44 devs". I find this hard to believe as the same "active devs" could easily have made a release commit in the main repo.

I am certain that by doing this, PepeAmpere/NOTA team had violated Spring's policy on forks (by not picking a clearly distinct name and versioning scheme): https://springrts.com/wiki/Licenses_For ... d_mutators:

Further, what they are doing may violate at least the GPL in at least one way in addition to violating Spring's fork policy ( https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.ht ... edVersions ): "The GPL requires the maker of a version to place his or her name on it, to distinguish it from other versions and to protect the reputations of other maintainers.".

Additionally, PepeAmpere[NOTA] asked me (unsuccessfully) to take down the 2.0 autohost (latest stable of Spring:1944) with the justification that 2.0 is not the latest release and provided their 2.31 hosts as "proof" of this alternative fact. This was long before they uploaded 2.31 to springfiles and made it downloadable by players of other lobbies (than proprietary NotaLobby).

git battleroom log 2016-12-02 (PepeAmpere[NOTA] selling 2.31 as the latest stable): https://bpaste.net/show/8d40b4936c7e

On the preceeding day, PepeAmpere[NOTA] again violated Spring's policy on forks:
2.0 battleroom log 2016-12-01 (PepeAmpere[NOTA] promoting his fork in existing game infrastructure): https://bpaste.net/show/e84617b15e97


What do I want to achieve with this post?
1) I want these violations to cease and for there to be no more violations in the future
2) I want clarification on who those "active S44 devs" are.
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Silentwings
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Silentwings » 29 Apr 2017, 19:08

The S44 repo is active - https://github.com/spring1944/spring1944/commits/master and "2.31" does not seem to be among the released versions - https://github.com/spring1944/spring1944/releases

Could a developer of S44 confirm (either in this thread or to me in pm) if the autohosts "s44notAhost001/002/003" currently running on the lobbyserver
(a) are wanted by S44?
(b) if they are in keeping with Springs policy on forks? (https://springrts.com/wiki/Licenses_Forking_Mutators)
(c) if any licenses are broken by the existence of these hosts/versions?

It would also be good to hear a response from PepeAmpere[NOTA] as to where these hosts/versions came from.
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FLOZi
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by FLOZi » 29 Apr 2017, 19:39

Pepe has approached myself and Nemo regarding releasing S44 on Steam for a small sum, the answer was no.

The 'current version' vis a vis the guidelines of the original S44 is, afaiac the current rapid version generated from the Spring 44 github master branch, and that is what is played by the S44 community in #s44. Version 2.0 was the last release of a sd7 build but really that's just because auto download of bleeding-edge rapid through the lobby is superior.

I am not opposed to S44 forks but the versions running on the NOTA hosts clearly in my view violate the versioning constraints ('2.31'). I am also unaware of what content changes they offer vs. master or the (very outdated) version 2.0 'Operation Overlord' release.

I can't speak for everyone else (at the very least Nemo, yuritch & JAL have some knowledge of Pepe's Steam proposals) so it is difficult to answer a and c for definite, but b is clearly a problem.
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Forboding Angel » 29 Apr 2017, 23:27

WTF? Operation overlord is ancient (am I incorrect? I remember this being announced like a year ago if not more)... They used that as a base??? :roll:
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Silentwings
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Silentwings » 30 Apr 2017, 09:40

FLOZi wrote:I can't speak for everyone else
It's still not clear what has happened here - perhaps the S44 devs could talk to each other and then answer (a) and (c) with certainty?

Aside from the attribution requirements etc of GPL, I have also not been able to find a license file for S44 artwork - is there one? (Thanks.)
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frju365
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by frju365 » 30 Apr 2017, 09:51

Hello,
Apparently only Lua code is under GPLv2 License. Everything else is under the CC-BY-NC license.

See : https://github.com/spring1944/spring194 ... icense.txt
and : https://github.com/spring1944/spring1944/issues/201

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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by FLOZi » 30 Apr 2017, 12:52

Silentwings wrote:
FLOZi wrote:I can't speak for everyone else
It's still not clear what has happened here - perhaps the S44 devs could talk to each other and then answer (a) and (c) with certainty?

Aside from the attribution requirements etc of GPL, I have also not been able to find a license file for S44 artwork - is there one? (Thanks.)

Only yuri has OK'd the steam release and still doesn't know any details of wtf they are actually doing with 2.31.
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code_man
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by code_man » 30 Apr 2017, 17:00

Jal was indifferent as far as i remember.

Any other actual devs left?
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by hokomoko » 30 Apr 2017, 21:41

I defer to the judgement of FLOZi & Nemo
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Silentwings
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Silentwings » 01 May 2017, 09:19

Ok, it seems clear that the hosts and "2.31" are not wanted/known by S44 devs, and could easily confuse S44 users by posing as S44 endorsed hosts.

It also seems clear that the 2.31 release fails to satisfy the "no endorsement" requirement of CC-BY-NC (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by ... lcode#s3a1), and that the claim on its SF page of "Distributed with blessing of active S44 devs" is not true, since it fails to represent the view of most, and possibly all, S44 devs. The 2.31 release also fails the "attribution" requirements of GPL & CC-BY-NC, since its Credits.txt and related files make no effort to show that any changes were made from the original archive.

We'll wait a week for PepeAmpere[NOTA] to respond or talk to S44 devs again. Unless there is a serious effort to follow https://springrts.com/wiki/Licenses_Forking_Mutators, at that point I'll remove the hosts.
Only yuri has OK'd the steam release
Is this supposed to be taken as a signal that a Steam greenlight version is not wanted either by S44? As long as a "Steam fork" was not planning to use Springs infrastructure, I think it is a matter for the licenses.

(Fwiw, Steam greenlight is not free, and the primary purpose of Steam is commercial, with even the free games helping to attract customers into Steam, so its not clear to me if a game with lots of CC-BY-NC content would be accepted by Steam - I suspect they have a policy on it somewhere but I have not tried to find out. Iirc, Steam greenlight is also shutting down quite soon.)
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by abma » 02 May 2017, 06:16

without a clarification of spring 1944 devs this clearly is a license / community rule violation.

means: it should be deleted from springfiles and the autohosts banned.

i expect a public ok from the spring 1944 devs very soon (post here in forum or on github issues) or i delete the files + ban the autohosts.

https://github.com/spring1944/spring1944/issues/219
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by gajop » 02 May 2017, 07:02

Can we wait a bit (e.g. the one week Silentwings suggested) to hear from Pepe before going nuclear? (I don't think there is an imminent need to remove those autohosts?)

I've sent Pepe an email, so that should hopefully bring his attention to this forum.
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PepeAmpere
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by PepeAmpere » 03 May 2017, 04:09

Hi, at beginning I will write some background so even people who hear about this first time are informed about whole story and after that I try to provide all facts I have.

Basic intention and motivation: What the hell "NOTA team" is doing?

People from notAlab are openly trying to prepare the distribution of spring game Spring 1944 which is as much as possible easy to use by mainstream user regards many aspects of user friendliness. Distribution created by us should not be fork, mutator or any other derivation of the game. It is supposed to be polished and tested release based on actual developer versions. It is supposed to be done with blessing of active devs of the game - without that we see no point to do that. (more about blessing and alternative scenarios below).

Why you should want do that? Another evil plan of nota guys???

We do that because we like Spring 1944, we think it is great game and it deserves bigger player base. Sure, this is not our only motivation. Other motivation examples, maybe too honest for this forum:
  • current players get more opponents to play with (I can imagine many benefits of bigger player base which does not need to be described)
  • we want to attract people to Spring in general (which is part of usual agenda last years - e.g. Spring jams, GDS 2016, BETS AI tool, making Spring part of bachelors and masters curriculums on czech universities, etc.) We think that attention of this kind can be one of the ways to attract not just new game devs, but also engine devs - generally new blood.
  • we want to prove some new concepts with our lobby (yes, benefit only for notAlab!)
  • we want to get and share some experience with exposing Spring engine based game to the wide audience a professional way (we think not only ZERO-K can do that)
  • we can do that relatively easy because all game content is legal, its game mechanics are ready and except some UI improvements the game as whole is very close to release (=> the plan is realistic, in reasonable time)
You can argue or disagree with any of points, but I think all of them are at least not immoral and I hope I prove below that they are also legit, legal and also acceptable from perspective of the Spring community.

Flozi says your plan was to do that to make money.

Flozi is right in fact that during the planning we were considering to do a release on Steam which would generate some small money (more as a marketing tool, less as a gold mine ;)). I tried to contact all developers which took part on content making in s44 until i reached Flozi which strictly refused the idea. Since that moment (I think it was Nov-Dec 2016) I stopped to hunt remaining content devs and from that time monetization of any kind of the game was no longer an option.

What Flozi (im not sure if intentionally) do not expose in comment here was the idea that most of the money (>80%) generated by any kind of release would be sent directly to the Spring community maintenance & Spring 1944 devs (in some reasonable ratio). Also I think it was clear for him that we have kind of well discussed support in our effort from other reachable Spring 1944 devs, so I have no idea why this is taken in question especially by him.

So what kind of support? Tell us your version about the stances of Spring 1944 devs

I try to be short here:
  • We announced our plan to active devs in Sep 2016 - we considered as active dev yuritsch and JAL in that time, also we contacted Nemo about his opinion. All three mentioned people were supporting the effort in general (the motivation), there were detail discussions about what tools are appropriate but there was no major problem seen opposing the idea (or JAL did not care much).
  • I tried to contact Flozi with plan about monetization - once it was refused and I have seen no special interest from his side, I kept the future relation towards this developer following the license rules.
  • Before GDS 2016 (October 2016) where the Spring 1944 was first time shown to the game dev audiance and journalists we created this trello board which captures all our effort in getting the good distribution of the game: https://trello.com/b/3HG4uzst/ - on this site all our accomplishments and advances could be seen without any restriction and anyone with account is allowed to comment anything we do there.
  • on notAlab project page - http://notalab.com/projects/s44-release-support-2016/ - we are also announcing the latest milestones completion which is linking given trello board
  • there is always available our repository where we construct our "beta" builds and "stable" releases based on latest dev versions - https://bitbucket.org/notalab/game - from history you can see that in beta branch from which the stables are created there is nothing more that dev stuff with our version signature for notAlab hosted servers. It is not fork, it is just production branch kept on different git-host because of production automation reasons.
  • we created credits screen in lobby in quality which given game deserves https://trello.com/c/AlvQWV4r/ - this is our tribute to all people working on project and this way we show the respect to their work, do not steal anything from them and also fulfill some licenses demands in far better scope than some forgotten "readme.txt" somewhere in game archive.
  • In October 2016 - Jan 2017 period (later we were busy with other projects) we were literally constantly bombarding any player in S44 battlerooms with news from development, asking for suggestions to our distribution package, we were rapidly improving support for lobby (e.g. git dev builds of game hosting, UI improvements regards players comments, adding easy-to-use idiot-proof skirmish, making great game trailer). In this period there could not be player of this game who would miss our intents, our communication or any kind of our presence. Yes, thinksome, including you and frju. You know our links, you know our intentions.
  • We invited Nemo on GDS 2016 to discuss personally some aspects of our plan with him. As many of you he questioned our notAlobby source-doctrine but regards the plan with Spring 1944 his stance was clear: once you follow the licenses and do not try to fuck up with other people who worked on s44, he was supporting it. Nemo, correct me if Im wrong :).
  • To make sure our intentions are clear and also future relations of s44 devs and notAlab are clear, we created public declaration of our future relation with the project devs https://trello.com/c/ioxM9dFa/ (created Feb 8, 2017) which anyone is still able to comment and affect because this is still in process as you can see in status. In that proclamation you can see that our intent is to get written confirmation of support of active devs and even (not mandatory, but really wanted) support as many people which have any relation with s44 (as players or retired developers). Htere is explicitly stated that our role in "development" is mainly the release management and support to players - we are not supposed to change the game rules (=derive the game in any way).
  • Also we did attempts to reach the official s44 page with announcement of our coop (one todo point in https://trello.com/c/ioxM9dFa/) and place links to our dev boards, release repository and other feeds there, but because there 2 or 3 s44 "official pages" actually, we were not sure where we should contribute, yet. (still in process)
Some people can say we could do more but at the same time we are limited by other peoples interest to communicate. I tired to do my best in time-budget I had so our actions were as much as possible coordinated with what we can call "s44 community". There is always some reasonable effort you can invest and im not sure if more effort would change anything. All the time - if we noticed we do not have personal support, we for sure are strictly following all rules based on licenses (code and content) and also rules based on community definitions like https://springrts.com/wiki/Licenses_Forking_Mutators.

Recap regards main points reported as problems
  • we have autohosts, game repo public, all open source
  • we don't earn money from anything
  • we have support from active developers who spent the most of the dev time with game in last year, also we have conditional support from Nemo :)
  • we are sad we don't have Flozi in gang supporting us :) but we follow all rules he defined by his license. We respect his major contribution in project and his opinion is important for us.
  • namely we respect and follow all instances of GPL or CC licenses we found in the content (or its docu)
  • I was explicitly allowed by yuritch to do 2.31 release which was based on latest dev branch. It is available on springfiles so anyone can get it and use it. repository from which the build was created is public
  • majority of players have no problem with us
  • there are some less active devs or some active players which didn't give us blessings but we try to communicate with them openly, we do not try to trick them, we respect their right to disagree and in our policy there is no intentional action to "make their lives harder" or even in general "make them unhappy". As we said above our premise is "good relations" with Spring 1944 devs because we are not forking the game, we just do the production work => getting game as it is created by current devs to people. We are not able to finalize the release without good relations with s44 devs. There is no point to do anything against their will.
  • Noone proved, yet, that we did anything against will of active s44 devs, actually I proved opposite thing including screenshots with yuritch's personal permisions to do some actions (trello links above). From my knowledge, correct me if im wrong, i do not see thinksome here https://github.com/spring1944/spring194 ... ntributors as active core developer. If we are violating something, it is thinksome's opinion.
This is our legitimacy to do stable release and host server with given release.

So what about thinksome?

The story is quite simple for me.
  • He hates notAlobby and through that argument all related to it is bad. I hope that we made clear here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=34014 that since agreement there is followed notAlobby is formally and practically OK from Spring community perspective and it should not be reason for any restriction of people or projects related to it.
  • I see some practically rivality between him and us. Since last year thinksome was the only provider of s44 rooms (with admin rights and practical control over all setups there), he had some control over what we can call "s44 community". Once there are "competing" autohosts where hes just ordinary user, It is degradation for him.
  • He insist on seeing stable release commits in repository of his choice. In ideal world I would agree with him, but real situation forced us to have all automated build setups on one repository provider. I consider it as minor issue and thinksome's demand slightly as an excuse. If source code is open, he can check and see whatever he wants in codebase of production branch.
  • Beeing silent about all facts I mentioned above in this thread initial post is prove for me this blame is partly personal revenge or at least unfair hit.
Result?
  • I respect that all people have right to question our approach, especially those which are not informed in detail about our last actions in last 8 months.
  • I'm glad that you were able to wait some time before going nuclear :mrgreen: I have bunch of other duties in real life so I was not in Spring universum last week to react as fast as maybe needed.
  • I hope we proved that core of the blame - that we do something behind s44 devs backs - is disgusting lie and all comments based on this assumption are then invalid.
  • Thinksome, I consider the way you solved your problem as poor. What about confronting me first personally before you drag the issue directly to this flamewar arena?
So judges (moderators and admins),

As representative of notAlab I let the judgment on you and we will respect your decision. If my arguments are not enough and you have any problem with the situation as it is, please suggest us some solution which will make it more acceptable for you.

As I said we prefer talks, not fights and bans. Our intention was to get some benefits for us, s44 and Spring (for all three groups at the same time) and we really tried to avoid problems. I hope you appraise our continuous constructive approach (record of our communication is the best prove) compared to destruction (bans, disable, remove,...) which is what I only see at our opponent.
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FLOZi
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by FLOZi » 03 May 2017, 08:13

Actually you have conditional support from me too, as I said in our original conversation ( http://paste.springfiles.com/view/397c34ba ), I just don't think anyone will play it. As for selling for money (regardless of the destination of those funds) it simply isn't possible with the current license and I (at the very least) would oppose changing it. Many contributors are impossible to now contact http://paste.springfiles.com/view/48abbda2. <-Last I heard (via nemo) you were going to try this with Cursed.


You clearly have broken the wiki guidelines though you may have been unaware of them.

Please rename 2.31 as it is incredibly misleading, that is really the basis of the argument here.

It's still unclear what changes are in 2.31 and which developer version exactly it was based off.
[18:48:57] <[S44]FLOZi> JAL what is your knowledge of Pepe's 2.31?
[18:57:35] <JAL> no clue, never tried it , i heard its old
If it were your intention to use current develop of s44, your steam version should be a github fork or even branch that can then send pull requests to master as in the long term that is what will be updated and bugs fixed etc.
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PicassoCT
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by PicassoCT » 03 May 2017, 13:23

You can sell GPL products, aka, you dont sell the product, but the service of providing it. Even Stallmann pushes that.
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FLOZi
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by FLOZi » 03 May 2017, 18:52

PicassoCT wrote:You can sell GPL products, aka, you dont sell the product, but the service of providing it. Even Stallmann pushes that.
The code is not the issue, the artwork is.
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Super Mario
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Super Mario » 03 May 2017, 19:10

PicassoCT wrote:You can sell GPL products, aka, you dont sell the product, but the service of providing it. Even Stallmann pushes that.
Copywrite art is in question, not code.
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by PicassoCT » 03 May 2017, 19:57

Fucking artists, eh
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by Nemo » 03 May 2017, 22:18

Hey folks,

Sorry to let this blow up into a confrontation, might have avoided it if I were a little more in-touch.

Pepe has been in contact with S44 devs about doing a release on steam. We determined that we wanted to keep with the NC portion of the art asset license, so a for-money release is out. Free is fine, though. This is cool!

I think the main confusion is that nobody was clear about which entity is 'upstream' for S44: Pepe, this is my bad, and I apologize for the mix-up. By historical continuity of repository, developers, and playerbase, S44 upstream is the people who hang out in #s44 and push to github.com/spring1944/spring1944. Thus, Pepe, we're onboard with notALab's work with S44 (personally I'm excited, even :)), but for released versions please clarify in the name that it is a fork or derived work from upstream S44. Call it "Spring: 1944 Steam Edition", or any other branding that you like.

Alternatively, if you'd prefer to keep things on a single brand, I think S44 folks would be happy to accept pull requests from your work, and if that looks like a productive relationship, escalate to granting a commit bit on S44 master. Additionally, if you'd like to contribute directly upstream, JAL, Buumi, and Yuri will work with you to cut releases on a schedule that suits your needs. We all want S44 to improve as a game and as a community of players, and I think we'll make more progress, faster, if everyone is pulling in the same direction.

So, TL;DR:
  • if you want to hack at 100% velocity, that's totally fine (we <3 forks), just please make sure you release your work using a name that makes it clear it isn't the same as upstream S44.
  • If you'd rather keep everything under a single name, S44 people will be glad to work with you on pull requests and releases.
Anyone involved: feel free to ping me on the lobby (I might not respond right away, but I will 100% get the message and get back to you) if there's anything that needs clarification.
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Re: PepeAmpere[NOTA]/NOTA team takeover of Spring:1944 and breaking rules and violating the GPL

Post by PepeAmpere » 04 May 2017, 23:45

Hi, thanks for reactions.

outcomes:
  • Renaming is not problem for us and if stronger naming distinction will avoid confusion, lets do that. Historically we were also thinking about some different code name for steam releases so we can go forward with that. In general our intention was to keep same brand to stress out we don't do any kind of game-play changes and release (built by us) is just pure s44 - but naming of production build (technical naming which is not necessary shown to players) is not as important - so we will change it.
  • I'll make new release under new code name, remove 2.31 from springfiles and rehost autohosts.
  • Current "beta" branch from which the releases are derived was planned to be re-committed to original repository but when I last tried in December I was missing some rights on github (my push was rejected), same with access to the webpage/news channels. We can discuss that with whoever has some admin rights on those places for some solution how to integrate the communication and updates.
We will ping you :)
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