Modelling power

I have finally posted my long planned piece, on the way Bioware adopted a permissive licence for their AD&D games at the turn of the century. In doing so they enabled a fan community to create content which increased the value of the game to all its customers and also the demand in volume for the game binaries, and the period over which it was used.

I had planned a Part II having come across Ludovico Prattico’s academic paper, Governance of Open Source Software Foundations: Who Holds the Power? which in the abstract he states,

The research reported in this article attempts to discover who holds the power in open source software foundations through the analysis of governance documents. Artificial neural network analysis is used to analyse the content of the bylaws of six open source foundations (Apache, Eclipse, GNOME, Plone, Python, and SPI) for the purpose of identifying power structures.

I was interested if his techniques could be applied to the Bioware licence and see what one might learn, by comparing the output with Prattico’s findings. He had looked at six open source licences so it would be interesting to see how the formal outputs compared. Prattico used additional documents beyond the licence and used the tool Catpac II, which sadly is not free. (I wonder of Carat II will do instead; I hope not because I was/am looking for something better than a bag of words.)

I also wondered if it could be used for analysing, describing other power relationships, such as national constitutions, or the Labour Party’s rules. The latter would be needed in text form which is not easy to find. …

Not so open, a Bioware take on open source

This article represents some thoughts on how copy-left and permissive licences create value. It uses the story of Bioware and it’s use of the D&D™ and Forgotten Realms™ games & mythos as an example. There are two recent news items that make this current: that the community repository for Neverwinter Nights has just shut, and that Wizards of the Coast have just released Dungeons & Dragons V5 rules as a free to use .pdf, a small but significant step to a freemium business model. The story shows how an initially traditional author-publisher business model, leveraged a pre-made community, grew it and latterly enabled it. The point of this story is the way in which community and value grew, becoming significant author contributors and the way in which Bioware responded and learnt although some might say not as quickly or as generously as they might.  …

MMORPG, making them massive

On my return from Hong Kong, I wrote a piece on Virtual Worlds, customising Open Source (or more accurately partially permissive) licences and a note on welfare economics and free software, originally published on my sun/oracle blog. I have republished it here as at the original date in July 2016. I have repaired (or deleted) the links, particularly for Project Wonderland, which I am pleased to see survived. The article starts by reflecting on Sun’s Project Darkstar, which was designed as a MMORPG platform. …