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leach off

LPUniversity Foundation

The LPUniversity Foundation was an umbrella community project that aspired to revive the LPC community through offering community driven services, offering mutual location for education, research, development, discussion and certification, preservation of the LPC programming language, community support, the development of standards, and a modern, collaboratively developed LPC mudlib.

LPUniversity was founded on April 2, 2005 by C.A. Wayne Somerville (also known as Tacitus in the MUD community) and undergone major developments since its establishment including several name changes, complete paradigm shifts, and direction changes. LPUniversity was still considered very young at its close but matured and developed quickly. The LPUniversity Foundation's last work was on developing and maturing its fundamental programs and services.

In November 2006, the head of LPUniversity abruptly left the project following various hosting problems and personality clashes. LPUniversity stalled, and it has now been declared "deader than dead" by its founder.

History

Early life

On January 11, 2005, Somerville proposed an update to the TMI-2 mudlib as it was no longer developed; Somerville admired the TMI-2 mudlib and the work it had accomplished in the previous decade. On the MudMagic forums, a mud community portal site, he made a post asking for advice on his envisioned project. In the post he asked if he should just make a small update or continue the project and if so then what should we call it. Unknown to Somerville at the time, his post would spark much attention and much controversy. It was almost immediately suggested to Somerville by other members of the LPC community that he should focus on the development of a new mudlib instead of an old one. Once rumours of a new mudlib circulated, many developers flocked to provide their insight and suggest features for the new mudlib.

In response to the burst of activity and interest, Somerville prepared and released a survey. After reviewing the results of the survey and discussion on MudMagic, Somerville tentatively planned to call his project TMI-3 with its primary focus on development of a mudlib, education, and development of the MudOS driver. The latter goal, development of the MudOS driver, was added on March 24th, 2005 when Robert W. Fuller (Also known as Edison in the mudding community), proposed that the project make use of his forked version of the MudOS driver. Somerville accepted the offer and continued to integrate it with his vision.

On April 2, 2005 Somerville started development on this new mudlib, which he called SapidLib, with the assistance of several individuals from the community. On April 3, 2005 Somerville released his plans to the community and on April 4, 2005 he made a reply to the running thread on the TMI-3 project on MudMagic to inform those who were interested that a MUD with the new mudlib was up and running. Somerville didn't release the address to the MUD until 5 days later, April 9 2005, to selected individuals on the IRC channel that Somerville had opened on April 7 (Arguably the first LPUniversity community service). Later that month, development was steady and a SourceForge project page was created on April 29th, 2005 and a post to the rec.games.mud.lp group was made announcing the project. On May 13, 2005 Somerville renamed the mudlib from Sapidlib to "TMI-3 Mudlib".

Trouble

The trouble started on May 16, 2005 when John Viega (also known as Rust in the mudding community) replied to the post in the rec.games.mud.lp group announcing the TMI-3 project. Viega felt that Somerville was trying to leach off of the old TMI-3 project that existed a decade ago, referring to the attempt to revive TMI-II that occurred after TMI-II's fall which failed to its sister project, the Lima Mudlib. At the time, Somerville decided to ignore the comment and continue. However, on May 25 2005, an anonymous user going by the alias Kaylus refuted Viega's accusation. Viega defeneded himself and this activity attracted other members of the lpcommunity, such as Lars Duening, who subscribed to the rec.game.mud.lp group. On June 1, 2005, Somerville replied to the growing thread and defended his actions by claiming that he had contacted several of the old TMI-II developers and that some were even members of his current team though he wouldn't release the names of the said members as it was requested of him. One of Viega's chief complaints was that he was not contacted by Somerville to ask for permission to use the name as Viega was one of the original admins. Somerville claimed he did not contact Viega because he feared the political stench of that era still hadn't evaporated and felt that this was obviously the case. Viega didn't appreciate Somerville's comments and the dispute continued.

Due to the growing criticism of the project, attention was drawn to TMI-3's intention to continue the development of the MudOS driver project with Fuller's fork that was based on an old version of MudOS. This sparked a flame war of its own over the use of the name. On June 1, Matt Messier (also known as Marius@MudOS in the mudding community) made a reply to the Fuller's original post on rec.games.mud.lp announcing MudOS 1.0 stating that all it would have taken to get his blessing was to ask but since Fuller didn't then he'd never get it. He also followed up on his post by posting on the official MudOS homepage and mailing list making it clear that Fuller's version of MudOS was no way affiliated with the official MudOS project. Messier also condemned Fuller's project for being based on an older version of MudOS.

On June 2, Fuller renamed his MudOS 1.0 to MUM which stands for Mum is Unofficial MudOS and made a new release which he announced on the rec.games.mud.lp group. However, this didn't stop the verbal violence as Fuller announcement on the news group was flame-bait by starting off with Some people who need a history lesson complained about my use of the name MudOS for my MudOS-derived gamedriver.... Fuller may have been referring to Viega as Viega had been one of the primary opponents to Fuller's project. Regardless, Fuller's announcements sparked a round of nasty posts between himself and Viega. Also on June 2 2005, Fuller made another post to the rec.games.mud.lp group with the title Is Beek trying to lay claim to others MudOS work?. Tim Hollebeek (Also known as Beek is the mudding community) was the maintainer of the MudOS driver for a fair period of time in and had added a copyright statement in the MudOS package stating that the whole MudOS package was copyright to 1995 to Hollebeek. Unfortunately, Fuller neglected to mention that he had had longstanding disagreements with the MudOS leadership, and that the reason for the 1995 copyright statement was simply an attempt to clarify the extremely muddy legal status of the MudOS project, and was supported by all the major MudOS contributors. This sparked its own round of flames regarding copyright and rights to maintainership of the official MudOS project.

During this time, Somerville decided to distance himself the MUM project in hopes of protecting his own TMI-3 project. Nearing the end of June, Somerville decided to make the first release of the TMI-3 mudlib July 1st and on June 30th announced it on the MudMagic forums. Since it was understood that the TMI-3 mudlib would be released on Fuller's version of MudOS, a developer asked about the MudOS driver and what was going to happen since the maintainer refused to hand over maintainership. Somerville responded stating that the TMI-3 would make use of the latest version of MudOS as Somerville was never able to get MUM to compile to develop the mudlib on it.

On July 1 2005, Somerville made a post to all of the known mud community portals and rec.games.mud.lp announcing that Messier had denied the community by not allowing TMI-3 to take over development of MudOS. The post was full of accusations and included copies of private e-mails. Somerville had e-mailed Messier the night before requesting rights to the name MudOS and told Messier that he was not affiliated with MUM. Messier replied with a strong e-mail making it very clear that Somerville had lost his chance to ever have maintainership to the project. This is considered by some the biggest mistake made by Somerville and caused considerable harm to the TMI-3 project. The response to the post was vast and resulted in much criticism of the TMI-3 project. The response to his post stunned Somerville and in good faith thanked those who had been critical of him in the first release's readme. Several of the individuals (including Viega, John A. Lambert, and Timothy Johnson) that were thanked took this as just another stunt and demanded their names be removed. They also took advantage of the situation to point out several licensing issues with the TMI-3 mudlib that had been released the same day and used this as an example of why Messier has every right to deny TMI-3 of its request.

An anonymous user going by the alias Gams on the #LPC IRC channel on freenode had harsh words for Somerville but after he got Somerville to admit that he was wrong he recommended that Somerville make an apology to everyone involved and rename the project to LPUniversity. Somerville took Gams advice to heart, announced that TMI-3 will drop its intention to develop MudOS, released a new version of the TMI-3 mudlib on July 8th 2005 with some of the fixs demanded by the community, and made the following apology July 10th 2005:

I've accidentally acted like an ass all over the place, I want to apologize, and make things right. I'm going away for a few months starting tomorrow, but when I come back, we'll pick the project back up. We'll rechristen the project LPUniversity, and try to build a strong relationship with the rest of the community, as intended.
On return, many of the methods that we have employed thus far will be changed to reflect a more community based project. A council of prestigious lpcommunity members will direct the project and ensure that the project holds true to its mandate. Hopefully with our more defined goals and aspirations, we'll be able to be more productive with our renewed vitality.
The project will continue to offer its current services to the community. I hope that this website, which will be refined in accoradance to our reform, can become a hub for the lpcommunity. I look forward to having indepth discussions about mudlib design, helping people with their code, and much more. Hopefully we can create a sapid community, that embraces and celebrates the diversity of opinion, for all lpcommunity members to enjoy.
On one last note, I wish to apologize again to everyone.
Thank you,
Cody Somerville

Prominent individuals in the debate accepted the apology and the flamewar died abruptly. Somerville was absent from the community until late in August but the damage was done - The project's reputation was tarnished. As a result of the flamewar, several of the developers left the project.

A new beginning

Unfortunately, Somerville has mistakenly deleted the "latest" copy of the mudlib back in July of 2005 when he was packaging the last release under the TMI-3 name. This resulted in a delay and development didn't start until September 25, 2005. On October 14, 2005 Somerville set up a new SourceForge project page for the LPUniversity Project and began planning for the first release under the new LPUniversity name. The first release of the LPUniversity Mudlib occurred on November 11, 2006. The LPUniversity mudlib saw a major overhaul and took the first step in becoming a serious competitor in the mudlib market.

Also during this time, the LPUniversity Foundation merged with Sarah Bonner's Aurora Sky MUD project on December 20th 2005. This move allowed LPUniversity to expand its operations into other areas and forced the LPUniversity Organization to reorganize itself resulting in improved internal efficiency and a more defined purpose and focus. An example of this improved efficiency was the rapid development of the LPUniversity Foundation website that featured many tools to embrace and develop the LPC community such as community forums, chat, blogs, file repository, user homepages, profiles, private messenger, and social networking.

Before the second release on March 26, 2006 Somerville and Bonner negotiated an affiliation with a person known as Cratylus in the mudding community and his Dead Souls Mudlib project. Cratylus encouraged the LPUniversity Foundation to focus more on the community component of the LPUniversity Project instead of the development of the LPUniversity Mudlib. Somerville and Bonner agreed and development was shifted towards LPUniversity's community services and deveopment of internal policy and structure. Cratylus also recommended that the LPUniversity discontinue the LPUniversity Mudlib project and to invest efforts in the Dead Souls 2 mudlib but Somerville and Bonner declined the offer.

On April 17, 2006 the LPUniversity Foundation made a minor release (Alpha-0604-R5). This release is significant because it was the first release that included a Windows package.

Organization Structure

There are three major divisions in the LPUniversity Project.

  1. Administration (Admin Pot) - The administrative pot is made up of a group of individuals who fill special administrative or department unspecific roles.
  2. Research, Education, and Development (RED) Department - The RED department contains projects that are related to Research, Education, and Development and is made up of individuals who fill technical roles.
  3. Community, Service, and Support (CSS) Department - The CSS department contains projects that are related to Community, Service, and Support and is made up of individuals who fill non-technical or support roles.

Each department had a director who directed their department and the project as a whole. There were three predefined roles: Manager, Support Staff, and Developer. There were three predefined ranks that apply to individuals in a project: Senior Staff (Team Leader), Staff, and Junior Staff (New Staff).

Software and Services

The LPUniversity Foundation planned to offer many services and programs to the LPC community.

  • Community Website
  • House-call support
  • Education
  • Certification
  • Standards Development
  • Mudlib
  • Free hosting for lp related projects
  • Affiliation program
  • Free advertising for lp related projects
  • And numerous other functions and resources are also available.

See also

References

External links

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