The Dead Souls News Page

11 September 06


    I'd like to start announcing things on the
site. It's less painful for me, and plus people can respond
with questions.

    So, from now on, please visit here to see Dead Souls News.


    The hosting situation is a bit confusing. Maybe this will
explain things a little:

Saquivor@Eternal Souls <lpuni> whats up with dudes
Cratylus <lpuni> ok here's the deal
Cratylus <lpuni> tacitus was going to host on kyndig, because he was sick of trenden
Cratylus <lpuni> i said no let's try something else, and hooked him up with wolfpaw
Cratylus <lpuni> i happened to own the domain from before, so i put it on lpuni's new wolfpaw account
Cratylus <lpuni> so the New Lpuni was using, and the old one still used
Cratylus <lpuni> then tacitus changed his mind about wolfpaw and decided to use trenden after all
Cratylus <lpuni> so he removed the stuff from the wolfpaw account
Cratylus <lpuni> i figured "well, it's a shame to let a perfectly good hosted
account go to waste"
Cratylus <lpuni> so i decided to move to wolfpaw
Cratylus <lpuni> however, wolfpaw hasn't updated the host/ip thing yet, so isn't on there yet
Cratylus <lpuni> the only way to reach right now is
Cratylus <lpuni> the end
Cratylus <lpuni> oh, and is down because they broke trenden's
machine somehow, so they have to find hosting elsewhere

09 September 06

    Tacitus has decided not to accept Wolfpaw's generous
hosting offer, even though I'm the one paying for the
service. He's sticking with Trenden, and I wish him
the best.

    That leaves me, of course, with a professionally
hosted account on Wolfpaw to play with, so I've been
messing around a little with forum software. To my amazement,
I got a forum up and running with very little effort.

    Unfortunately, right this minute, the only URL
bound to it is, but as soon as
Wolfpaw changes the hostname stuff it'll be available

05 September 06

    hotfix update

    Zaphod@Hodge Podge found a security flaw in admintool. Please
visit the hotfix page and update your admintool file ASAP. Note
that I always thought it was a bit silly to encre/decre with the
admintool, so I've simply removed it. From now on, just use the
when promoting/demoting someone.

30 August 06

alpha code

    I've decided to make alpha code available for download.
Having others poke at my code before official releases might
be nice, and I want to see if that's a workable model for
doing things. Alpha code will not come with patches...that
is, if you want to try out alpha code, you have to download
the whole deal, not upgrade from previous versions.

    This is because I don't want people to apply alpha
patches to their production muds and then flip out because
the alpha code doesn't work right.

    If that suits you, you can download from:

distribution packages

    The default 2.0r26 and 2.1 package files have changed
somewhat. They now have a "b" added to the filename to
reflect this change. Basically, each distro is as it was,
except that intergossip and intercre are no longer
enabled by default for creators.

    It's a minor change, and I didn't want to go through the
hassle of a whole new version change for this one thing, so
I expect the filename change will suffice to let people
know...if they even care.

    The change is due to the situation on the router. I've been
absolutely loath to start banning people or muds, except
where I just have no other alternative. In removing these
two channels as default, I feel I have performed my due
diligence in avoiding newbies getting trashed or offended
on the yatmim router.

    It's a unique situation, in that many of the "offenders"
that have been causing problems on the router seem to
be genuinely unaware of the rules, and sometimes even
unaware of the router not being the same as the old one.
I just don't have time to educate every ignoramus who
gets offended when I call them on their behavior, and I
just don't have the heart to punish entire muds just because
a few nincompoops can't remember where they are.

    This doesn't mean it's open season now on newbies
found on intergossip and intercre. It just means I
don't have to shepherd every new mud through the
gauntlet...something I, again, just don't have time for.

    Also there's a new channel enabled by default for creators on
new muds called "dchat". To join, type: call me->AddChannel("dchat")

25 August 06

other-lib compat

    This isn't something I've announced with great fanfare,
so I thought I'd give it a mention here. I'm working on lib
compatibility systems. The idea is that I'd like it to be
possible for people who have old areas they wrote for other
muds to be able to use those areas in DS with minimum pain.
    There are two main ways to accomplish this:

1) A translation system to turn old code to DS code
2) An interpretation system to read old code and use it as if it were DS code

    The first one is rather easier to do. I've put together
some lsed scripts that can be run to transmogrify Nightmare 3
code into Dead Souls 2 code. You can see this script in
/secure/scripts on the demo mud.
    I've already translated Praxis from NM3 into DS2 code.
You can log onto the demo mud and check out /domains/Praxis
for yourself. I'm done with the basics there, and will be
seeing about getting the fancier stuff in there working.

    The second one is harder. Getting funky old TMI-2/NM3/Skylib/LPUni*
code to work natively on DS is a tall order. I've put together
a header file called compat.h which is enabled with the new
COMPAT_MODE define in config.h. This enables the lib to
read things like set_property as SetProperty, etc.  You
can read this file on the demo mud, as /secure/include/compat.h

     Even with that file, some of the scary old habits of
TMI-2 code break things. For example, there's no good way to
make set("foo","bar"); into SetFoo("bar"); using a preprocessor
define that I know of (please tell me if I'm wrong!). To get
around this kind of behavior, I've added a new sefun file:

    That file takes the hypergeneral contructors like set(),
add(), and query(), and parses them into code DS2 can more
properly understand. It's not a foolproof fix, but it's working
pretty well for a lot of objects.

    You can take a look at working TMI-2 code on the demo
mud in /domains/Fooland. The majority of stuff there still doesn't's still a work in progress. But type: goto /domains/Fooland/hall
and: lightme 30 and about here and you'll see for yourself that TMI-2 code
*can* work on DS2. Sometimes it'll just work, sometimes it needs
minor adjustments, but at least you won't have to do a drastic
rewrite of every file in your old domain.

    Don't get me wrong, you obviously have a lot of work to
do if you're going to migrate to DS2 from another lib. Your
paths will be different, you may need to add some lines or remove some.
The idea isn't to have 100% drop-in compatibility with other libs.

    I mean, heck, you can't even do that with many muds
running the same lib.

    No, the idea is to facilitate your migration. I want DS2 to be
a kind of Rosetta Stone for MudOS, a lib that people can use and
refer to in a way that is as close to MudOS lib agnostic as possible.

    Of course, DGD or Cold or other driver based libs are beyond
the scope of my expertise. Maybe I can tackle those once we
have a unified MudOS paradigm.

    I don't expect to be able to do this for all MudOS libs,
either. Lima, for example, is so weird that I don't even know if
it's possible. The example objects and areas aren't enough for
me to base a translation engine if you have a Lima
area you're not using, please donate it so I can us it as a
base for translation.

    Remember, this is *NOT* in the regular distribution. Don't
try to get your old code to work on ds2.1. These capabilities
are currently (mostly) only available on the demo and devel muds.
    Compat features will be more generally available in the next release.

*I'm told that LPUni code is not TMI-2, it has "TMI-II compatability (sic)"

23 August 06

    I am really getting comfortable with not having to release
stuff every five minutes. Yet...I'm starting to feel like I'm
hoarding goodies, and that's not nice. So I'm going to work
out some sort of release schedule soon, so I can at least
have a target date to miss. :)

Connection page:
    I added a connection page to make it easier for the
casual visitor to the Dead Souls site to log into the demo
mud and check it out for themselves. I know the java client is
ugly, but it has the virtue of working well. If you know
of another java client that works (believe me I've played
with the mudmagic one and others and have not gotten them
to behave) please let me know.

    There has been recent turmoil in the LPUni community
about the prospect of moving the site onto a server run
by Kyndig. Dale at Wolfpaw has come to the rescue and offered
a hosting package that I think is acceptable to everyone.

    I don't think Wolfpaw will be able to rival Kyndig's
customer service for a couple of reasons. First, Dale doesn't
do it as his primary job, so there will necessarily be some
lag between service requests and action. Second, Dale doesn't
have anything to prove. I suspect that Kyndig was Mr. Johnny-
on-the-spot for Tacitus because he wanted to demonstrate stellar
support, in order to facilitate the decision to have LPUni
move there. For Tacitus the choice was a no-brainer. With
support requests handled within minutes of filing them, and
FREE service besides, well, it's a done deal right there...
unless you actually care about the moral aspects of entering into
a pact with Kyndig, which I did.

    My thrust is that folks shouldn't expect the kind of
lightning-fast service Kyndig was providing in order to prove
a point. Wolfpaw is a solid hosting solution, solid enough to
handle, which is the premier mud resource
site. Having to wait a day or two for service requests on
our discounted hosting package is part of the price we will
pay for keeping our hands clean.

    If none of that stuff made sense to you, you probably
don't know about the Kyndig situation, and really, you're
not missing anything. It's a big dumb political brouhaha
that you're just as well not knowing about.

    I've received some threats about being nominated for an
LPUni council position. Please note that I feel I am already
participating to the best of my ability in the LPUni
community, and me being in such a council would not have the
effect folks think it would. Please don't bother
nominating me. Thanks.

10 August 06

    Ok. That wraps it up for the load testing. My
fears were largely unfounded. I fired hundreds of playerbots
into a mud running on Linux on a 1.2GHz laptop with .5 gig ram.
The bots are created by an AI routine that telnets to the
target mud, automatically creates a character, and then
walks around the mud, picking things up, picking fights
with orcs, and doing typical player things. They were coded
to avoid idleness of more than 4 seconds, though a few
malfunctioned due to unexpected stimuli.

The results:
  • Around 300 players, a slight lag could be found, if you were looking for it.
  • Around 400 there was a minor lag.
  • Around 500 there was definite lag, as in "you could not miss this" type lag. However, I remember playing on a mud back in the day which had heavier lag with just 30 players on.
  • Around 600 players there was undeniably heavy lag. Most commands ran in under 1 second, but some took a few seconds to complete, and some errored out because the mud was too busy.
  • Around 700 players the mud was in definite "I'd rather not play here" mode. Most commands ran in under 2 seconds, but some took several seconds to complete.

   These tests have proven very valuable in shaking out
bugs I would not have spotted otherwise.

   I got as far as 710 players before running the tests
started to get inconvenient for me (the bot generation process
is a bit awkward). At this point I'm satisfied that if
people run into a performance bottleneck when using Dead Souls
it is *not* due to the base lib or MudOS efficiency.

    The news, therefore, is good for people running Linux
on modern PC hardware. Even if your mud becomes the busiest in
non-commercial mudding history, the software will keep up with you.
As for bandwidth and clean area coding, that's on you.

    The news for Windows users...not so good.

    I don't know why, but it seems that you can't
get more than 64 (or so) players logged on simultaneously
to a Windows DS mud.

    It's possible that recompiling MudOS for Windows
using Cygwin fixes this, but I don't know for sure and
I will not be testing that in the near future. If
you're running DS on windows and you really really need
to be able to have more than 64 players on at once
right away, let me know and we'll discuss your options.
    Otherwise, I'm shelving that for now.

    Someday I'll have a newer PC to play with and
I'll shoot for the 1024 player barrier. But that day
is not today. 

09 August 06

    I'm just about done playing with load testing.
The results have been fascinating, because I've
just never had occasion to review data from "too
many players" problems.

    The bad news is that MudOS is coded using many
f*()'s, which limits the use of file descriptors
in most cases to 255. Determining whether this is
the obstacle it *looks* like will be a task for
the future, as I need more time and beefier computers
to extract the results I need and perform the
tests I want.

    At some point last night I did an
eval return sizeof(users()) and I got the staggering
value of 407. However, there were errors all
over, and the mud was, for all practical purposes,
unusuable. It's not clear to me how far it'll
go and still be usable in any way. I'm actually
wondering if I hallucinated that because I
haven't been able to reproduce it since.

    Anyway, that's the bad news. Right now you
can't have a ludicrous number of players on

    The good news is that you can have a large number
 of players on simultaneously. I've set it
up so that my development mud (not the demo mud)
has 160+ players at all times. This is to see
what it's like to conduct business on a very,
very busy DS mud. So far the lag is so minor as
to be easily ignored.

    The system is a bargain basement beige box
running an 800MHz Duron with a gig and a half
of ram. Even with all those players bumping around,
the process hovers around 40% cpu, and the amount
of ram used is 81 megs. My guess is that with a
3G proc and above, running on modern (eg not
2002) hardware, you'd have scant chance of noticing
200+ players, except for all the dying and
shouting of course.

    Take a look if you'd like, by telnetting to port 5050. Note that it's just a
cable modem, and I use it for all my net traffic,
so whatever lag you get is 90% network-based.

07 August 06

    In order to load-test DS, I've coded a playerbot
object that telnets to the test mud and does
typical player things: pick things up, wear them,
wander about, open doors, etc. It does something
at least once per 5 heartbeats, so it's quite a
noisy thing.

    I also coded it to permit the rapid loading of
many of them at once. The idea is to know what
kind of bugs await me at the 200+ player threshold.

    The results are interesting, and rather better
than I expected. On a half-broken, 512Mb ram,
p3 1.2GHz laptop, I can run 180 of these busy little
guys with no noticeable lag.

    Around that point, though, I start hitting
some weirdness. It doesn't involve "performance",
quite. It's more a matter of the existing systems not
really being set up to handle 100 objects
each with a separate short description in one room.
That sort of thing. It's encouraging, though, that
the problems I'm running into don't involve
capacity, so much as tweaking functionality.

02 August 06

    I've received some negative feedback from the
DS community about the participation of muds from
the old gjs router on our new yatmim. Intergossip,
which used to be mostly PG-13 if not PG is now
edging toward an R rating.
    I don't like it much, myself, because it tends
to deter some people from participating, and the
point of the router is participation.
    However, I feel bound by the rules I set down,
and by the spirit in which I developed them. The
idea is to foster community and support. My idea
of community is not the only one, nor is it necessarily
the correct one. I am reluctant to take it upon
myself to dictate that only happy talk is permitted.
    I am committed to preventing abuse of newbies
from happening on the 5 default DS channels, and
I will be strict in enforcing the rules outlined
on the router rules page. But I am loath to try to
enforce politeness, because frankly I don't think
I have the time or energy for it.
    I made yatmim a public router because I felt
that it was a good idea to avoid a stagnant,
insular atmosphere on intermud. I'm still confident
I made the right choice, and unless things get out
of hand, I will continue to enforce the rules as I
have been.
    However, if what I start to see is a hostile,
counterproductive atmosphere, I will interpret this
as against the intent of the channels, and will
feel unpleasant obligations.

    After some thought, I've decided to share the
RELEASE_NOTES of the unreleased 2.1r* versions. This
doesn't mean any releases are coming anytime soon.
    The idea is that I'd like folks to see that
their bug fixes and requests are being addressed,
and not just falling into a black hole.
    I also want people to know DS development
continues, even though the release schedule is
dramatically slowed.

    For those asking "why not just make releases
like before?", the reason is that the packaging
process is a very time-consuming one. It also tends to
make it difficult to work on long-term projects, because
every little thing has to be wrapped up and clean.
    This way I can have a big, messy, sprawling
lib that lets me work on a piece here and a piece
there as I see fit without worrying about having
all the moving parts working right away.

    The changes in the release notes will sometimes
be reflected in the demo mud, and sometimes not.
Don't expect always to see the latest nifty
thing show up on the demo mud when you see it on
the release notes, but you should see it there eventually,
when I do my periodic (sometimes piecemeal) porting.

    It looks like Tacitus is more or less retiring
from his role as admin of LPUni. I don't know anything
more about it that you guys, so I have no special
insight as to where things are going with LPUni.
    However, it would be sad if it went away, because
the forums and Wiki do seem to be a great benefit
to the DS community, and potentially to the LP
community at large.
    I hope that even if Tacitus is not able to play
as active a role in the management of the site as
he used to, that he leaves it up for the community
to use as a resource for communication.

28 July 06

    Added a reaper fix to the fixes page.

    I've completed the new doctool system, and have
begun plowing into the lfun documentation gap. To see
what the lfun docs will look like, log into the
demo mud and poke through the files in /doc/lfun .
Please note that the demo mud is not where I write
the docs, so if it looks like the list isn't getting
bigger, it has nothing to do with the amount of
documentation I'm producing. I copy over to the demo
mud as I remember to do so.

    I've also added the Praxis domain to the demo
mud, so you can review the code. Remember it is still
not completely ported, and even when it is done, it
will not be "production quality" stuff. It's just
a sample of what Dead Souls/Nightmare used to look like.

    Please remember that Dead Souls is made stronger
by word of mouth. The more people try it, then the more
people will adopt it, and the more work happens on it, and
the better it becomes.

    You can contribute to this cycle by replying to
any of the following forum threads as you see fit:;act=ST;f=14;t=535

    Your contribution to keeping Dead Souls on the front
burner of mud discussion is vital in widening the public
awareness of it. Even just a one-line opinion, "It rocks" or "It sucks"
is helpful. Just post something!

25 July 06

    I've added a General/Minor Fixes page to handle
bugfixes that aren't critical to security or functionality.

    I want to keep such minor bugfixes separate from
hotfixes, which are meant to be important, and shouldn't
get buried under the clutter of numerous small corrections.

    I also don't intend to get sucked into frequent patch
level releases, so that fixes page is where folks should
expect to find their "upgrades" for a while. Please run
diffs against the files in
if you want to know what's changed.

24 July 06

    Well, I appear to have lost my mind. I'm
advertising for builders. And, in what I suspect
is an unprecedented display of utter shamelessness,
I'm making an open plea for someone to give me their mud.

    Well, read the article in its entirety to
understand the motivation.

    Whether this fails or succeeds, I think it'll
work great for me. If people do sign up and/or
I get a dead mud to revive, it'll advance my sinister
agenda of world domination.

    If both pleas go unanswered, I'll be able to
devote my time only to the current DS projects.

    I'm honestly not sure which I'd prefer. Let
the Fates decide.

19 July 06

    Porting other LP mudlibs to Dead Souls is
rather more of a pain in the neck than I'd realized,
but I'm making good progress, I think.

    I have about 85% of the Nightmare 3 Praxis
area ported over. The monsters don't work yet, but
the rooms seem quite stable. To take a look
around, telnet to the dev (not the demo) mud
at 5050, open the reception room door,
go north, then go west 5 times, then go north into
the campus stargate lab. Type: dial praxis,
then type: enter gate. Don't forget your way back
to the gate after wandering in Praxis.

    The dev mud does not auto-wiz you. Don't be
surprised that you are not a Creator.

    On a separate note, Tyche's rudeness has
given me an excellent opportunity to explain my
side of the licensing disagreement, which
I have attempted to do here:

    I encourage everyone to chip in with their opinion,
as I'm very interested in knowing what the DS
community thinks of the situation.

15 July 06

    So evidently some GPL militant informed on
me to Sourceforge, and they've asked me to comply
with OSS or remove my project.
    I gave it some thought, and decided to follow
their "formerly OSS" policy, leaving an older,
GPL version of Dead Souls available for download,
and removing the newer stuff. Probably this will
satisfy nobody but me. But given how some people
have been approaching the subject, I'm disinclined
to try to please anyone else with DS licensing.
    Sourceforge web maintenance stuff is down,
but as soon as it comes back up I'll fix the
project page to reflect the New Way.

   On a brighter-still note, very few complaints
or bug reports have surfaced since the release of
Dead Souls 2.1. W00t!

    As mentioned before, please don't expect
patches or upgrades anytime soon. Please operate
as if DS development is over. It isn't, and I
will be developing new stuff, but it would be
unwise for you to operate in expectation of it.

12 July 06

    As I suspected, someone has flown into a
tizzy over my revocation of GPL. Their rant is
a perfect example of the sort of vitriol that
made me choose to do that in the first place.
Have a look at the discussion here.

    The 2.1 release is going a little slower than
I expected. I've gotten a case of the "perfects",
and I keep going over and over things to make
sure it's all ok.

    We're still on track for "sometime this week."

    UPDATE: W00t! I can't tell you how relieved
I am to be done. Dead Souls 2.1 is now available
for download from the front page.

    If you find bugs, please tell me about it, but
also expect a slower schedule for the release of
patches. I need a break.

    Patches to upgrade to 2.1 will be available
later today or tomorrow, as will be diffs.

11 July 06

    I've disposed of all the items in the todo
list of July 7. There is nothing wrong with
the stargate. The example file has been renamed
to avoid confusion, and to avoid it accidentally
going live on the stargate network.

    I've killed the bugs found by the playtesters
in the past few days, and unless something major
happens, Dead Souls 2.1 will be released this week.

10 July 06

    Things are going just great. At this point,
the number and type of bug report coming in is
such that I'm running out of things to do. I
need playtesters, so please, if you get a chance,
log into 6666 and beat on that mud.
Let me know what bugs you find. Thanks!

    Oh, by the way, 2.0r29 is out. We're getting
closer and closer to 2.1! W00t!

07 July 06

    A really surprising thing happened today. I
decided to reorganize my .plan file and remove
anything that wasn't either an important feature
enhancement or a bugfix. I wanted to know *exactly*
how close I am to releasing Dead Souls 2.1.

    After slogging through and tearing out pages
of wishlists and maybes, this is what was left:

- fix /obj/stargate
- update colors with %%^^ data
- verbify force
- can't delete glass case?
- are people defaulting to the start room?
- sell machine to cat
- make an npc's living body go away BEFORE the corpse is moved into the room
- make channels understand ) after : can have non emote messages after
- SetMaxHealth shouldn't need to be in init()
- help area
- help newbie
- apostrophes
- add damage types to dummy
- intergossip logging to two files?
- review setinventory, is addstuff necessary?
- Beggar says in English, "Hi, A mangy little rat."
- shop in the town is confusing the maglite with the cheap one.
- If a piece of gear is set for a "left foot" attribute, why can I also wear it on my right foot?
- the handbook says that its easier to kill things as a mage,
- bug: cp sefun.c  /
- delete mfinger
- SetEmptyName(), SetEmptyLong() and SetEmptyShort().
- install faq: if compile problems, try as root, try non 64bit amd
- wipe the unused tc's

    That's it. Now compare the size of this list with
the size of stuff in the release notes. That's how close
I am. I was shocked.

    So folks, I need your help. Any bugs that have been
bothering you but you haven't gotten around to telling me,
this is the time. If you feel like knocking about the code
trying to break stuff, please log into the demo mud
at 6666 and have at it.

    It's ok that you'll make the list longer. That's
what I *want*. I want to get these bufixes as over with
as possible.

06 July 06

more update news:

    I overlooked a couple of important things when
I released 2.0r27. They have been addressed in

    There may be a compat buster here. One of the
things that needed fixing was a peculiar bug that
would generate extra corpses under unusual circumstances,
during combat. This bug had some relationship to
another combat bug that prevented the accurate
recording of a player's deaths.

    In the end, the fixes for these two involved the
manipulation of persistent player variables. The
good news is that things now seem to work just fine,
and the bugs are seemingly gone.

    The bad news is that since new player variables
are involved, you may find that test chars created
before an upgrade to r28 do weird things in combat...
like not fight.

    The fix is to create new test chars.

    If Dead Souls was widespread enough that that
there were muds out there that were open, with players,
I'd look into some sort of system for updating
older player files. Since this is not the case,
I expect that people will be able to tolerate this
minor inconvenience with minimal discomfort.

05 July 2006

router news:
    The gjs router has been down for a week now, and
we may see some refugee muds start to make their
home on our router, yatmim (which by the way, stands
for Yet Another TMI Mud, which is how the router
started out. It's a DS mud now.) Yatmim is public and
so all are welcome, but there are some rules folks
need to abide by. The point of yatmim was to have
a reliable router for DS muds, but also one where
new people wouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

    Please see the new router rules page for more info.

update news:
    Version 2.0r27 is out. I'm ever grateful to the
folks who find problems and report them...without
their help Dead Souls would take much longer to
get where it's going. Thanks, guys.

    It probably still has a bug or two, specifically in
message boards. As usual, hotfixes will be posted
on the hotfix page. As usual, please let me know what
bugs you find.

    One of the new features in r27 is that the install
process will now work on Wolfpaw servers, so you folks
staying away because you couldn't get it to work, come
on in. The water's fine. Just be sure to run make -j 1
instead of just make.

    For those uncomfortable with frequent patching,
please be aware that it isn't absolutely necessary.
See the patch article for more details.

    Note that for those unwilling to follow the
standard patch procedure, diffs are being made
available here.

LPUni news:
    Tacitus has made some improvements to the front page.
Let's hope he keeps that up and fleshes out the rough
draft we see today.

    He has also set up a "mud farm", with various LP
lib flavors running. Take a look in particular at the
Dead Souls 1.1 mud he's hosting. It should be interesting
to see how different it is from DS2. The address is: 6501

Sourceforge news:
    In case you haven't noticed, I'm relying less
and less on Sourceforge. They're great and everything,
but lately they've been down a lot, and it made me
realize I'm depending on them for stuff I can do
myself. The download stats are totally misleading,
and all their fancy project management stuff is just
a waste on me.
    So you can pretty much figure on releases and
patches showing up here first and more often than
on Sourceforge.

23 June 2006

    I've been frustrated for some time with the way
the LPUniversity site seems almost intentionally
designed to be confusing and inscrutable to newbie
mudders. For example, if I didn't happen to know
the site is supposed to be an LPC mud resource, the
front page wouldn't be much help in informing me.

    So I bought a domain with the single purpose
of clarifying things. It's a shame I had to take it
upon myself, but you know what they say about things
done right.

    The site is intended to be a simple,
easy-to-read description of LP muds. What they are,
where you can get some, and where you can go to
talk about them. None of this fancy calendaring,
plenipotentiary council executive meetings, soup for
the needy, whatever.

    It's just a web site with information that I
hope is useful.

    If you have any suggestions or requests about
what the site should have, please let me know.

    On another note, please be aware that Dead Souls
is no longer GPL. For more information, please see
this article.

    Saquivor has found a neat creation GUI that he's
adapting for DS use. Keep an eye on the downloads page
for a DS template. It should be available soon.

18 June 2006

    The 2.0r26 patch is out. Anyone under that rev is
subject to having their mud compromised by any creator
at any time. Please upgrade NOW if you haven't already
done so.

    As to the issue of Tacitus, please see this link.

16 June 2006

    As usual, good news and bad news. The good news first. Tacitus
helped discover a serious security flaw in Dead Souls. Woot!
Congratulations to him for being clever, and thanks for
helping secure DS.

    The bad news is that all versions of DS are affected, so
you should lock your DS muds (using admintool) and avoid
promoting anyone to a Creator position until the patch
is in place. Hopefully I'll be able to cook something up
this evening.

    The other bad news is that I found Tacitus trying
to delete log files on the dev Dead Souls mud. I think I
was fortunate that he missed a couple of details in rooting
me, so he failed. However, until I can account for every
free inode with recovery software, the dev mud will
be locked also. Sadface.

    For some reason, he also chose to go online and announce
the details of the flaw without giving me a chance to
address it. This means you are rather exposed, so please
make sure to only allow very trusted people to Creator postions.

13 June 2006

    The I3 router box suffered a storage subsystem failure:
around 8pm the fiber array crapped out and took down the raid volume
the I3 router mud was on. As of 9:20 I3 is back up.

09 June 2006

    ROXOR. I discussed with Marius the MudOS bundling
question. Here's the scoop.

06 June 2006

    I am so delighted I could pop any moment. Earlier
today I checked the LPU forums while at a work site,
and was just blown away to see Saquivor had solved
the Windows sockets problem. I was all smiles, and
could barely wait to get to my desk to poke at it.

    Then...sadface. It looked like we solved the technical
problem of networking, but the next problem involved GPL
code. MinGW used libcrypto that I could not be sure
was not GPL, and the native Win32 binary we made required
that dll.

    In a burst of uncharacteristic optimism, I went
about seeing if I could obviate the GPL library in
question, and eventually solved the problem by using
the MudOS built-in MD5 hash auth mechanism. JOY. I
had to get pretty violent with the crypto code, but
it appears to work well, and is far more secure than
the old system.

    The only drawback is that new passwords are not compatible
with old passwords. A driver change will mean some
pain. Fortunately this is an unusual situation.

    In the interest of cross-platform compatibility I
plan to make the Unix side of the DS distro MD5 auth
also. This will probably happen in the release following
the release I plan to make this evening.

05 June 2006

    I spent the entire weekend hacking at MudOS to
try to compile a native Win32 binary. I made a solid
amount of progress, and I'm almost there, but I
need help. Please see if you can lend a hand.

    I called RedHat bright and early today, to get
in touch with the Cygwin licensing people. Predictably,
I got no straight answers, and I am now officially waiting
for a call beck from a Sales Rep named Mike within
then next two to three business days.

    What do you suppose are the chances that a Sales
representative will offer me what I want for free?

    He got back to me! And the verdict is:

" That license costs 25K per year.  I did not mention it as an option because you mentioned you we looking for a free/low cost option. The Buyout license doesn't qualify.
Mike "


03 June 2006

    The good news is that version 2.0r24 of Dead Souls
is now available for download from Sourceforge.

    The bad news is that thanks to another observation
from that member of the mud community
, it's come to my
attention that despite my best efforts, the Windows
version of Dead Souls *still* may violate GPL.

    I am erring on the side of caution and have unbundled
the Windows binary and Cygwin dll's from the Dead Souls

    I very much hope to have a Windows solution soon,
as a substantial number of the Dead Souls userbase
is on Windows, and presumably there are other folks
interested in using it.

    If you can provide me with instructions on how to
make a non-license-violating MudOS binary, or if
you wish to provide me that binary already compiled,
I'd be delighted to accept that contribution for

Until then, hang tight. We'll figure something out.


    Dead Souls has been removed from the mudmagic file
repository. For details, please read this article.

    I'm delighted to announce that Alexander Tau has been
promoted to a position of substantial admin authority at
LPUniversity, and he has created a Dead Souls forum just
for us! W00t! Congratulations, Alex. I'm certain you will
do an excellent job.

    I've released a new article dealing with Dead Souls
and intellectual property
, which tends toward the dry side,
but it addresses issues that Dead Souls admins may have
brought up to them. It's intended as a reference for the
"official" position of Dead Souls on such matters.

    You may have noticed a sexy new CSS style format for
some of the pages on the DS site. This is thanks to
Kelvin's efforts. He took my challenge of "if you don't
like the site's look, do something about it" seriously,
and boy, it sure is easier to read, isn't it? Thank you,


    If there's one thing that bugs me it's news pages for
projects that turn into personal blogs. I can't promise it
won't happen here, but I'll make the effort.

    I've updated the front page a bit for clarity. It was
getting so *I* couldn't read it. I'm a fan of simple readable
text, and I hope it's easier to get what you need from it.
    Also added a cute little favicon.

    As of the current version, 2.0r22, Dead Souls is now a
single download package...just one file to download whether
you run the Windows version or the UNIX/source code version.
    The same is true for the patch. One file to rule them.

    I've been asked by people how they can give back to
the Dead Souls community. Easy. Evangelize. Tell people what
you honestly think of the lib. If someone's in doubt as
to which codebase to choose, point them our way.

    If you can help me promote the lib, you've done a
good service. The more people use Dead Souls, the stronger
we are as a community. Join the MUD forums and spread the
word, or if that's not your style, lurk until the opportunity
presents itself to give us a good old shameless plug.

    Also, spend some time on the LPUniversity forums.
(Update, 27sep06: go to instead)
Create a login, and chat a bit. Liven the place up.

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