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The Future of Bukkit
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September 17, 2014
8:09 am
frelling
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I had hoped that by now saner heads would have prevailed in regards to Bukkit. Sadly, it continues to be a pissing match on top of a churning rumor mill that’s turning fact into fiction and fiction into fact.

No one to this day, has broken the issue down into its fundamental components; the first and foremost being who actually owns Bukkit; as this is the root of all other arguments. If you believed what the majority are saying, Bukkit is (or should I say, was) owned by Mojang.

The answer isn’t simple or clear cut. Bukkit has always been an open source project, which by its nature makes it a joint work when it comes to copyright issues*. Joint works with multiple derivatives have a traceable ownership pedigree and I would not doubt that somewhere in that lineage there is an entry for Mojang along with tons of others. But Mojang, is not or never will be an outright and sole owner of Bukkit; in the worst case they simply have co-ownership rights to a certain instantiation (approximately two years ago, if at all), but not in the derivatives that have been released since.

Rather than drilling down and resolving fundamental issues, most of the community is contented to continue the current bitch-fest, throwing more gasoline on the fire, and seeing it all burn down. I’ve tried talking sense into some privately, but to no avail. Thus, I am perfectly willing to see Bukkit burn itself to ashes.

Once in a while, we need a good fire to burn down the old and make room for new growth. For all the good that Bukkit did, it’s old! Conceptually, it brought forth a better implementation and better support for developing server-side mods than its predecessor hMod. However, Bukkit is showing its age as it is fraught with design problems and implementations that just don’t work well today. That’s not to say that the Bukkit Team – past and present – weren’t good at what they did. However, they had to ensure that each release remained as compatible as possible with older designs so as not to break the majority of plugins in the process. Unfortunately, Bukkit’s monolithic design made this an even tougher challenge time after time, resulting in some ineffective (and sometimes bad) design decisions.

I doubt that we will ever see CraftBukkit for version 1.8 unless Microsoft comes in and cleans up the purported legal mess, brushed egos lick their wounds, and someone steps up to champion CraftBukkit's cause. So let it burn down to the ground. Trust me, I would welcome being proven wrong; it would mean far less work for Veterancraft.

At this point, I see three options: First, roll our own implementation of a 1.8 version of CraftBukkit. That is a lot of work and the benefit-cost ratio isn’t that pretty either. Second, join up with others doing the same, such as Spigot. Blunt honesty, we were planning to switch to Spigot anyways to take advantage of multi-server instances and its optimized version of CraftBukkit. Third, throw out the old and bring in the new. While there were several attempts at coming up with a CraftBukkit replacement, most of them false started in a span of one month or weren't credible enough. The only viable candidate that shows promise is Sponge, given that it is supported by some heavy hitters in the Minecraft community.

I wish I had better news. Rest assured, we haven’t given up. Somehow and somewhere there is a solution to continue offering a Minecraft-based server that is better than the plain vanilla package.

 

* If you are interested in learning more about copyright details, take a stab that this two pinnacle papers: Copyright in Open Source Software – Understanding the Boundaries and Avoiding Joint Pain: Treatment of Joint Works of Authorship Conditions.  They are very dry and a good cure for insomnia for some, but distinctly explain how our copyright laws treat joint works, ownership therein, and derivative works thereof.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
September 17, 2014
8:54 am
LightWarriorK
Aelfheim, Arda
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Thanks for the info, frelling!

Personally, given everything you said, I'm fully on-board with waiting for Sponge or some other stable replacement.  Looking through what they're all about, they seem to be on the right track and I'm excited for what they could bring.  The only variable concerning me with it right now (not knowing enough about programming to be concerned about anything they're doing, or "ignorance is bliss") is what monkey-wrenches Microsoft could throw into the Sponge effort.  From yesterday's status update, even they don't know yet.

I'm excited for 1.8 features, but I love our stable 1.7.9, and we're doing really great right now.

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
September 17, 2014
9:45 am
frelling
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LightWarriorK said

The only variable concerning me with it right now (not knowing enough about programming to be concerned about anything they're doing, or "ignorance is bliss") is what monkey-wrenches Microsoft could throw into the Sponge effort.  From yesterday's status update, even they don't know yet.

I agree that Microsoft is the big unknown. As I said elsewhere, the benefit of Microsoft is that they will be clear and concise once they announce stuff, rather than a bunch of hacks/programmers out of their depth when it comes to copyright law and other legal issues. We may not like what Microsoft has to say (crossing fingers that we do like it), but at least we will know where things stand.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
September 17, 2014
9:55 am
frelling
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For those that are curious, here is a list of the Top 40 Replacement for Bukkit/Spigot. Many of them are start ups over the past week and earlier this month. Many of them blow a lot of hot air and have no substance.

Before someone asks why go with Sponge or some other API that builds upon Minecraft Forge, when Forge already provides means for writing server- AND client-side mods? The short answer is that one actually needs to know what they are doing when coding Forge modules. At a minimum Sponge will be an additional layer like CraftBukkit that protects plugin developers from themselves and provides more regimented interfaces and abstract concepts so that a badly written plugin's effect on others is minimal.

Having said that, there is a fourth option for us that Mud and I have tossed around over the past couple years. We could just use Minecraft Forge directly. It certainly would offer us some additional abilities for optional client-side mods. Converting our in-house plugins wouldn't be too hard - short of the Forge learning curve - yet another API Laugh. However, we'd also have to convert other plugins such as GriefPrevention/Residence, iConomy, LogBlocks, etc. that don't have a Forge-equivalent. Food for thought at this point, while we continue running a stable 1.7.9 server and monitor Sponge's process. After all, its list of contributors read like a Top 20 list of well-known and respected Minecraft developers; though that's caused other critics and doomsayers to waste our time reading meaningless dribble.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
September 19, 2014
4:27 pm
frelling
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Mudwog and I spent about 10 days sifting through hundreds of threads, posts, and God know whatever else anyone felt needed to be put out there about Forge/FML. Much of it was old and deprecated and some author just didn't know what they were writing about. But with the information we could grok in hand we jumped heads first into Forge and FML source code.

After much hair pulling, cursing, writing test jigs, and tracing code flow, I can say that we know more about Forge than we care to. The upside is that Forge has a far richer API than Bukkit which can only help make better plugins that integrate well with the server. The downside is that none of the player infrastructure exists such as permissions, metadata, etc. They would have to be recreated. Even so, we're confident that we can spin out Forge mods as easily as CraftBukkit plugins. We were able to create a very rudimentary version of an iConomy-like plugin in a matter of hours.

The one catch is, that in order for players to play on a Forge-based server, the client needs to have Forge installed even if the mods we add don't require client-side functionality. That fact may also be a "fly-in-the-soup" for Sponge, which is based on Forge. Not that it is hard for players to update their client to Forge, it's literally just a double-click on the Forge installer, but we also understand that some will not be comfortable doing this.

Anyways, that's our status for now. We've been out-of-the-loop for a couple of days submerged in Forge and need to catch up on the most recent Microsoft/Bukkit/Mojang scuttlebutt.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
September 19, 2014
8:21 pm
summertree
Texas
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I appreciate so much you guys putting the time and effort into this, and filtering through the ocean of crap to find the diamonds of useful information.

If it helps, I always have Forge installed anyway, for other mods.

(And I hope you still have some hair left.)

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