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[Bug-gnubg] Tutorial: Some comments

From: Holger
Subject: [Bug-gnubg] Tutorial: Some comments
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 2003 23:31:47 +0200

Hi Albert,

I've finally got around to read your tutorial and would like to share some thoughts.

First of all you should change "GNU" in the title and all other occurrences to "GNU Backgammon" or "gnubg". Even if quite some people were to use only "GNU" this bad practice shouldn't be confirmed by even an "official" site.

At the start you stress the price aspect quite a bit. The idea behind open source isn't however that it's free, as in a free meal. That's one of the reasons why the term changed from "Free software" to "Open source". Much more important is the lack of dependence on the software manufacturer for license restrictions, maintenance, and feature improvements and more.
So mentioning that gnubg doesn't come with a price tag is probably still worthwhile, but not primarily and maybe not right at the beginning.

I don't know the timely order of the bots, only that TD-Gammon was first. Thus, the references to only Snowie and Jellyfish aren't appropriate. I also don't know where the inspiration for gnubg came from and how big a role Snowie played then. It would be interesting what Gary had to say about the subject.

Your experience with GNU Chess is anecdotal, but might not leave a good impression of GNU Chess. I guess it was a very early version and likely has improved a lot by now. You'll often find this with open source projects.

The official site of GNU Backgammon is either http://www.gnu.org/software/gnubg/ or the new site at http://www.gnubg.org
though you should be warned that this is not where you will want to get the program. To get the fully functional version you want to go to the site of one of the authors:

You not only get the software at the official sites, you get much more - the source. A "warning" and "fully functional version" seem to overdo it. This is no typical Windows crippleware. If I'm not badly mistaken gnubg started on Unix/Linux and the MS platform was only later supported.

In the next paragraph it's probably no bad idea to mention the mailing list and/or the bug tracker to report bugs to.

For preserving user settings during an update the file boards.xml might be necessary to copy, too, if one has added own designs. ... Ah, yes and no: in later versions boards.xml is in folder .gnubg. But the screenshot needs an update.

In the Hypergammon section you might want to mention that makehyper.exe comes included in Øystein's setup.

At the end of chapter "Starting a game" the option of moving the left die with the left mouse button and the right die with the right mouse button and changing the dice order by clicking on them should be mentioned.

Some typos:
chapter "Bearoff Truncation": "it makes since to" -> sense
chapter "My suggested settings": "Tests have show that" -> shown



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