Cheating Doesn’t Pay, But Is Open Source Free?

Since school is out for most everyone, my posts may not be as frequent so bear with me as we wait for the school year to start again. The posts that I will be writing will most likely be from walks of life outside my normal postings, but this one article I was browsing just caught my eye and I had to quickly pass it on.

The gist of this post is an article about Chess programs and the competitions that they are entered in against other Chess programs. Yes, you read that right, programs playing chess against each other. The winner of the last 4 World Computer Chess Championships has been using code in his program from other programs. Yep, he’s been cheating, kinda.

It concluded that Mr. Rajlich, who has American and Czech citizenship and lives in Poland, had used source code from programs called Crafty and Fruit….Crafty is an open-source program; Fruit, which was once sold commercially, is now free on its Web site and no longer being developed.

Mark A. Lemley, a Stanford law professor who specializes in science and technology issues, wrote in an e-mail that because Fruit and Crafty are freely available may mean that Mr. Rajlich is not guilty of misconduct if he copied some of the code. – The NY Times

To me the International Computer Gaming Association is being petty because both sources that he used are Open Source and free or no longer being developed. Personally I would have attributed those sources, but I don’t have complete info on what the author of the program did in his documentation, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt over the Gaming Association.

Cheating? You can make up your own mind, let me know what you think.