Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: About Fafis...

Author: Mridul Muralidharan

Date: 12:08:17 05/29/05

Go up one level in this thread

On May 29, 2005 at 11:35:42, Vasik Rajlich wrote:

>On May 29, 2005 at 08:25:02, Mridul Muralidharan wrote:
>>On May 28, 2005 at 12:29:33, GŁnther Simon wrote:
>>>On May 28, 2005 at 12:20:00, Vladimir Elin wrote:
>>>>Hi Alex,
>>>>I think that reason for you to use only engines with open sources and delete
>>>>all engines were you can see words : alpha, beta, prunning and many many etc.
>>>Vladimir that is really a dumb post after all...
>>>>You idea that Patriot 2.0 is clone - full absurd.
>>Is it really such a dumb post ? I am not sure - whenever someone mentions
>>"clone" , I am skeptical - inspite of the number of clones that are discovered.
>>I prefer to give the author the benifit of doubt - a genourously large benifit
>>at that.
>>Nothing is opensource programs is a "secret" , I mean - even if they were not
>>opensource , the amateur (and definitely professional) authors will have arrived
>>(or already have) at them independently : by expiriments or through available
>>docs. I dont really see any ground breaking code or idea in any of the
>>opensource engines today - all are straight forward implementations of the
>>standard theory.
>>Most , if not all , clone accusations show as "proof" something really dumb -
>>like string search , result in a single position , behaviour of a parser (which
>>is _not_ part of the engine as such people !) , etc - maybe these are the only
>>possible ways to identify clones (I am not sure - and as I have posted before ,
>>I dont really care much) , but based on such flimsy grounds people should not
>>accuse others.
>>When you accuse a program as a clone - you are also maligning the reputation of
>>the author : which is the more serious thing IMHO.
>>What Vladimir Elin is hinting at is that (I think) , people (usually non-chess
>>engine programmers who know quiet little about the programming aspects) see
>>something/anything strange (in their eyes) and cry wolf.
>>Like a string search which returns strings - which might be what is defined in
>>the pgn spec , or a binary search which returns data match (whcih might be de to
>>a generated parser for pgn handling for book) , etc !
>>Ofcourse wachful people are always needs to see the hints which will lead to the
>>identification of many clones , but IMO we need a better way to decide how to
>>identify clones.
>>The current process seems to be : 1) Accuse 2) Flame 3) Author defends 4)
>>mudslinging 5) Nasty posts - brining the author's whole family history to the
>>ground 6) Challenge (to show source) 7) If 6 accepted , cleared , else branded
>>as clone.
>>  I dont know about others, but no I am never going to send my source code to
>>someone I dont personally trust - even if the rest of the computer chess
>>community might seem to.
>>Not everyone knows what the non-opensource guys are doing in their code : and
>>personally I do many a stupid things , but I might have something interesting
>>too :)
>>So why have opensource engines ? - different question anyway , we wont discuss
>>that since it is largely an authors decision.
>>We should try to promote the number of amateur engines so that as many people as
>>possible should enter this field - not discourage people. (both within
>>reasonable limits ofcourse)
>Mridul --
>First of all, your post makes me wonder if you are familiar with the Patriot 2.0
>situation, but anyway those things are boring for me so let's talk philosophy
>for a second :)
>I've had the good or maybe bad luck to spend at least 3 years living in five
>different countries, and I can make a certain observation. In two of these
>countries - USA and Germany - society essentially works. Wages are decent, crime
>is kept down, things just work. In three of these countries - Hungary, Czech
>Republic and Poland - no offense intended to anyone, but they just don't work as
>well. People steal from the government without getting punished, people cheat on
>their jobs, nobody is willing to deal with various problems, etc.
>What's the difference? A huge difference is that in Germany and USA, people
>essentially care. If they see something wrong, they report it and attempt to
>rectify it. This goes from cleaning up a small mess on the road, to calling the
>police if the neighbor is beating his family, etc. Throughout Eastern Europe,
>people are apathetic - and everybody suffers as a result.
>Sometimes, it can seem a bit too much. I remember I had this impression when I
>first came to the US - why is everybody so concerned with things that aren't
>their business. In the overall picture, though, society is better for it.
>So I certainly appreciate that there are people who are going to look into these
>things and do something about it, rather than just endlessly holding their
>tongue for fear of being out of line. Without it, computer chess will just be a

Hi Vas,

  Like I mentioned myself , we need people who will point out the
But these are just that suspicions - a 35% binary match of the executables (egtb
will account for that ;-) ) , a small set of common strings , a bug in the fen
parser (I have seen multiple people misread/misinterpret the same spec - there
will be grey areas even in the most well written specs) , etc are not enough by
a long shot to accuse something as a clone - they can be indicators of a
potential clone at best.

I visit CCC less and less nowadays - and each time I do so , a new program seems
to be accused of being a clone : personally I dont care , it is a hobby for me ,
something I use to fill my remaining freetime with when I am not busy with other
opensource projects I am involved with - but true , there are people who take it
seriously and for them and for the future (if not for other reasons) we should
try to keep this field as clean as possible.

But that should not be at the expense of any tom dick and harry coming out and
accusing programs of being a clone.
That is why I said - we should have a better process for clone issue : how clone
suspicions are raised , how they are probed into , how they are proved/disproved
, etc : a bunch of amateurish tests should not be the basis of flame wars here.
Makes the whole forum (and field for that matter) more and more unreadable and

  The analogy you raised is not really valid in this context (IMHO :) ).
I wrote a long response in this space on that - and then removed it.
That is not the matter we are discussing here :) - it will most probably only
expose my ignorance of the issues concerned since I have never physically been
to the places mentioned like you though I am made aware of the ground realities
through my friends.

Anyway , you are correct about the first point - my understanding (from what
little I read among the accusations and counteraccusations that kept flying
around) was that Patriot 2 was accused of being a clone , author did not expose
the source code , branded as a clone by the community here based on the
circumstantial evidence found (I read a few - maybe I missed a lot more) and the
ones I read looked not very solid to me (I have not done any research on Patriot
and never used it for that matter , so likely that I am missing the finer points
of the Patriot2 clone issue).

My main problem with these accusations is that :

1) People here follow the maxim guilty until proven innocent.

2) Sensationalism in the accusations - I see more and more of this in the media
where it is better to say something bad to get the max amount of publicity and
attention : same thing is being "imported" into CCC.

3) In general , it is the author's reputation which is more at stake than the
program as such , and mudslinging is affecting the author's reputation (the
accusations might or mightnot be correct).
Hence , even if something is disproved - the result is not going to remove the
damage already done to it !

"An arrow which leaves the bow and a word which leaves the mouth cannot be taken
back" - an old saying here :)

I believe in "Innocent until proven guilty" too much (it might be a
cultural/upbringing thing, not sure) , which is why these discussions disturb me
Very few people seem to stick up for the author in general - like Peter Skinner
seems to be doing right now (just skimmed through the posts now) , the more
vocal group are the ones who are accusing. The others seem to be maintaining a
studied silence - true , you should try not to react until you get all the facts
- mark of a wise man , but sometimes it galls me when the more vocal group makes
the community believe in an issue just because they keep repeating it and the
others dont challenge or respond until everyone believes it !
I have seen way too many "discussions" of this nature in other forums online and
now recently in CCC also.
Justice happens when both sides are looked at impartially : assuming people are
really interested in getting to the roots of the problem. (which most of us in
CCC here are I assume).

Note : even now I am not really saying whether the programs are clones or not ,
I dont have the data , unfortunately neither the time to investigate , or the
patience for it right now and really appreciate the work people are puttig in
this work.


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