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GNU is Not Unix PC Games (Games)

id and Valve May Be Violating GPL 399

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
frooge writes "With the recent release of iD's catalog on Steam, it appears DOSBox is being used to run the old DOS games for greater compatibility. According to a post on the Halflife2.net forums, however, this distribution does not contain a copy of the GPL license that DOSBox is distributed under, which violates the license. According to the DOSBox developers, they were not notified that it was being used for this release."
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id and Valve May Be Violating GPL

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  • Re:Does this mean (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2007 @06:19PM (#20125235)
    This sort of thing isn't always on purpose. Some people think "open source" means they can use the code however they please

    It does. Perhaps you're referring to the GPL instead?
  • Re:Does this mean (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2007 @06:45PM (#20125423)

    Also, since it appears DOSBox is under the GPL and not the LGPL, this WOULD require the source code of these games (as well as graphics, audio and any other components distributed along with DOSBox) to be publicly released. (That whole "viral" thing people talk about)

    You have been listening to too much Microsoft propaganda. That whole viral nonsense was and is just FUD against open source in general and Linux in particular.

    You can distribute separate programs together, each with their own license. Merely putting a single GPL'd program on a disk with other software does not make all the software on the disk GPL'd. Only if code that is under the GPL was put into the games would they be required to be GPL'd as well.

    To use code under the GPL in your own project you must put all the code combined with the GPL'd code under the GPL. That is the way you pay the author for the right to use the code. Alternately you can contact the author and negotiate a different license for your use, likely he will want a different form of payment if he is willing to make the deal.

  • by FliesLikeABrick (943848) <ryan@u13.net> on Sunday August 05, 2007 @06:46PM (#20125431)
    Steam now has a reason to be ported to Linux. A lot of the new id games added to Steam play natively on Linux, there are others that use DOSbox, which conveniently works on Linux as well. If Valve ports Steam to Linux... it'd open the door for Linux users to easily buy and play these games, and I'm sure enough people would such that it makes business sense for them to do it.
  • Re:Does this mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wayward_bruce (988607) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @06:51PM (#20125453)

    This sort of thing isn't always on purpose. Some people think "open source" means they can use the code however they please. Programmers aren't always license experts. It seems so simple to us because we are around these terms on slashdot constantly, but there have been times where I made assumptions about close source code licenses that could have gotten me into the same trouble. The legal department doesn't review every single decision in an organization and its possible legal implications. It could have been a few guys that just didn't understand the GPL and it was missed because it wasn't the largest project in the company. Not defending them, but not everyone understands "open source" isn't the same as public domain.
    So I can say that copyright infringement isn't always on purpose, some people think that "sharing" means they can download music however they please, and people aren't always reading the fine print. It seems so simple to us because we're around those terms on Slashdot constantly, but there have been times when I might have downloaded a movie or two without knowing for certain that I have the right to do so. I'm not defending P2Pers, but not everyone understands that "available" isn't the same as public domain.

    This sort of argument fares poorly in court, it seems. :)
  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday August 05, 2007 @07:37PM (#20125735) Homepage Journal

    You fucking piece of shit bearded GNU freak. As more and more of these GPL fiasco stories come up the more companies are learning to avoid the GPL quagmire.
    Many other licenses for Free works, including the BSD license, the X11 license, and the Creative Commons licenses, require that the text of the license and the list of authors be included in binary distributions.
  • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@wumpus-cav e . n et> on Sunday August 05, 2007 @07:48PM (#20125813)

    Yes, let's be legalistic jerks about the whole thing instead of forgive and forgetting. It works for the RIAA.

  • Re:Does this mean (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Sunday August 05, 2007 @09:20PM (#20126309) Homepage
    Well the source for ID's older games is released anyway.

    I personally would prefer if lawsuits and stuff didnt come out.
    ID has been one of the first to port their games to Linux.
  • It would be too time-consuming to evaluate the third-party Doom / Hexen ports to determine which would work best for the overwhelming number of system configurations on which Steam will run, and most users would want as authentic an experience as possible. Evaluating newer ports for security problems, flaws in feature implementation, or bugs that only appear on some hardware configuration would also be time-consuming and expensive for a QA department. It would be simplest to make DOSbox cooperate with Steam and run the latest official DOS executable, and that's clearly the decision that id and Valve chose. I'd have done the same in their position. As for the old Win32 port, Carmack himself once said that was Microsoft's baby (or possibly Monolith's...), and that he had no idea where the source code to it went.
  • Re:Does this mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crazybasenji (1130955) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @11:36PM (#20126951)
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence," and Occam's razor. Unfortunately, copyright infringement is often strict liability; in other words, no finding of intent is required.

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