@Jessica I might be wrong but I'm led to believe the arcade version is sadly proprietary :(

@Jessica it pisses me off too, they could have at least put their contributions to the game upstream, but nope, instead they violated the GPL and released a proprietary arcade machine, the game wasn't even under the BSD license or something...

@immychan makes no sense. Why release a foss game as proprietary, especially if its probably running on linux

@Jessica Who knows, perhaps over fears that someone would make a bootleg arcade cabinet?

@Jessica You're right there, it was ridiculous to make it proprietary, but I guess that's how cooperations work :(

@immychan @Jessica Might’ve cost them money to develop the cabinet that they need to recover. But, releasing this without source code is actually not a violation of the GPL. What the GPL states as its minimum requirement is that they are obliged to provide a copy of the source code if requested, on some common medium, such as physical media or an Internet download, and further, that they may charge a small fee for the cost of making this copy for you.

@immychan @Jessica I think the GPL was formulated this way to remain as technology independent as possible. It does not assume that Internet access is available or that the author is using a version tracking system such as Git. So, legally speaking, I think it’s only a violation of the GPL if they refuse to provide the source code if requested. There is also no provision against selling binary copies of GPL software.

@immychan @Jessica Well, so long as selling an arcade cabinet with GPL software in it counts as distributing software, that is. I think this relates to the anti-Tivotisation clauses that were added to newer versions of the GPL, so it might be worth looking into which version this game uses, and request a copy of the modified source code if it looks like the law is on your side.

@thor @Jessica That's a good point, I have no problem with them having the arcade cabinet, in fact I think it's a great idea and really gets FOSS out there, I also hadn't thought of the GPL that way, although the WIkipedia page states that the game was proprietary so...

@immychan @Jessica Ah, well, there’s little one can do about proprietary code. But if they modified open source code and distributed binaries of that, then what I said would apply. With that said, given how the world of software works these days, it could be said to be a bit of a dick move to not make the source code as easily available as it is for most free software. Since it’s so easy to distribute code these days, it’s almost like exploiting loopholes.

@thor @Jessica I'm led to believe the proprietary arcade version was a fork of the GPL licensed game, which to me seems like it'd be a big nono, if it's not illegal then it's definitely unethical as the GPL license is designed to stop that sort of thing from happening

@immychan @Jessica Well, is it proprietary? Does the vendor say it’s proprietary? If it’s a fork of GPL software, did anyone attempt to ask for a copy of the source code from the vendor yet? I mean, they’d be legally obliged to comply...

@thor @Jessica Honestly I'm not sure if that's information that's available, Wikipedia seems to suggest that yes, it was indeed proprietary

@immychan @Jessica If the company went under and nobody ever bothered to ask them for a copy of the source code...

@immychan @Jessica The assumption the source code must be bundled with the binary or otherwise provided without explicitly requesting it isn’t a requirement of the GPL, so...

@thor @Jessica Honestly I'm not bothered that it's compliant with the GPL, I don't necessarily believe that the GPL is a very good license in many respects anyway, what I care about is that the source code is now lost to time because some company made an arcade cabinet without contributing to upstream

@immychan @Jessica Ah, yeah, so you’re talking about the culture that has formed around. The free software community and its expectations. Yeah, as I said before, it isn’t in the spirit of that community, even if it is according to the letter of the license.

@immychan @Jessica I don’t know if there are licenses that require bundling the source code, since this would cause great practical difficulties in the case of, say, package managers.

@thor @Jessica There probably aren't, I do admit it'd be very impractical, what I will say is this though: the BSD license would have been much better suited for what happened with Tux Racer

@immychan @Jessica How so? AFAIK the BSD license doesn’t even require publishing source code if you modify the code. There are BSD license notices baked into ping.exe, tracert.exe, etc, on Windows, because they’re just Windows ports that Microsoft did of UNIX tools.

@thor @Jessica That's kind of my point, there wouldn't be any moral ambiguity if the game was under the BSD license, it would have been totally okay to make that arcade port

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@immychan @Jessica One might imagine a license that requires publication of the source code, but what does publication mean? For how long should source code be available? Through what means?

@thor @Jessica also I just checked and apparently there was a proprietary PC expansion for the game too, I'm not sure if that's against the GPL though since it was put out by the same company that developed the game in the first place

@immychan @Jessica Good question. That’s where it gets hairy. It’s not uncommon for parts of a project to be proprietary in order to turn those parts into a revenue source. It’s possible that they made a similar move for the arcade machine. They left the game source code alone and just added external components, separate from the game, to make it work properly in the cabinet.

It doesn’t sound terribly difficult to design such a system tbh. Sounds like a fun project.

@thor @Jessica Totally agreed, it's a fairly hairy situation generally, especially since the GPL license is quite subject to confusion a lot of the time.

But I guess at the end of the day if the game developers were fine with it (which it seems that they were) and so was the community then there's no issue

@immychan @Jessica When you get down to the practical execution of this stuff, especially when the original creators are involved, there are usually some bits of it that are unstated and pragmatic, and that the author might admit or wave/laugh off if you asked them in person. Might also have been a team decision and no one felt obliged to ask the community since it was already discussed among a group and everyone there agreed.

@immychan @Jessica Also, it reminds me of a few conversations I’ve had with people who are announcing freelance services similar to mine and wanted to use my “marketing copy”...

“While I wish you good luck, I can’t give you permission to use it, since I would prefer it if the customers came my way, since I need the money, and that copy helps set me apart. Giving you permission to use it would rob me of that advantage.”

Stuff you do out of self interest but with no intent of harming others.

@immychan @thor I think they should've released a DLC pack with the arcade tracks

@Jessica @thor Agreed, after a time the additional content of the proprietary release of the game and arcade version should have been released as GPL, especially as the company was going under

@immychan @thor I think they should've released the Full version as free, but release packs of tracks. and what the fuck were they thinking releasing a whole arcade system.

@Jessica @immychan Some of their decisions might make more sense if you view them as straddling the gap between the usual world of game development (proprietary, competitive) and the free software community.

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@immychan @Jessica I think it’s frequently forgotten that RMS isn’t opposed to making money on software. His initial objection to proprietary software was similar to the objections of the Right to Repair movement in the hardware world. If a vendor goes under, it should be possible for someone else to maintain the product.

@thor @Jessica That I do understand, I'm not against making money on software either, but I don't like that a fork of a FOSS game is lost to time because source code was never provided, if I wanted to go out now and make my own Tux Racer arcade cabinet I couldn't as the source code for the original is gone

@immychan @Jessica sorry, what?
What were they supposed to release, isn't this just a linix pc running the game?

@blobyoumu @Jessica apparently the arcade version was an expansion on the FOSS PC game

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