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Bloodshedder

To Raven and Activision: GPL Heretic and Hexen

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Incoming copy and paste:

Hello,

My name is James Haley, and I represent an organization of Doom community members and game industry professionals who are making a public appeal to Raven Software and its parent company, Activision, Inc., to have the already-releasedsource code of the games Heretic and Hexen transferred from a highly restrictive EULA to the GNU GPL.

Most of our organization members maintain GPL projects based on the Doom source code and would like to be able to extend support to these other Doom-engine games. Unfortunately, this incompatible license creates major problems.

An online copy of the open letter can be viewed at this URL: http://www.doomworld.com/eternity/letter.html

Yours truly,
James Haley
Lead Programmer
Team Eternity

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So, did they get GPL'd? From the thread title I thought they finally did, but from the post I can't understand. Probably not...

And um.. fp or something

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Go Quasar!

If they refuse to do this or just flat out ignore everyone's attempt to get this GPL'd, then my respect for Raven/Activision will continue to dwindle.

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I doubt Raven will be any problem, it'll be Activision that will have any issue with it I am sure.
After all, Raven even let a Doom3 mod team get the permission to make a Hexen themed mod.

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Wow, I never knew about this petition. I really should pay more attention to this stuff!

Thanks for posting it, though. I reward your efforts with my signature!

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I hope for the best, but, nobody takes those online petitions seriously anyway. It'd be great if this actually worked, though.

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Raven has always been respectable in my opinion. I hope they respect our community the same and satisfy this petition.

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Dittohead said:

I hope for the best, but, nobody takes those online petitions seriously anyway. It'd be great if this actually worked, though.


You'd be surprised. Ling was instrumental in getting John Carmack to re-release the Doom source under the GPL.

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AlexMax said:

You'd be surprised. Ling was instrumental in getting John Carmack to re-release the Doom source under the GPL.

I wish the letter and petition every success but, unfortunately, the circumstances are quite different here. A direct request to the author of the code who cares about the gamers, like Carmack, isn't the same as a request to a faceless multinational conglomerate like Activision who just see the code as intellectual property that belongs to them.

I'll keep my fingers crossed though. It would be great for the community if this works.

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None whatsoever. It will be just as it was with the release of the Doom source under the GPL, ZDoom (and derivatives) will still stay under the old license.

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Trasher][ said:
I wonder what effect this would have on Zdoom...



ZDoom can't change its license. There's code in there that uses a GPL-incompatible license (e.g. all of the Build code in there.)

Another problem might be the use of FMOD. This library must be paid for in order to be used commercially so it would make at least the sound code GPL-incompatible as well.

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OK, now be gentle with me because I'm not really up on all the licensing stuff but - the GPL, I've heard a lot of arguments against it and once saw a very forcefully put case against it somewhere. Graf has explained why the GPL is incompatible with Zdoom. I know the Raven license is restrictive, but the GPL seems to be quite restrictive too. What is the great advantage? Is it purely to get compatability with other sources that are also GPL or is there more to it?

It seems almost like the GPL is creating a "closed shop" where only GPL programs can co-exist to the exclusion of others.

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Enjay said:
Is it purely to get compatability with other sources that are also GPL or is there more to it?

That's the main reason, I think. All but a handful of ports are now licensed under the GPL, and this would be the easiest way to add Heretic and Hexen support to them without worrying about infringing upon Raven's own code.

It seems almost like the GPL is creating a "closed shop" where only GPL programs can co-exist to the exclusion of others.

This is true, although the one good thing about it is keeping the most recent source continually available. And it's preferable to the old Doom source license, which allowed projects based on it to be made closed-source in opposition to the generosity of the original authors and the hard work done by others...

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Enjay said:

It seems almost like the GPL is creating a "closed shop" where only GPL programs can co-exist to the exclusion of others.

In a sense that is true. Of course Other-licensed programs can co-exist with GPL programs. But programmers are lazy beasts, and often it's much easier to incorporate someone else's code (e.g. for networking) than it is to write it all yourself. This is when GPL seems restrictive, as you can't incorporate GPL code into a non-gpl program without forcing your program to become GPL.

But the purpose of the GPL is not to make life easier for the programmer, the focus is on the user and their right to copy/modify/distribute software. From this point-of-view it doesn't make sense to allow programmers to sponge a nice piece of GPL code and put it in their commercial for-sale no-source-available program, since now the user has lost any ability to copy/modify/distribute that piece of code and any improvements that may have been made to it.

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I don't see how headers being used to link against fmod libraries in zdoom as a violation, unless zdoom uses a static version of fmod.

Or they licensed the header files :P

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RTC_Marine said:

I don't see how headers being used to link against fmod libraries in zdoom as a violation, unless zdoom uses a static version of fmod.

Or they licensed the header files :P



The GPL doesn't allow programs to depend on non-free software. One of the other things in the GPL that is more annoying than helpful. To make this compliant one had to redesign the sound system as plugin-based and offer the FMOD based version as a separate entity. But even that is questionable if the GPL was strictly interpreted.

The GPL would be a great license if this 'all inclusive' clause wasn't part of it. This clause sounds great for someone believing in 'free code for all' but that's probably the only people thinking so.

Some companies are so scared of this clause that they even prohibit the use of any GPL'ed software on their computers. This is not a joke. I have strict orders from my employer to completely avoid using GPL code for work related purposes - and even if this just means using small useful tools. They rather spend insane amounts of money before they risk 'contaminating' anything they do with it - even if this is complete nonsense. So yes, I am not a big fan of the GPL in its current form. It has caused me a lot of trouble at work.

Yes, the free software community does benefit from this strictness but that's about it. Some less restrictive alternative (even like 'you may use this code in non-GPL programs as long as you distribute them free of charge and release the source.') would make the code much more usable.

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This is the difference between "open source" and "free software." The two are totally different when you get to the core of their goals. I believe in the free software movement myself, and I don't think that proprietary libraries should have the privelege of being able to legally link against GPL code.

I don't want this so that I can copy huge chunks of the Heretic and Hexen source into Eternity wholesale. This is not even possible due to the huge differences in the way things are done. Every bit of code I bring in must be rewritten to some degree. The reason I want it is so that I can stop worrying about two things -- first, I don't want to worry about whether or not my 5-line enemy attack function looks different enough from Raven's so that nobody could reasonably believe -- or maintain in a court of law -- that it was derived from it. Second, I don't want these GPL hounds on my ass complaining that my port may contain non-compliant code.

This is not at all about laziness.

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Why not consider asking the heretic/hexen code to be released under the LGPL? That way it's not so restrictive and can include propietary libraries, while staying gpl.

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Enjay said:

It seems almost like the GPL is creating a "closed shop" where only GPL programs can co-exist to the exclusion of others.

LOOK AT ME

As a firm believer in the Free Software movement I believe there is little wrong with the GPL in its current form, and none of it has to do with what we are discussing here. Also, not that it means anything for Doom ports, the LGPL exists so that one can link against proprietary libraries.

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HobbsTiger1 said:

Also, not that it means anything for Doom ports, the LGPL exists so that one can link against proprietary libraries.


Actually it's the other way around: The LGPL allows proprietary software to link against free libraries.

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Well, I'm positive that the LGPL was made so that those who want to include propietary libraries on their gpl code can do so without incompatibilities. Anyways, why not compromise on the LGPL, that is, if Activision/Raven doesnt budge?

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kooltore said:

Well, I'm positive that the LGPL was made so that those who want to include propietary libraries on their gpl code can do so without incompatibilities.


Better read the license again. It is quite clear about its intentions. Besides, you can't retroactively change other people's licenses so it wouldn't help any GPL'ed program anyway.

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I like open source for the simple reason that when John Doe gets bored of working on 'Program X', theres nothing stopping Joe Bloggs from picking up the work - or at the very least, making sure the code doesn't drop off and die. I would happily use that as the sole basis of making everything open source. It's not limited to applications in the sense that most people think of them, it includes old games, old hardware drivers, quaint old editing programs and the like, all of which I happily stick to one until it's no longer usable on a basic level. The assumption that big software companies will look after your intrests is flawed, if you happen to be intrested in not continually buying big software packages... In short, I owe pretty much everything to Joe Bloggs. Thanks dude :)

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