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Old 21 April 2015, 17:17   #100
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Germany
Posts: 662
Originally Posted by Minuous View Post
For starters, there are various open source games I have written here
Hm, I kind of figured you were handing out sources to interested parties since all those ports exist, but I never figured the sources were included with the actual distribution. Thanks.

But now that I read your license, we're hitting the old "open source" vs. "free/libre software" debate. I'm more of a "free software" guy, so your "open source freeware" license pretty much scares me

The following is meant as constructive criticism, I'm glad those sources are easily available (always wanted to have a closer look at the Interton console, the only proper game console ever developed in Germany).

You are using a custom license which doesn't fit the "free software" definition of either the FSF or the DFSG, which severely impacts the files' distribution in the Linux crowd: even if there were Linux ports, they wouldn't be distributed by the actual OS vendors, people would have to hunt them down themselves - which is a very rare thing to do on Linux. It also makes it completely impossible to merge your code with other (free) code - think about joystick or network support on Windows/OS X/Linux, for example.

Your code could theoretically still be adapted to SDL (since that is LGPL), which makes creating and maintaining lots of ports much easier (including automatic joystick/joypad support, which your emulator wouldn't have on WINE right now) - but since it's not free software, there's a lot less interest from the SDL crowd.

Out of the nine conditions in your custom license, five are pretty much covered by the GPL, one ("no logic bombs, spyware, DRM...") is more or less guaranteed by the GPL and one ("modified versions must be clearly marked as such") can easily be covered by trademark rights instead of copyrights - you own the "Arcadia" trademark, so you can decide who can use it and in what way.

That leaves the following two clauses:

    * you are not allowed to sell it, or modified versions of it, without
      consent (however, magazine covermounting is permitted);

    * you are not allowed to claim you wrote this software, or to remove
      or alter the existing credits (though you may append to them as
That's just not going to happen with a GPL release of a an exotic emulator or a few smaller games. There is some abuse of the GPL, but we're talking Chinese hardware manufacturers stealing BIOS code here, not simple entertainment software.

I think your releases are a perfect example of why choosing a custom license has the potential to do more harm than good. They're well maintained, and judging from my experience of playing "Africe" a few times after its initial release, quite polished too. But despite them being open source, I can't use them because actually porting a game to Linux is more than I'm capable of and nobody else is going to bother due to the license.
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