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Atari Sub-Sub-Contractor Used ScummVM For Wii Game

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the hand-in-the-cookie-jar dept.

Wii 313

MBCook writes "In several recent releases, it seems that Atari published games for the Wii based on ScummVM, which was released under the GPL. Atari contracted Majesco, who contracted a company named Mistic Software with offices in the Ukraine. When the fact that the GPL was being violated was brought to Atari's attention, they were kind at first until it was discovered that Nintendo doesn't allow open source software to be used with the Wii SDK, so updated documentation mentioning the GPL wasn't an available solution. So, what happens to the games? 'There is a period of time in which all current copies have to be sold. Any copies beyond this period or any reprints get fined with quite high fine for each new/remaining copy. The remaining stock has to be destoryed [sic].' Atari and Majesco seem to have been very cooperative about this whole thing, but had their hands tied by the agreement with Nintendo."

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313 comments

Only effects Seaquest and Submarine Commander (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453377)

The tank-sub-contractors used a different technology.

Wow (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453381)

Nintendo literally hates open source. Guess I'll skip that DSi.

Re:Wow (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453425)

>>Guess I'll skip that DSi.
As if they were ever accepting of something that could force open the source code of a game on their system?

Re:Wow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453445)

Nintendo wants to prevent leakage of information about the Wii hardware that people can use to hack the machine. Of course, the Wii has already been throughly hacked and so it's just corporate doublethink to pretend it hasn't.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453783)

Nintendo wants to prevent leakage of information about the Wii hardware that people can use to hack the machine. Of course, the Wii has already been throughly hacked and so it's just corporate doublethink to pretend it hasn't.

No, what they want to prevent is more serious than information about hardware. You see, to make code run, you need a signing key. They'll be required to distribute this with the source code under the GPL, because otherwise you can't compile new software.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453921)

What? You don't sign at compile-time, you sign the package after.

Re:Wow (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453993)

Assuming it's gpl v3 cause I don't believe v2 makes that restriction. And if the requirements is that anyone can compile it with only the source and freely available tools, that would also be a major issue. Is redistributing .net a requirement for GPL apps on .net? No, so maybe this is similar to the key here. Code signing for security purposes is place where this is not a good idea to restrict. I want to be able to say, I will only compile and use stuff that RedHat has signed.

Re:Wow (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454467)

The version being discussed is GPLv2, they where still GPL2 [scummvm.org] till after 0.11 [wikipedia.org] and AFAIK GPLv2 doesn't have any restrictions on signing (in fact i think that's one of the reasons that the linux kernel is still gpl2)

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453575)

Nintendo literally hates open source. Guess I'll skip that DSi.

I'm sure they'll cry themselves to sleep at night at the loss of your purchase.

But just so we're clear, here: which console manufacturer that allows the sale of open source software through their download service do you prefer?

literally

By the way, that word doesn't mean what you think it means.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454013)

INCONCEIVABLE

Re:Wow (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454447)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453601)

Nintendo literally hates open source. Guess I'll skip that DSi.

Not that I care if people by the DSi or not but I have to ask you three questions. 1. Are you a developer? 2. Are you involved in any open source project in any other capacity than an end user? 3. How would being friendly or not to open source change anything given that games are typically not downloaded but rather come on a physical product for the DS?

Are you one of those open source fanboys who does not even contribute a single penny to any project but still feel it important to voice your righteous indignation? If this is true, then your words are hollow as the very act of downloading an open source product without contributing back towards their development/hosting through either donations or ad revenue means that you are siphoning off what little funding they have in bandwidth costs.

Words posted on slashdot to not pay the bills. Nintendo is obviously concerned about the viral nature of GPL'ed code.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453709)

He's not profiting off open source, unlike Nintendo and Atari (owned by Hasbro I think) so he's not obligated to contribute back really. I have contributed to open source and I welcome him as an advocate who sees a problem and is willing to forgo some personal enjoyment for what he sees as right and moral.

I suspect you are not much of a open source fan or a BSD zealot or you wouldn't be calling the GPL viral. Get off your high horse, if you would, your snide attitude doesn't help our cause; if you are truly against the GPL, you aren't much of an ally anyway (preferences are fine, the zealotry I'm speaking of is downright destructive).

If more people were like the GP, in fact, we would have corps raping and pillaging half the world right now, stealing and engaging in all kinds of hypocrisy when they think they won't get caught, offering an insincere "oops, our bad" if they do get caught. He doesn't need to be a developer to take a stand, hell anyone can take a stand, he's doing it, good for him.

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454253)

If more people were like the GP, in fact, we would have corps raping and pillaging half the world right now, stealing and engaging in all kinds of hypocrisy when they think they won't get caught, offering an insincere "oops, our bad" if they do get caught. He doesn't need to be a developer to take a stand, hell anyone can take a stand, he's doing it, good for him.

You entirely missed the parent's point.

GP:

Nintendo literally hates open source. Guess I'll skip that DSi.

That is not standing up for open source. Nintendo doesn't want ANYTHING to do with open source. Amazingly that is a problem for some people.

BTW anon cow, the GPL is viral, by design.

I suspect you are not much of a open source fan or a BSD zealot or you wouldn't be calling the GPL viral. Get off your high horse, if you would, your snide attitude doesn't help our cause; if you are truly against the GPL, you aren't much of an ally anyway (preferences are fine, the zealotry I'm speaking of is downright destructive).

Your cause? Ally? You need to get laid. Having all new software in the world released under GPL would be a tinkerer's wet dream, and that's about all. Don't buy into the 'all software must be free just because it's software' crap. The parent is right, if you aren't a tinkerer yourself, then seeing this as a 'cause' is bullshit.

is willing to forgo some personal enjoyment for what he sees as right and moral.

Moral. Wow. See a shrink.

Re:Wow (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454077)

Hum, the GPL isn't to protect Developers right but Users. The fact that you don't need to edit the code today doesn't mean you shouldn't have the right to do so in the future. This is why some prefer GPL code, for the guarantee that if they ever need too, they can edit the code. I do contribute to open source projects but if I didn't then I would still want the option.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454103)

Words posted on slashdot to not pay the bills. Nintendo is obviously concerned about the viral nature of GPL'ed code.

Far as I know, the GPL can't be applied retroactively to the external platform the application is built on. It ain't that viral ;)

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454517)

Even end user monkeys that don't do squat for development are contributing just the same.

Ever heard of beta testing? Bug reports? Performance reviews?

I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (5, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453409)

Companies do have to be careful how they use GPL code, sure. But the real lesson here is that companies have to be much more careful about who their subcontractors are!

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (3, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453517)

This does not, in any way, demonstrate that companies need to be careful of how they use GPL code. They do need to be careful of how they use GPL code, but this doesn't demonstrate it at all.

This entire thing would be fine if it wasn't for Nintendo's rules about what can be used on their devices. Atari would just have to make the modifications to ScummVM available somewhere, which it sounds like it was perfectly willing to do until someone realized that OSS violates the agreement with Nintendo, period.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453715)

Atari would just have to make the modifications to ScummVM available somewhere

s/would have have to/do/

Cessation is not a remedy. The deed is done. Let's see the source.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (4, Informative)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454197)

Apparently, once it was realized that Atari couldn't legally distribute the game under any circumstances (Because they can't just give the source away, it has to compilable, and it can't be without the SDK, which they obviously can't give away.), Atari's lawyers then went crazy and decided to threaten ScummVM with a lawsuit for reverse engineering...something.

What, exactly, I don't know, as I don't know what stuff Atari owns that ScummVM reverse engineered.

But threaten they did, at least to the point that ScummVM gave up on the 'distribute the source' and said 'As long as you stop shipping the game, it's fine, we will not sue'.

Legally, it seems unclear if Atari could actually get the source, as the code went through at least two subcontractors, in three different countries. And going to court to get a port to the DS that required the Nintendo SDK (Rendering it illegal to actually distribute binaries of, and impossible to have people compile themselves) seemed of dubious value anyway. So any suit forcing Atari to release the code would be sorta silly anyway.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to make Atari out to be angels, I was simply pointing out that, if not for Nintendo's rules about their SDK, Atari would be fine with just releasing the game OSS. (I mean, it's not as if you can play it without the copyrighted data files, which would not be under the GPL.) Once they realized they couldn't do that, the lawyers said 'Oh, crap, we can't make this legal with both ScummVM and Nintendo, and hence we're legally liable either way. So we're going to have to threaten to countersue one of those guys to make them preemptively drop a suit against us.'.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453731)

Nintendo cannot allow GPL or LGPL software on its machines as that would require developers to not only release their source code, but may also require Nintendo's SDK to be included with the GPL or LGPL. Or allow non-licensed users to modify licensed code - they lose control. Nintendo wants to make sure that Nintendo SDK and system remain accessible through license only hence the rules that there are no GPL.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453917)

Substitute the Nintendo SDK with a commercial product like Visual Studio. I never heard of any claims that using GPL in this environment would force MS to open anything.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453939)

An agreement between third parties does not compel Nintendo to do anything. Stop talking nonsense.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454005)

There is nothing that Atari could possibly do that would magically make Nintendo's SDK be under the GPL.

Seriously, that's the stupidest thing I've heard of in a long time. Atari's actions cannot force Nintendo to GPL their code or modify their license.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454107)

I don't see where the GPL requires them to provide the Nintendo SDK.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454223)

The GPL has a specific exemption for libraries that are part of the operating system. This is why GPL'd code is allowed to link against things like the win32 dlls on Windows.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (2, Insightful)

cheapbastard (1534205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453859)

Despite what supporters of OSS believe Should or Should Not be allowed or done, Nintendo still has the right to decide what software is acceptable for use on their hardware.

The issue or lesson here is that companies have to be more diligent when fulfilling their contractual obligations. I Atari feels that it does not have to check on its suppliers, then the short coming lies with Atari, not Nintendo.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454323)

Sure, they have every right to decide that for the hardware they own.

But since I purchased a Wii, I have an instance that is now MY hardware, and I should be able to develop open source applications for it.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454511)

But since I purchased a Wii, I have an instance that is now MY hardware, and I should be able to develop open source applications for it.

Sure, go for it. Just don't expect to use nintendo's SDK to do it.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454403)

"Nintendo still has the right to decide what software is acceptable for use on their hardware."

Their hardware? Did you mean MY hardware that I bought and paid for?

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (0, Flamebait)

kscguru (551278) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454043)

This entire thing would be fine if it wasn't for Nintendo's rules about what can be used on their devices.

This entire thing would have been equally fine if it wasn't for ScummVM's rules about what platforms can be used to run their games.

I do think it's an absurd policy that Nintendo won't allow GPLed code on their console, probably a policy derived from lawyers concerned that if Nintendo allows GPLed code, they might end up being forced to open-source the whole console software stack.

I find it even more absurd that Slashdot screams bloody murder when a hardware vendor (Nintendo) disallows GPLed software, but bends over and asks for more when a software vendor (ScummVM) disallows non-GPLed hardware. ScummVM deliberately chose to exclude themselves from a significant fraction of the commercial market when they put a GPL license on the software. Which is their choice, I respect their reasons for making it, but they made a choice and now their end users (everyone who wants to buy these games) has to live with the consequences - that ScummVM-based games cannot legally run on the Wii.

There is no perfect software license. The GPL has tradeoffs. This is one of them.

ScummVM is not to blame (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454227)

ScummVM released their software under the GPL. They did not do this with the intention of preventing Wii development, they did it with the intention of ensuring that all copies of their code, including modified copies, remain open source. ScummVM's developers would love to see ScummVM running on the Wii, and they did not attack anyone for doing this; Nintendo is the belligerent party here, for preventing developers from licensing Wii games in certain ways.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (5, Informative)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454515)

First of all, ScummVM doesn't make any rules about what platforms can run 'their games', for the simply fact that ScummVM does not, in fact, own any games.

All games that ScummVM runs are owned by someone else, and if you want to run them a platform not currently supported by ScummVM, feel free to figure out how do that. Either by porting ScummVM and following the licensing, or writing your own interpreter, or buying one. (There is a DS interpreter for LucasArt games from LucasArt.)

And don't forget to license the game itself from the owner if you wish to sell it, which you have to do regardless of whether or not you're using ScummVM.

Secondly, ScummVM has no rules at all about what platforms it can run on. It has rules against what software it can be linked against, and how it can be compiled, and what you have to do after you distribute it. But absolutely no rules about what platform it runs on.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

DMKrow (1496055) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453911)

To be more correct, companies need to be careful how they use external code. GPL is unfairly picked on; when violating the terms of use for any code (free or commercial) is a bad move. How can they dissallow open source? That has to be a mistake, I doubt that the Wii SDK is devoid of any BSD/Apache/whatever source.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454037)

Here's an example of someone who never learns from past mistakes:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Housing/idUSTRE55L39120090622 [reuters.com]

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454245)

This isn't a problem specific to GPL code. If you are selling software, you have to make sure none of the code in your program is plagarised, regardless of the licence such plagarised code might be available under.

Re:I hope the wrong lesson isn't drawn... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454433)

Unless it is BSD licensed. Regardless of the operating system you are using right now, I am pretty sure that there is BSD code in there.

It's only copyright (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453411)

Based on what people posted for the Jammie Thomas $1.92 million settlement article, opinions will likely be divided into these different viewpoints:

1. Atari should pay 3x the retail cost of the GPL code. 3 x $0 = $0
2. It's only copyright which should be abolished anyways, no harm no foul
3. Code wants to be free, man... why is the GPL holding it back?

What's more likely is this response: OMG! GPL was violated! String Atari up by their balls!!11!!1! The GPL is sacred and must not be blasphemed like this. Grab your torches and pitchforks... we're going on a witch hunt!

Re:It's only copyright (4, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453647)

What's more likely is this response: OMG! GPL was violated! String Atari up by their balls!!11!!1! The GPL is sacred and must not be blasphemed like this. Grab your torches and pitchforks... we're going on a witch hunt!

What's even more ironic is that those very same people probably have no qualms violating the copyright of Apple, MSFT, members of the RIAA or the MPAA. That is hypocrisy at its finest.

Re:It's only copyright (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454133)

it's copyleft not copyright get it right man.

How exactly? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454345)

Damn it, /. ate my comment. I'll try to recreate it.

You're confusing the purpose of the GPL with it's mechanism. The GPL uses copyright law to try and advance the goals of free software and access to source code. Just because it uses copyright law doesn't mean that everyone who supports the GPL agrees with the goals of copyright law (the two are very different).

It'd be perfectly reasonable for someone to complain about GPL violations but also be violating Apple's copyright, e.g., by working on a Hackintosh project. That's hardly hypocritical.

Re:It's only copyright (1, Redundant)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453903)

Good point, but slashbot moderators have buried you. I often wonder why some people on Slashdot seem to think the GPL is the only valid use of copyright. The bottom line is: it should be up to the creator whether or not they give their work out for free.

Re:It's only copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454321)

he posted anon. I don';t think it was buried as you say so much as your own anonymous settings.

I with my mod points do not feel like it deserves a mod up or down, I'm happy with that as a +1. I did give the guy about the irony two comments above you a +1 insightful, though.

Re:It's only copyright (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453913)

Based on what people posted for the Jammie Thomas $1.92 million settlement article, opinions will likely be divided into these different viewpoints:

1. Atari should pay 3x the retail cost of the GPL code. 3 x $0 = $0

Actually, the retail cost of GPL code is "you give us your source code changes back, including a way of building the software and making it run". I think the ScummVM authors would be more than happy with just 1x this.

2. It's only copyright which should be abolished anyways, no harm no foul

This is a fringe opinion on slashdot, held by maybe 1% of users. A lot of us would argue for shorter copyright terms, but few for an absolute abolition.

3. Code wants to be free, man... why is the GPL holding it back?

The code that isn't free is the modified version of ScummVM that runs on the Wii. A lot of would like to have a hold of that, for many reasons. We really want it to be free.

Re:It's only copyright (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454257)

Actually, the retail cost of GPL code is "you give us your source code changes back, including a way of building the software and making it run".

No it isn't. The GPL contains absolutely no requirement that you give any changes back. The only requirements relate to forward distribution. If you make changes and distribute those changes, then you have to give the code and accompanying rights to whoever receives the binary. You do not have to give them back to the original author, and neither does anyone else.

Re:It's only copyright (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454383)

And if you RTFA, you'd see the maintainers had a copy of the binary. So they can get the changes.

Re:It's only copyright (0, Flamebait)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453981)

Are you claiming to be too dumb to know the difference between the illicit uploading of 24 songs without thought of profit, and the use of Eugene Sandulenko's work illegally solely for profit?

I ask only for clarification, i.e., are you stupid or willfully ignorant?

Re:It's only copyright (3, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454129)

I'd like to hear your opinion on it. What is the crucial difference that makes one form of copyright violation okay, and the other not okay? Is it simply the word "profit"?

Re:It's only copyright (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454495)

Is it simply the word "profit"?

Actually, yes. The word "profit" makes a huge difference in terms of law. In fact, before the NET Act, [wikipedia.org] copyright infringement without profit couldn't be prosecuted as criminal infringement. "Profit" vs. other motives matters in many other areas of copyright law, too.

Re:It's only copyright (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454523)

Yes.

Re:It's only copyright (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454481)

*laughing*

Wow. That was a perfect example of the OP's statement.

It's almost as if you don't know that "the illicit uploading of 24 songs" and "the use of Eugene Sandulenko's work illegally" *both* make a complete mockery of a great deal of effort on the parts of both content creators.

Both are IP. Both took effort to produce and yet for some reason, you don't seem to care at all about one while getting all riled up about the other.

Exactly the point the OP was trying to make. Excellent example, geekboy!

Re:It's only copyright (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454019)

I'm sure there are a fair few of us who take option 2/3 and we are totally aware of the hypocrisy of the open source crazies.

I don't believe in intellectual property at all and I am accepting of every consequence that goes along with that.

If you want ScummVMs take on this (5, Informative)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453417)

Here you go:
http://sev-notes.blogspot.com/2009/06/gpl-scummvm-and-violations.html [blogspot.com]

From The blog Post:

  The finals

Thus, the facts were:
        * There is a GPL violation (their denial has to be proven in a court, strings in executables and the bug above clearly show it)
        * Atari could not release source codes because of Nintendo NDA
        * Atari could not put GPL clause because of Nintendo NDA
        * Atari could not "buy out" ScummVM from us
        * There is no possibility to double license ScummVM, at least SCUMM engine
        * We do not need any money as a "bribe to keep silent"

Re:If you want ScummVMs take on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453511)

Since when is posting the link given in the summary "Informative"?

Re:If you want ScummVMs take on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453831)

Since when is posting the link given in the summary "Informative"?

Since 9:51 Wednesday 24 June 2009.

Re:If you want ScummVMs take on this (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453947)

It is informative because the poster told us what in the link was informative so that our lazy asses wouldn't have to look ourselves. It differs from karma whoring in that karma whoring is usually not a reply to set another poster straight.

Re:If you want ScummVMs take on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453551)

Why are you reproducing the second link in the article?

Sold "non-open" license? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454087)

I suppose the ability to do this would depend on what software/libs SCUMMVM uses and whether they're GPL, but isn't it often possible for a company to sell a license which permits the use of GPL'ed code without revealing sources (dual-licensing, etc).

Of course, that would only likely work if the engine isn't using GPL'ed libs, because they'd still be locked to the GPL at that point, I believe.

I'm not a FOSS licensing expert though, but that was my understanding of things.

I can't believe it. (-1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453461)

They are total SCUMM

I'm sure I'm not alone... (4, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453463)

I'm certain I'm not alone when I say "Way to go, nintendo".

I know why they did it, there has been a constant worry from closed-source developers that the GPL would force closed source code open. Nintendo is just covering their ass.

Of course, Majesco made Psychonaughts, so the idea of booting their content off of a console for any reason sounds like a suicidal path.

Re:I'm sure I'm not alone... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453741)

Of course, Majesco made Psychonaughts, so the idea of booting their content off of a console for any reason sounds like a suicidal path.

DoubleFine made Psychonauts. Majesco was merely the publisher.

Nintendo's provision is not unusual (4, Informative)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453483)

Provisions prohibiting open source software are not unusual in development and distribution agreements for closed systems. There are similar provisions for all gaming platforms, for example, and for signed drivers for Windows. On the other hand, paid licenses for third-party libraries are fine as long as there is no requirement to release source code.

Something to think about if you believe the playing field is level.

Re:Nintendo's provision is not unusual (2)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453727)

What's the reasoning behind disallowing it? I don't understand.

The platform is closed and Nintendo control the approval process, what's the downside for them?

Re:Nintendo's provision is not unusual (5, Insightful)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453845)

What's the reasoning behind disallowing it? I don't understand.

The platform is closed and Nintendo control the approval process, what's the downside for them?

Their attorneys think about the GPL and the FSF the same way slashdotters think about ASCAP and the RIAA.

Re:Nintendo's provision is not unusual (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453961)

On the other hand, I have Yellow Dog Linux and several open source emulators running on my PS3 at home all without even voiding the warranty, and Sony isn't exactly known for their openness. Hell, if I'm being honest it's probably even costing them money, I've been playing old school games for the past few of months and haven't bought a single new game in that time. But, come next generation, having the ability to instal Linux and run whatever software I want is going to be a major selling point for me. Assuming Sony keeps it up, they'll have my business again.

Re:Nintendo's provision is not unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454545)

Sony isn't exactly known for their openness.

Why not?

The PS2 has a Linux kit.

The PSX had the Net Yaroze homebrew system.

That's far more than the others have done - only MS with the XNA studio comes remotely close.

GPL Grey Area (1, Offtopic)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453529)

Considering SCUMM is a virtual machine, wouldn't the files being interpreted by SCUMM be considered data rather than code? I'm not aware of any terms in the GPL which require the authors of a data file that's read by GPL'd software to release that data under the terms of the GPL.

Re:GPL Grey Area (2, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453609)

Uhm,

The SCUMM interpretor is the problem, not the data it is reading.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

Captain Jack Taylor (976465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453679)

All they ACTUALLY need to do is include the license for the VM in the game's documentation, along with the source code adapting ScummVM to the Wii and whatever additional extensions to it they wrote. Nintendo has gone from being the only reasonable company in the industry to being another bunch of scumbags. My DS is the last piece of Nintendo hardware I will buy until they get back with the whole "human race moving forward" thing.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454225)

Do you really think Nintendo is the only company that does this? Strangely enough I get the feeling Sony would allow it (since they let you run Linux on the PS3, and have released Linux for the PS2) but I highly doubt Microsoft would either (for the same reasons as Nintendo, not because they're, well, Microsoft)

Reasonable company? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454341)

The measures by which people generally credit Nintendo as 'getting it' recently is on fronts such as getting the price right, first-party titles, innovating enhancement of the gaming experience through a different control paradigm rather than just polygons++ (with the controller change being far cheaper than GPUs to drive polygon count). There are fair criticisms to be leveled over these points, but by and large Nintendo hasn't changed since the Wii release date on this front.

In terms of dealing with intellectual property, Nintendo has always been consistently 'unreasonable' by this standard. Nintendo has always been very hostile toward the concept of developers creating hardware or software to work with their stuff without explicitly entering into an agreement with Nintendo. OSS represents a huge fear of exposing loopholes that could allow third parties to 'exploit' their products.

One huge example of their third-party perspective was their huge fight over Game Genie (was designed, manufactured, and sold by Galoob without consent from Nintendo, and presumably without extortionist license fees). Nintendo ultimately lost that fight, but generally have done all within their marketing, legal and technical powers to prevent anything happening on their equipment without them getting some money.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

vrai (521708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454551)

Nintendo has gone from being the only reasonable company in the industry

Nintendo stopped being a reasonable company (from the consumer and third party publisher point of view) in the mid-80's when they achieved dominance of the US video game market. Their strong arming of retailers and software developers, monopolistic price inflation and profligate litigation were second to none. Nintendo only became a "reasonable" company when Sony usurped them at the top table; something that only happened because of the colossal hubris that surrounded everything Nintendo did.

All successful (and many unsuccessful) console manufacturers are as ruthless, controlling and manipulative as their market share allows them to be. As someone who remembers a time before the Playstation the idea that Nintendo is happy, cuddly, friend of the gamer is utterly laughable.

Re:GPL Grey Area (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453649)

The problem, from my readings of the story and associated stuff, seems to be that ScummVM was ported to the Wii (or at least to the official Nintendo APIs), but didn't release the changes. That's probably a GPL violation.

The really big issue from the initial complaint was not that ScummVM was being used (they seem rather happy about that), but that it was used without credit or attribution. That's a clear GPL violation.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453693)

I see. In that case, I agree.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453923)

The problem, from my readings of the story and associated stuff, seems to be that ScummVM was ported to the Wii (or at least to the official Nintendo APIs), but didn't release the changes. That's probably a GPL violation.

The really big issue from the initial complaint was not that ScummVM was being used (they seem rather happy about that), but that it was used without credit or attribution. That's a clear GPL violation.

The fundamental problem that seems to be at work here that prevents a cure to the GPL breach is that the Nintendo software which is neither GPL nor released under a GPL-compatible license is linked in, which means that if they continued distributing the software and stopped violating the GPL, they'd be violating the license on the Wii SDK. (From TFS, it seems that they were violating the Wii SDK simply by using "open source" software with it, regardless of the terms of the open source license at issue, which is, if accurate, a rather odd provision.)

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

GryMor (88799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454149)

The meta problem is that they are letting Atari get away with it, without actually complying with the GPL due to interference of a third party. Any code produced by Mistic either as a modification to or linked with the ScummVM should have been released to satisfy the interests of those who have already purchased the software in question. I understand that the tool chain and libraries provided by Nintendo aren't theirs to release, and that failing would still lead to an ongoing GPL violation, necessitating the cessation of sales/distribution of the software, but to the extent the source code is/was owned by Sony/Mistic, incorporates a GPLed work and is distributed, it should have been released.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454391)

Not really getting away with it. They have to stop selling the games and have to make a large donation to the FSF (hopefully some of this will be used to fund ScummVM development). I don't know what will go into the press release that the contractors have to put out, but I hope that it will point out how much money could have been saved had Nintendo allowed them to use open source code...

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454389)

But wouldn't that only matter if they were planning to distribute the ported ScummVM, and not the application built with it? Or is there an integral part included in the application from the ScummVM?

I mean, no-one complains that Windows has to be open sourced if a c++ compiler is ported from linux to windows and software built on that tool to run on windows. I believe, even in that case that software built with the GPLed tool can be closed source (not a derivation of the GPLed software but a work made with it).

Or am I missing something?

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454539)

Correct, output of a GPL program isn't GPL. The Affero (or whatever) GPL 3 does do this, but not the plain ol GPL. What apparently happened here is they ported the VM (which is GPL code) to a new platform, and shipped copies of it without attribution or an offer of the code.

Re:GPL Grey Area (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453833)

Considering SCUMM is a virtual machine, wouldn't the files being interpreted by SCUMM be considered data rather than code? I'm not aware of any terms in the GPL which require the authors of a data file that's read by GPL'd software to release that data under the terms of the GPL.

That's not really the point. The point is SCUMM must have been ported to the Wii platform. This process will have included adding a step to its build process that signs it with a key authorised to run on the Wii. Under the GPL terms, this _must_ be released along with the rest of the source code.

Re:GPL Grey Area (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454157)

Umm, no. SCUMM VM is GPL 2, not 3 so they don't have to release the signing key.

flamebait (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28453537)

hahahaha take that freetards.

Stable door status: open. (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453557)

Horse status: bolted.
Would you like me to close the stable door?

(Obviously, the reason for nintendo refusing to distribute open source software on their platform is that it may also _requires_ them to distribute a toolchain for the platform, including signing keys etc as required to get code to run. Anyone who has already purchased one of these games, or who receives a copy from someone who has, has the right to demand this now.)

Re:Stable door status: open. (2, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453617)

Since when?

I've never seen anything even remotely close to such a thing.

Re:Stable door status: open. (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453767)

I'm sure people have the right to demand whatever they want. It's whether or not Nintendo has to comply with said demands that actually matters though. I don't really see where he's getting that from either, however it's admittedly been quite some time since I actually read the GPL. It can't possibly actually apply to Nintendo in this matter as far as I can tell though.

Re:Stable door status: open. (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453687)

They can demand it, but is an unknowing party subject to the license or simply required to cease distribution when informed? It would be difficult to legally force Nintendo to provide anything in this circumstance...

Re:Stable door status: open. (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453897)

They can demand it, but is an unknowing party subject to the license or simply required to cease distribution when informed? It would be difficult to legally force Nintendo to provide anything in this circumstance...

Even assuming that any of Nintendo's code would be involved (it's not obvious to me that this would be the case), you couldn't force them to do anything. If they don't comply with the terms of the GPL, then they are not licensed under the GPL, ergo they are guilty of copyright violations. It'd be their choice to comply with the GPL or accept the penalties for copyright violation, which would include having to cease distribution. You can't force a company to comply with a license agreement they never agreed to, you can only punish them for not having a license to begin with.

So yeah, you're right.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454017)

There is a common and dangerous misunderstanding that the GPL is a contract. It isn't. No one can be forced to comply in court. However, noncompliance makes the license invalid, which can mean copyright infringement, per the parent.

Of course, a 1.85 million dollar verdict is unlikely....

Re:Stable door status: open. (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454101)

They might be able to force Atari to give out their key. Which Nintendo would probably blacklist - problem solved.

Re:Stable door status: open. (1)

matt328 (916281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454155)

Anyone who has already purchased one of these games, or who receives a copy from someone who has, has the right to demand this now.

Let me know how that goes for you.

Re:Stable door status: open. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454455)

This is only true of the GPLv3. There are a large number of other Free and Open Source Software licenses which do not make this requirement. The GPLv2, for example, does not. This is generally known as the Tivo loophole, since they were among the first to notice it. A Tivo includes the Linux kernel, and they comply with the GPL by releasing all of their modifications, but their bootloader will only run signed kernels.

There is no reason for Nintendo to ban any open source licenses. Third party developers are not able to use GPLv3 code because they are not allowed to distribute the signing key and so can't comply with the GPLv3 irrespective of whether Nintendo explicitly forbids them. Other licenses have no such problems.

Nintendo NDA/Open Source and Wii SDK? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#28453725)

I am very curious on what is the reasoning behind Nintendo's forbidding the use of Open Source... i guess they want to protect their APIs or something.

I would love if any brave enough AC could post more of this info.

paul524 (-1, Offtopic)

paul524 (1584235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454007)

He might not be a household name, but Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the past century's most successful artists and, undisputedly, the video game industry's most respected designer. The father of Mario and countless other gaming icons, Miyamoto's genius is stamped on every product he touches. Miyamoto, 56, is the creative force behind many of the world's most popular video games. Nintendo has sold hundreds of millions of Miyamoto-designed games worth billions of dollars. His masterpieces Super Mario 64 and The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time are often cited as the best games ever made, and his more recent products have proved pivotal in the astonishing success of Nintendo's Wii and DS platforms. Just a few years ago, critics claimed Miyamoto was out of touch with the industry he helped create. After joining Nintendo in 1977 and designing the arcade smash Donkey Kong just a few years later, Miyamoto enjoyed a string of hits, including Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox. But as the designer entered his 50s and Nintendo's share of the ever-growing interactive entertainment industry began to wane at the expense of Sony's trendsetting PlayStation, Miyamoto was often berated for refusing to grow up. In recent years the rest of the industry has chased the holy grail of photo-realism and explored increasingly violent and mature content typified by the Grand Theft Auto series. But, like a Japanese Peter Pan, Miyamoto refused to follow suit and continued to produce abstract, childlike cartoon worlds. In the last console generation, Nintendo's GameCube was outsold dramatically by the PlayStation 2 and even the brash newcomer, Xbox. Nintendo's future became increasingly uncertain and it seemed that Miyamoto and his beloved company were becoming anachronisms in a rapidly changing and maturing industry now suddenly more focused on adults than children. Yet today Nintendo is again the industry leader. Miyamoto and his president, Satoru Iwata, have orchestrated an astonishing comeback by producing incredibly novel experiences such as Nintendogs, Brain Training, Wii Fit and Wii Sports, as well as clever updates of more traditional Nintendo fare such as New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart and Super Mario Galaxy. Nintendo has now sold more than 50 million Wii consoles and in excess of 100 million DS handhelds, capturing the public's attention with their novel control schemes and vibrant software. Crucially, Nintendo has been able to capture an extremely wide and diverse audience, including those who previously seemed immune to video gaming's charms, such as young girls (Nintendogs), middle-aged housewives (Wii Fit) and even senior citizens (Brain Training and Wii Sports). Ad Feedback At the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, The Age questioned Miyamoto about whether he felt vindicated by Nintendo's recent success after being so regularly criticised for making "childish" games. But the softly spoken Miyamoto said through an interpreter: "I think the criticism (that) the things that I was creating were childish was really more of a PR strategy that other companies may have used. "I don't think what I was creating was childish at all. I just make things that are very positive and bright. I think that creating something for children is different than creating something that has a bright and positive attitude." Anyone who has sampled a Miyamoto game will undoubtedly agree that their visuals and instant accessibility often belie his games' rich depth and challenge. Miyamoto says Nintendo's success has not come through any particular focus on a specific audience, such as older players or women. "What we have always been saying is that we are focused on a really broad audience and we're trying to make games that appeal to everyone." It is not a strategy Nintendo stumbled upon by chance or in desperation. In an interview with The Age at E3 2004, Miyamoto did not hide his disdain for the products his industry typically spat out. "In the realm of entertainment, you need innovation. "There's this habit of seeing one hit, then everybody runs in that direction trying to replicate its success. Once you do that, innovation dies and people are no longer entertained." As Nintendo's senior managing director and general manager of the company's entertainment analysis and development division, Miyamoto is today ultimately responsible for every game Nintendo releases. But the designer still enjoys getting hands-on during the lengthy development process and "knows all that there is about each title from start to finish". "What's really difficult is when there's a lot of different projects at once and you don't know where they are leading," Miyamoto adds. Presumably that is when he clashes with the many junior designers he mentors, resulting in delays to the game or the entire project being cancelled. No doubt there will be plenty of heated discussions in the coming months as his team considers what to do with Nintendo's latest gadget, a heart-rate monitor dubbed the Wii Vitality Sensor. The sensor follows the astonishing success of Wii Fit's Balance Board, which has already sold more than 20 million units. "But despite Nintendo's marketing push that its latest products might help people get fit or sharpen their minds, Miyamoto bristles at the suggestion Nintendo is becoming more of a "lifestyle" company than an entertainment giant. He says his perspective when contemplating radical new products is to look at the different activities a family does together in the living room and ponder "what could be turned into some kind of video game or interactive experience". "With the Wii Vitality Sensor, it's not a question of what can we do to measure or track different elements of the body, it's more of a question of what can a new type of interface do to create a new experience. If there was, for example, a way for your feelings to become some type of input rather than simply something that is being evaluated or tracked, what could be done with that to turn it into a video game? "If you were in an adventure game, maybe there was something where you had to tell the truth or lie, maybe it could tell if you were lying who knows?" Miyamoto has also been recently spending time completing what is "the essence" of his seminal Zelda franchise of adventure games and "what is the best way to keep Zelda moving forward". "My idea is the player would have such an impactful experience that they feel like they have travelled to the places that (the game's hero) Link visits. I think it's really important to stress that these are your individual memories of how you played the game." Whichever direction he chooses, Miyamoto says his determination is always to innovate. "It's something we cherish. We will always try to do things that no other company can do, that only Nintendo can do: creating entertainment that people will continue to come back to and enjoy." Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/games/2516512/Nintendos-game-genie [stuff.co.nz]

Re:paul524 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454047)

Wall of text crits you for 74847284729421 damage.
You die.

Destory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454039)

Yup, stripping everything out in favour of waggle-based minigames certainly is "destorying" games on the Wii.

They should just license the original SCUMM (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454183)

Can they just license the original engine from lucasarts then? Give some royalty checks to steve purcell and ron gilbert and whoever else made it as part of the deal!

Subcontracting risks, not GPL is the story (3, Insightful)

patSPLAT (14441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454295)

This really should be a story about the legal risks of sub contracting... if you ship the work out, then it's very difficult to make sure all your ducks are in a row.

At least one Wii game uses opensource (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454429)

Speedracer: The Videogame --- there's a notice for Lua scripting on the copyright screen, so Nintendo can't be said to be forbidding opensource solely for being opensource, so there seems to be some sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication here.

William

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