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DarkPlaces Dev Forest Hale Corrects Nexuiz GPL Stance

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the two-sides-to-every-story dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 131

Time Doctor writes "There has been a lot of information going around about Nexuiz, the GPL, and what the Nexuiz leadership has done. A new interview has gone up with DarkPlaces developer Forest Hale to set things straight. Quoting: 'The original plan was to contact every developer and relicense the Nexuiz 2.5.2 GPL gamecode sources for this title, to ensure authentic gameplay and return some important features to the community for the benefit of everyone. However this gamecode re-licensing attempt did not go well; with the former developers making claims of violations there was no choice but to re-implement the gamecode from scratch on non-GPL sources. As a result there will be no ongoing code contributions back to the community, and the gameplay may differ more than originally planned. This is a very unfortunate outcome but has no significant impact on development. To make this perfectly clear – the game is being reimplemented from scratch; all they share is a name.'"

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131 comments

GPL freaks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595518)

They ruined it again for everyone else in the Free Software community.

Re:GPL freaks (4, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595638)

To be fair those freaks were the contributors who wrote the code under the expectation that the codebase will remain free throughout all revisions. When I intend for my work to be used in ANY project, including closed source ones I mark it PD, not GPL.

Re:GPL freaks (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595882)

under the expectation that the codebase will remain free throughout all revisions.

'the codebase'? I don't know why you would have that expectation.

You can have that expectation with regard to your own contributed code if you contributed that under the GPL license.

But if - and I'm not saying that's what THIS company did, but none of the sources seem to be particularly unbiased in this - a company decides that they want to make a version of the product under a different license which is incompatible with the GPL, decide to write to all of the developers asking if -their- code may be re-licensed, and let's say 80% agree to this leaving the company with having to re-write (see some earlier comment about 'clean room' and another about viral natures and whatnots) the works contributed by the other 20%... then I don't think that 20% can cry foul in any way.

Maybe that's something that will be addressed in a future version of the GPL, though ;)

Re:GPL freaks (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596552)

That's the thing - the original troll poster is calling that 20% "GPL freaks ruining everything".

Let's face it - this is about the only way it could have worked out. It's not like Mesa where the contributors agreed to a relicensing because it was from GPL to another open-source license - it was an attempt to take a GPL work closed, and if I were one of those contributors, I would have been in that 20%.

It is too bad that the licensing for console SDKs prevents them from ever being used for a console port of a GPL game, even if the porter is a full-blown console licensee.

Re:GPL freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31596736)

Let's face it - this is about the only way it could have worked out. It's not like Mesa where the contributors agreed to a relicensing because it was from GPL to another open-source license - it was an attempt to take a GPL work closed, and if I were one of those contributors, I would have been in that 20%.

Hi. Different AC here. I think you are probably right about this being the only way it could have worked out since there were inevitably going to be some contributors who would not relicense their code. From the quotes in the interview it sounds like these were the contributors who started making a stink about GPL violations even though it isn't clear if there had been any such violations yet.

It appears that Hale was intending to contribute some of the changes/improvements from the console version back to the community in the event of a successful relicensing. However since the relicense attempt didn't work out it looks like any improvements that result from the necessary rewrite of code that can't be carried forward will not be contributed back to the GPL version.

While the original contributors who were unwilling to relicense their GPL contributions were well within their rights, making a stink about violations merely as a result of being asked about relicensing does sort of come across as skulking about whilst croaking "My precioussss!!! Filthy, tricksy Hale-Bagginses tried to steal my precious."

Re:GPL freaks (1)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598452)

Let's face it - this is about the only way it could have worked out. It's not like Mesa where the contributors agreed to a relicensing because it was from GPL to another open-source license - it was an attempt to take a GPL work closed, and if I were one of those contributors, I would have been in that 20%.

It appears that Hale was intending to contribute some of the changes/improvements from the console version back to the community in the event of a successful relicensing. However since the relicense attempt didn't work out it looks like any improvements that result from the necessary rewrite of code that can't be carried forward will not be contributed back to the GPL version.

While the original contributors who were unwilling to relicense their GPL contributions were well within their rights, making a stink about violations merely as a result of being asked about relicensing does sort of come across as skulking about whilst croaking "My precioussss!!! Filthy, tricksy Hale-Bagginses tried to steal my precious."

So Hale *says* they are going to contribute back *some* of their changes to the community in an effort to get the developers to play ball and give away the rights to their code. Does this really sound like a good deal to you? That's the whole point of the GPL, you get to use the GPL'ed work in exchange for not locking your contributions to it down when you distribute them. Why would someone give up the legal protections on their work in exchange for a vague promise that an unspecified amount of changes would be contributed back to the community?

The company has NO incentive at that point to actually DO what they've promised, so it is very likely that as soon as it got inconvenient/expensive to keep contributing, they would just stop or strongly curtail their contributions. I'm not saying that they would be wrong to do this mind you, what I am saying is that companies are in general NOT altruistic, so it's generally going to be a bad idea to make any kind of deal with them that does not involve external coercion of some kind (in this case the threat of a GPL violation lawsuit).

One thing this made me think of, in a way advanced DVCSs (git, darcs, generally I'm thinking of patch-oriented version control systems) are two-edged, because they DO allow a much greater ability to pull code back out of the project if you were to have the rights to most, but not all of the codebase. Also they tend to track attribution of patches more accurately than say svn. Wonder how hard it would be to craft a, "remove every patch attributed to author x" command in git...

I say two-edged, because this kind of thing would also be useful in forking a project with mixed licensing in an attempt to make it "freer" (whatever that means from the perspective of the forkers) or to try to work around pantent-encumbered code.

Re:GPL freaks (2, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596660)

If 20 % of the code could not be relicensed, then that 20 percent has to be re-written from scratch in a clean-room style.

Anything else, and the contributors of that 20% should cry foul.

Remember, if there's one line of proprietary code in the linux kernel, Microsoft can cry foul. Why not expect the same for people in the closed source world?

Re:GPL freaks (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596978)

Remember, if there's one line of proprietary code in the linux kernel, Microsoft can cry foul.

The Linux kernel does contain proprietary code in it in the form of firmware blobs. And Microsoft couldn't say shit unless it could be proven to be their own code and they didn't allow redistribution and use of said code.

Absolutely - but they shouldn't cry foul if... (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598626)

Absolutely - but they shouldn't cry foul if indeed the code from those 20% -was- re-implemented in a proper manner.

Basically, if I contribute to a GPL project and then later on somebody manages to convince the other developers to allow them to re-license the code, then I shouldn't throw a hissy fit going "If I knew you guys were going to allow it to be re-licensed, away from the GPL philosophy, I would NEVER have contributed my code!"

I could, and some developers *might*.. but, again, there's no real -expectancy- that just because the project is GPL today it will forevermore be GPL.

Re:GPL freaks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595802)

uhm, not. they wouldn't even contribute in the first place if it was not a gpl source base, and the game would not probably exists in the form it is right now.
they choose gpl, they gather the contribution under the premises of making it better fir everyone in the community, then try to change the licence and keep the proceedings for themselves going after xbla and ps3n - it was obvious that contributors who originally put their effort in the "community" are now pissed at them bagging their work up and changing the licence so that any other couldn't benefit anymore from the advancement in the source code.

Re:GPL freaks (0, Troll)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595816)

The Free Software Foundation basically started the community and created the GPL for it. In fact, in many cases, using the term "Free Software" is implying that someone sides with the FSF and GPL over other open source licenses. The GPL takes a hard-line stance against other licenses that would allow the code to be swallowed up and packaged into proprietary software. This is the natural policy for developers who want the code to always remain open.

Re:GPL freaks (4, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595918)

using the term "Free Software" is implying that someone sides with the FSF and GPL over other open source licenses.

No, the term "free software" implies the four freedoms [gnu.org] , nothing more, nothing less. There's lots of pubic domain and BSD-ware which is called free software (eg. Chromium, Postgres, BSD itself). If you're trying to draw a line between free software and open source, the line has already been drawn [gnu.org] .

Re:GPL freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31599348)

I like pubic domain stuff too. Especially hot teen pubic domain.

Re:GPL freaks (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31599640)

Pardon me, but I just have to laugh at this gem that manages to claim that "free software" is so much clearer than "open source software"

However, the obvious meaning for the expression open source softwareand the one most people seem to think it meansis You can look at the source code.

The term free software has two natural meanings, one of which is the intended meaning, so a person who has grasped the idea of free speech, not free beer will not get it wrong again.

I just have to ask, why? Free speech is a permission to express yourself, like how the is the GPL different? Can't you express yourself under any open source license? And most speech isn't very copyleft-free, under the Berne convention everything copyrightable is copyrighted unless specifically released. About the only good thing it does is say that it doesn't mean free as in beer - an expression I doubt is very popular among English-speaking in muslim countries - but not much anything else. Try saying to random semi-technical people "Imagine what you think of if I say free software, free as in speech not free as in beer". I think you'd get very strange answers that has very little to do with the four freedoms. I think OSS is much simpler to explain as it is essentially public code everyone can use for any purpose. I've not yet met anyone that has used more than 30 seconds to understand the concept, "free software" on the other hand...

GPL == Viral Clusterfuck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595538)

Thank god this piece of shit license is rapidly losing out to free licenses like BSD.

Re:GPL == Viral Clusterfuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31596084)

Rapidly losing? Got a citation for that? I deal with more GPL software than ever before.

Re:GPL == Viral Clusterfuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31599136)

Forget the license, what about the game? Why would anyone want to pick Nexuiz? It's the most unoptimised and uninspired FPS out there. I have a PC that is capable of running Bioshock 2 at maximum settings, so why does Nexuiz crawl (and still look like ass) when I turn up even half of the detail options? Gameplay? Nope, it's just another cookie cutter, endless kill spree game with no distinguishing features. Creativity? Nope, looks like a generic FPS from about 10 years ago.

I honestly don't know why anyone would choose Nexuiz over far superior games like Warsow and World of Padman.

Prove it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595540)

Oh wait...

CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595552)

Because otherwise, you know, derivative work, and a thousand years bad juju.

Given what they just tried to do, and the casual disregard they had for licensing until they got caught in the act, I'd say the burden of proof lies with the re-implementors.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (2, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595642)

Actually, you'd have to go to court to force them to show their code, and compare. (I'd doubt they were willing to disclose by themselves.)

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595698)

illfonic released gameplay video of ps3 nexuiz at GDC and you can clearly see that game is using code from nexuiz 2.0+ version

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595710)

I don't know anything about this game or the company. Nor do I particularly care. But, outside of some "bad juju" from the slashdot and like minded communities, what is the downside to them? Has there every been anything approaching an actual lawsuit of a company for a GPL violation? Even if a major, major player like EA Sports or whatever came out and used GPLd code to save half the development time on their leatest sports title, what could possibly be done about it other that generalized bitching and whining from the "community" and a (likely small) boycott? GPL is a dog without teeth, and for a small unknown game publisher, it's a dog worth ignoring, I suspect.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595848)

I don't know anything about this game or the company. Nor do I particularly care. But, outside of some "bad juju" from the slashdot and like minded communities, what is the downside to them? Has there every been anything approaching an actual lawsuit of a company for a GPL violation? Even if a major, major player like EA Sports or whatever came out and used GPLd code to save half the development time on their leatest sports title, what could possibly be done about it other that generalized bitching and whining from the "community" and a (likely small) boycott? GPL is a dog without teeth, and for a small unknown game publisher, it's a dog worth ignoring, I suspect.

The FSF could sue them.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595852)

While it's true that in general the bigger you are the easier it is to trample on the legal rights of those smaller than you, there have been a few GPL cases where the GPL was indeed upheld.

At least one case in Germany IIRC, and likewise a couple more in the United States.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595840)

> a thousand years bad juju

I also dislike unethical behavior, but I look at it this way:

  • If the game flops on consoles, no one is "profiting" from violating the GPL.
  • If the console version becomes widely popular, lots of people will look for the PC version, and find the open-source project, and hopefully learn something about open-source.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595926)

For me at least, the whole point of the GPL is preventing people from closing the source in the manner attempted here.

Different people have different reasons for using it, but my own, as I explained before on here is that I expect a payment in exchange for the use for development in some form. I accept payment in the form of code contributions, or I might be willing to relicense in exchange for money. I consider usage by the end users to be value neutral. It's not bad of course, but it doesn't do me a whole lot of good on its own either, as I'm not into it for the popularity contest.

I've had code that I contributed picked up by other people and improved on. Some of it I plan to pick up again, and improve further, and so on. This is the thing I'm interested in. Just having it appear in some console game without getting any improvements doesn't interest me.

If I agreed with your rationale, I'd release code under the BSD license, but I very intentionally don't.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597504)

I see your point and respect your opinion on this. In fact I found your post quite interesting, because it made the whole GPL philosophy thing more clear for me.

Nevertheless, I cannot help but think that your view on the matter is somewhat narrow minded, for lack of a better word. I dislike the GPL because it is not important for me to get contributions back on exactly the same project that I am working on. If I write something that is useful to you, and you write something that is useful to me, then we have both become richer for it.

Whether a third part uses the project as well is - as you say - of neutral value to me. And I don't see how that changes whether the use consists of incorporation in a closed source product or simple end-user use.

I have already spent time writing the code, why should I care if somebody uses it for their own? As long as there are other people like you or me who also make their code available, we have both gained something.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598336)

I see your point and respect your opinion on this. In fact I found your post quite interesting, because it made the whole GPL philosophy thing more clear for me.

Good to know :-)

Nevertheless, I cannot help but think that your view on the matter is somewhat narrow minded, for lack of a better word. I dislike the GPL because it is not important for me to get contributions back on exactly the same project that I am working on. If I write something that is useful to you, and you write something that is useful to me, then we have both become richer for it.

Well, I'm a big proponent of being true to your own desires, to put it in some way. I think people shouldn't try to seem to be more altruistic than they really are. So if deep down I really want to get something in exchange for my trouble, I should make sure I get it. If compliance is voluntary then somebody will eventually not comply, I'll be annoyed and spend a while grumbling at "those ingrates", and that's not really fun and quite preventable. So I figure I can avoid that by just making my terms clear upfront, so that there are no annoyances and no misunderstandings.

If the BSD license works well for you, well, good for you. But it just doesn't fit my personality.

I have already spent time writing the code, why should I care if somebody uses it for their own? As long as there are other people like you or me who also make their code available, we have both gained something.

Well, I don't completely reject the idea of contributing something BSD licensed. But that's going to be limited to bug fixes pretty much.

Now, if I'm starting a large project I'll have to think first, whether my idea is workable, whether it makes sense to spent time working on it, and so on. And the above considerations will be part of that. If it doesn't work out, I just won't start coding in the first place, or find a GPL licensed alternative to contribute to instead, for instance. For my own projects, the GPL is the automatic default. The way I see things, using the BSD doesn't gain me anything, and the GPL provides chances of things going my way. So that's the one I'll go with.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598592)

Whether a third party uses the project as well is - as you say - of neutral value to me. And I don't see how that changes whether the use consists of incorporation in a closed source product or simple end-user use.

The answer to this is that it does not. Unless you believe that open source code is better for everyone as it contributes something back to the community.

The GPL (3) is not just about stopping people closing code that was previously open source. It is also about encouraging you to release your code as open source if you use other open source code in your product. This is about the idea that if you benefit from there being large amounts of open source code on the web then you should be forced into giving something back as well.

I have already spent time writing the code, why should I care if somebody uses it for their own? As long as there are other people like you or me who also make their code available, we have both gained something.

The answer is it makes no difference to you apart from on a principled level. If you have spent time on something, why should someone else be able to sell it at a profit and not pass any of that profit on to you? Even if they do a large amount of extra work, should they be able to take the small amount of work you put in and get that for free?

BTW - I am not the worlds greatest GPL advocate. I personally prefer the BSD licence that really does give more freedom to the end user. Unfortunately that freedom does include the freedom for them to build a closed source, for profit product out of your hard work.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598272)

For me at least, the whole point of the GPL is preventing people from closing the source in the manner attempted here.

True, however for a game, this can be quite limiting as it restricts consoles from being able to play. Good or bad, consoles do move a lot of games and it's a pretty good way to get your games in stores rather than an obscure website that no one knows about (even if it's Free and free).

Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft developer agreements state that no open-source code is allowed, period. This causes some interesting results like having to relicense BSD code under a proprietary license, and using well-known game engines to ensure that no open-source code is actually involved.

Heck, I'm sure the penalties for violation are pretty severe, including a monetary penalty, source code audits, and probably even recalls (all paid by the developer). Which can be expensive since they have to refund people at full retail price, which is more than they sold each unit.

There are other options (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#31599266)

Rather than relicensing to proprietary or BSD, an exception can be made to the GPL allowing the game to be compiled with a closed SDK, lots of GPL'd code have exceptions for such cases.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#31599498)

True, however for a game, this can be quite limiting as it restricts consoles from being able to play. Good or bad, consoles do move a lot of games and it's a pretty good way to get your games in stores rather than an obscure website that no one knows about (even if it's Free and free).

I'm quite aware of that, and still choose to use the GPL anyway. Also as I said, the number of end users the application gets isn't something that interests me a whole lot.

Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft developer agreements state that no open-source code is allowed, period. This causes some interesting results like having to relicense BSD code under a proprietary license, and using well-known game engines to ensure that no open-source code is actually involved.

I consider this a very good thing, as it creates a chance for me to make money by relicensing. All the more reason to use the GPL..

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595936)

By the same token, if I pirate a game for personal use, nobody is "profiting" from my violation of the creators' copyright and license.

How you look at it may depend on whether you contribute to open source projects. It's easy to be unconcerned if its someone else who's having their work misappropriated.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597022)

If the console version becomes widely popular, lots of people will look for the PC version

Why do you assume this?

and find the open-source project, and hopefully learn something about open-source.

Doubtful. The vast, vast, vast majority of people won't know or care that the programs they use are open source. They will know it's a "freeware" program and that's the limit of their knowledge.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (3, Informative)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596016)

The GPL says that you're free to study the source code for any purpose.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596780)

[citation needed]. Seriously. The word "study" does not appear in either GPL version 3 [gnu.org] or GPL version 2 [gnu.org] .

So, what does the GPL actually say, and how does that effect the issue of creating a derivative work?

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (5, Informative)

dlapine (131282) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598830)

From paragraph 0 of the GPL v2, thanks for the link, btw.

"This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License."

"Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope."

So the GPL doesn't limit your rights for things outside of copying, distro and mods.

Section 4 then steps in-

"You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License.

GPL code doesn't have additional restrictions on it. Once you accept GPL as the basis for your work, you don't get to distribute the modified work with extra terms. So GPL code doesn't have restrictions on things other than copy, distro, and mods. And since it expressly doesn't restrict you in areas other than those 3, you're free to examine and study it to your heart's content.

So there ya go- have fun studying, examining reduplicating the functionality, style and format of the code in question. Just don't copy the code verbatim, or in such as a fashion as to be considered a direct copy.

A reasonable person could see the GPL as encouraging the re-use of ideas, whether by modifying the original code and redistributing it, or by re-implementing those ideas in new code.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598882)

That it's not an EULA and so I don't even have to accept any terms at all to read the source code, unless there's an exclusive right in copyright law. The only question is whether the work is derivative or not, and if it isn't the GPL can't apply. If it is derivative, the GPL and all its terms does apply but again it's got nothing to do with the GPL per se, just the scope of copyright law. Since they seem to have secured the rights to the name and most of the overall look and feel, that sounds like and uphill battle unless there's evidence of copy-paste.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31600124)

The word "study" does not appear in either GPL version 3 [gnu.org] or GPL version 2 [gnu.org].

The FSF does define the freedoms that their licenses are intended to protect here [gnu.org] . The first freedom is to run the program, and the 2nd is to STUDY it. So if the argument ever turns from specific wording to "intent" of the license, I think this is clearly documented.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 3 years ago | (#31601238)

A clever tactic. Find the documents but don't read them, just search for a single word and when it's not found declare victory.

It's not like you have to wade through piles of links and judge whether the sources are biased. There's one GPL2 license, and there's one GPL3 license, and if you wanted to make sure you had the right one you could go download the source and snag the license directly.

Did you simply not understand it? Or did you read the preamble and decide you'd let someone else read it to you?

For future reference, the correct options in such a situation are:
1) Read and study the document, don't find it, assert that the statement is unsupported, and challenge the person to find evidence to support it.
2) Ask the person to support their statement because you have not taken the time to read it.

You chose option 3: Assume that since CTRL-F didn't work, the person is just making stuff up. It's right there in section 0, you only had to read 165 words. Or if you just read the preamble, These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it. That should be enough to suggest that you're not going to find a ban on just reading/studying it.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596262)

I'm willing to bet they'll violate the GPL to some extent, and I'm willing to bet they won't get caught, at least the way things currently stand. Why? PS3 DRM. Theft of artwork is easy enough to prove on a closed console title, but good luck getting a decrypted binary and statically analyzing it to prove portions were taken from the GPLed code, when the platform hasn't been broken yet (no, geohot's partial hack doesn't qualify as a break).

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598044)

I'm willing to bet they'll violate the GPL to some extent, and I'm willing to bet they won't get caught, at least the way things currently stand. Why? PS3 DRM. Theft of artwork is easy enough to prove on a closed console title, but good luck getting a decrypted binary and statically analyzing it to prove portions were taken from the GPLed code, when the platform hasn't been broken yet (no, geohot's partial hack doesn't qualify as a break).

Unlikely.

First, this project already has garnered an "this game used to be open source" mentality. People will be looking through the binary for GPL violations.

Second, what does DRM have to do with it? Unless the executable's encrypted (they're usually just signed, instead), it just involves someone dumping the disc to an image file and analyzing that. Sure they put wierd tracks and other crap to make it less easy, but it's not too difficult. You're free to buy the game on release, even if you don't have a PS3, stick it in a blu-ray drive and attempt to read it/dump it/etc. No PS3 needed for static analysis.

Third, GPL violations in closed source code has been spotted before. We had someone rip off PearPC. Microsoft ripped off that DVD library. And many others.

It's too high profile for someone to steal GPL code in the re-implementation.

Hell, if they did that, the company behind it will be in a LOT of hot water. Using open-source code violates many developer agreements for consoles, be it Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. It's not that they don't understand the licenses or that "BSD is safe", but they don't want any unthinking developer from possibly compromising the entire system because some library had the AGPL or other "must be fully open" type license. At the very least, there'll be hefty fines for violations.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598670)

People will be looking through the binary for GPL violations.

Not if it's encrypted.

Second, what does DRM have to do with it? Unless the executable's encrypted (they're usually just signed, instead)

No, they're usually encrypted. DRM is security through obscurity, and a big part of the obscurity is not letting potential attackers see any of the code (lest they find vulnerabilities). Case in point: The Wii's security lasted until someone managed to get a RAM dump with decrypted code and keys. At that point you still couldn't run code (signed executables), but nonetheless the security quickly came crashing down as soon as bugs were found.

As far as the PS3 is concerned, look up their Secure ELF format. PS3 binaries are encrypted.

Sure they put wierd tracks and other crap to make it less easy, but it's not too difficult.

That was last generation. This generation, it's all about encrypting and signing the crap out of everything. They still like to futz around with the disc format, but that's just for physical anti-piracy.

You're free to buy the game on release, even if you don't have a PS3, stick it in a blu-ray drive and attempt to read it/dump it/etc.

As far as I know, blu-ray drives will not read PS3 games. You can dump them from PS3 Linux though (AFAIR), but that gains you little because the executable is still encrypted and signed.

Wii games are even worse - they encrypt and sign every single disc sector (they use a hash tree to do the signing efficiently). Wii piracy via modchips (drive exploits) came long before anyone was able to take a stab at the software architecture. People had been pirating Wii games for a year and you still wouldn't have been able to spot a GPL violation, because piracy consisted of passing around 4GB encrypted blobs with no ability to touch anything. Of course, after the keys were recovered, this all changed.

Third, GPL violations in closed source code has been spotted before. We had someone rip off PearPC. Microsoft ripped off that DVD library. And many others.

I'm not aware of GPL violations being ever spotted on a console title with encrypted executables.

It's too high profile for someone to steal GPL code in the re-implementation.

Maybe, but I bet the safety provided by the console DRM is tempting for those who might want to do it. At the very least, I wouldn't be surprised if some GPLed components made it in, due to carelessness if nothing else (and they may well be careless, knowing that they won't be caught easily).

Hell, if they did that, the company behind it will be in a LOT of hot water. Using open-source code violates many developer agreements for consoles, be it Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. It's not that they don't understand the licenses or that "BSD is safe", but they don't want any unthinking developer from possibly compromising the entire system because some library had the AGPL or other "must be fully open" type license. At the very least, there'll be hefty fines for violations.

True, but this is a weird case where a GPLed game is being transmuted into a non-GPLed console game. It's easier not to touch GPLed code when you're writing a game from scratch; it's harder to ensure that you've taken all of the GPLed code out when you're reimplementing the GPLed bits from scratch.

Re:CLEAN ROOM re-implemented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31597392)

According to TFA, Hale re-licensed his own code, and code of the devs who agreed to have their code re-licensed, for commercial use, to Illfonic. No foul there, *so long as that's true*.

Handing off the name, "Nexuiz" and the associated domain might be a foul, depending on who/what had legal ownership of it.

As long as the Illfonic product doesn't incorporate code or art from people who did NOT relicense it for their use, I don't see a problem.

Sad (1, Insightful)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595556)

Money that could have been used to do proper marketing, QA, etc for the game is now wasted on reimplementing it from scratch.

Sad panda :(

Re:Sad (2)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595674)

What's sad about it? If platform licensing models like Xbox, PS/3, and iPhone were to catch on, you could kiss open source development good-bye. And there is a big risk that the consumer market will drive us into that direction. We need to fight that any way we can.

And if the GPL makes it more costly to do marketing and QA of software for those platforms, I think that's great. That is exactly what the GPL is intended to accomplish.

Re:Sad (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595786)

If platform licensing models like Xbox, PS/3, and iPhone were to catch on

I've got some bad news for you, they have caught on and are more popular then open source models.

Re:Sad (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595826)

I've got some bad news for you, they have caught on

We can still get fully programmable standard PCs without gatekeepers. One of the reasons for that is because a lot of software can't run on those other platforms. And the GPL helps keep that so.

and are more popular then open source models.

If you believe that, you're a bit out of touch with reality.

Re:Sad (2, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596008)

and are more popular then open source models.

If you believe that, you're a bit out of touch with reality

You've got to be kidding me. Console games almost completely crush PC games in market share these days, with the only thing keeping PC games afloat being The Sims and WoW. And that's before you include the iPhone as a "console".

See: http://www.theesa.com/newsroom/release_detail.asp?releaseID=44 [theesa.com]

Re:Sad (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596440)

There are actually quite a few popular PC games besides the Sims and WoW. Most of them are sold via digital distribution however.

I predict Starcraft II will see a large resurgence in PC gaming, mainly because the game is awesome (In Beta!)

Re:Sad (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597746)

Look at the numbers for 2008. 700 million vs. 22 billion. We're talking orders of magnitude. Even if you say that that ignores online casual gaming and digital downloads, and free games, there's simply no way the numbers could possibly catch up. And there's no metric by which you can convert these numbers from "income earned" to "number of users" that does not still have consoles completely crushing PC games (and the majority of those methods are not easily quantifiable the way revenue is).

And let's not ignore the fact that the original quote was "open source models". If you actually go into open source games you're looking at something like 0.001% of users (to be generous).

Re:Sad (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31599264)

I don't know to be honest, but 95% of the PC games I've purchased in the past 3 years have been via steam or some other digital distribution source.

Digital Downloads and things (2, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596666)

The PC market is much bigger. The problem here is that is moving to digital, where is invisible to the usual metric systems. Also is "multishape", games like FarmVille get 80 millions. How much million play most console games? on the PC, you have to count webgames, flashgames, casual games, indie games, open source games... not everything shows on a phisic shop, since most are online transactions.

Re:Sad (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598960)

There must be something wrong the those sales stats. I simply don't belive the 29.1 million units number of pc games. I mean the sims alone should have beaten that with >100 millions sales worldwide.

Re:Sad (-1, Troll)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596114)

Don't kid yourself. We have a gatekeeper, they are called microsoft. They're just standing a bit back from the gate, and they left the key in their other pants. They've proved they can lock down a system with x-box. They're implementing the same thing with mobile7 - code can only run inside silverlight or their game framework for the platform. UAC in vista & 7 warns you when a program runs. How hard will it be for them to stop it running of they havent signed the digital cert? But I run linux! Or Mac! Have fun in your toy sandbox world.

Re:Sad (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595810)

They could have just kept the codebase open... If the console companies didn't demand closed source. I think the blame lies with them, not the people who expect the GPL to be followed.

Then why take the name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595580)

'Twasnt even a very good name anyhow.

Re:Then why take the name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595702)

'Twasnt even a very good game anyhow.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Then why take the name? (1)

Raumkraut (518382) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596212)

Agreed. At least with Xonotic most people have a chance of being able to pronounce it correctly.

"Nexeeus" my arse.

who cares (0, Offtopic)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595648)

Warsow is much better!

Re:who cares (1)

apharmdq (219181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31601116)

I prefer Warsow as well, bit I see it as potentially having a similar problem to Nexuiz. The ownership of the game name is under the control of one person, and while the code for the game is open source, the media is under a more restrictive license. (The reason for this license is that some media contributors were unwilling to have their work under a share-alike license, so the dev team was forced to adopt the current license to appease them.)

This means that should the owner decide to sell off the game like Nexuiz's owner did, the Warsow community may have a similar problem. It may be even MORE challenging, since any fork of the game would require completely new media, as only the code could be forked. Fortunately, the owner of the Warsow name is actively involved in its development, and seems to be a pretty decent guy in general, so it's unlikely this situation would come to pass. Still, there is that potential danger, which does make some of the community a bit nervous over the state of the game . . .

For that project, I'd recommend they change the media license and remove those parts of the media that certain developers are unwilling to allow under a share-alike license, perhaps putting it in a separate "restrictive" download pack. Not only would this remove the risk of going the route of Nexuiz, but it would appease both the share-alike community and the devs that want a restrictive license.

the problem are Xbox and Sony (1, Interesting)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595652)

The only reason the GPL version of Nexuiz can't be used on Xbox and Sony is because those platforms have draconian licensing requirements.

The fact that the GPL makes it impossible to deliver the code on those platforms means it is working as intended. As an open source developer, I have no interest in supporting those platforms; if those kinds of platforms catch on, all software development is in deep trouble.

Re:the problem are Xbox and Sony (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595690)

if those kinds of platforms catch on, all software development is in deep trouble.

I've got some bad news for you...

Re:the problem are Xbox and Sony (2, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31595836)

I've got some bad news for you...

General purpose, programmable machines without gatekeepers are still the primary way people compute at home and at work. We need to keep it that way.

Re:the problem are Xbox and Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31597676)

Still, platforms like the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and iPhone have already "caught on."

Re:the problem are Xbox and Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31598266)

Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and iPhone are just limited toys, (well the iPhone is also a limited mobile phone). You get a bit of *expensive* disposable entertainment but little of value.

Re:the problem are Xbox and Sony (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598262)

How the hell did this get marked troll? This is true and anybody who actually *likes* computers has a vested interest in keeping it this way.

Code Changes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31595824)

So how does this affect pieces of code that is perfectly optimized the way they are? Let's say you have a function/method that does something really well (like calculating a score), what can you really change except the function/method name and variable names? Some methods can be so small that they only contain two or three lines of code (looking at some of my own projects) so to "rewrite" it you will actually have to build in some inefficiencies... which is not cool... But perhaps them closing up is less cool...

Not Unfortunate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31596204)

This is a very unfortunate outcome...

For you it is, for those developers it's simply what's right.

Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596208)

It's just going to be another uninspired, derivative, run-of-the-mill arena shooter you played to death 10 years ago.

Maybe Linus sould get critiziced for "making anoth (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596636)

I mostly agre... Is true, this type of gameplay was popular 10 years ago.
Nowdays? no soo much.. and on the console is almost nowhere to be seen.

People is free to make whatever want, and this type of comunities want Quake3-like games, so thats what you get. If you don't like that, get a compiler and make a fork.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31597070)

Yeah, I have to agree. I enjoy playing Nexuiz, but I sure as f*ck wouldn't pay for it.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31597904)

Yes, it would be much more original if it were a side scrolling platformer with blobs fighting wars in it (like we played to death 20-25 years ago).

It doesn't even have achievements!

I love your games too, BTW. ;)

Dual License? (1)

s0n0fagun (1691416) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596338)

I do not see the problem in offering dual licensing. It would solve this debate and all this discussion once and for all.

RTFA (1)

mangobrain (877223) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596512)

Essentially, they tried that and it didn't work. Hale doesn't have copyright on all the code in current GPL Nexuiz, and wasn't able to obtain it from all contributors. IANAL, but as I understand it the rule of thumb is that you can't re-license something if you aren't the copyright holder.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31598550)

I thought there was a clause in the GPL detailing the difference between a contributor and the original author of a GPL product. The original author ultimately decides how to license the creating. From what I read, Dark Places tried to change the licensing agreement and exclude the source code changes made for consoles.

Why keep the name? (1)

mangobrain (877223) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596464)

If it already has replacement art and audio, and now it appears will have replacement code as well, at what point does it stop being the same game? Nexuiz may be popular by FOSS game standards, but realistically I don't think it's popular enough that the branding will give the console releases any significant head start. If anything, now that their original dual-licensing plans have been foiled (regardless of whether that is for better or worse), IMHO they would be better off distancing themselves from the original and the surrounding controversy.

Give the domain back, come up with a new name, move on, end of story.

Re:Why keep the name? (1)

Jason Quinn (1281884) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597004)

This is the classic Ship of Theseus problem applied to source code. What I still don't understand is how it can be verified that the code has been "re-implemented" by scratch if it is closed source. My guess is that's a very liberal interpretation of "by scratch".

"Slow-paced bullet-oriented shooters" (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596592)

Interesting comment LordHavoc makes about the state of console gaming.

Honestly, attempting to bring a fast-paced shooter like Nexuiz to a console is going to fail and fail miserably - there is a reason "slow-paced" shooters are more popular on consoles - fast-paced shooters require a fast and precise control mechanism (mouse + keyboard), console control mechanisms are neither of these. (Which is why I don't play console-based shooters.)

Not really (3, Informative)

mand1nga (1772962) | more than 3 years ago | (#31596700)

He can't really say that the original plan was to contact every developer, the deal was made in complete and absolute secret. Not a single developer knew about the Nexuiz deal, not a single notification was sent, most of us knew about it when we saw the the homepage was changed, only providing a small link to "Nexuiz GPL" at the bottom.

In my opinion there is no way to consider that this deal was morally right, there was people who were contributing code on a daily basis for *years*, the least you will expect is to get some sort of notification if someone is about to make money out of your hard work [alientrap.org] . In other words what they done is just stealing.

And of course they must rewrite the whole Nexuiz codebase now, that's the only way for them to prevent getting sued. Not to mention that after the deal was made public there was no dialog *at all* between Lee Vermeulen (the owner of Nexuiz) and the developers, there was no attempt at all to fix what they done (again, stealing), mostly because you actually need to talk in order to fix things.

That was the very reason because the Xonotic [xonotic.org] project was born, we as developers just can't trust Alientrap (which is only Lee Vermeulen) anymore.

It's sad that LH now makes it look like thanks to the unreasonable (ex)developers of Nexuiz now there will be no improvements flowing back to GPL Nexuiz. I don't know you but I'm getting used to his bursts of insulting statements.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31598352)

In my opinion there is no way to consider that this deal was morally right, there was people who were contributing code on a daily basis for *years*, the least you will expect is to get some sort of notification if someone is about to make money out of your hard work [alientrap.org] . In other words what they done is just stealing.

Wasn't there a lot of drama about a year ago, over Nexuiz losing its only real developer/ contributor (code) due to an obnoxious and demanding community?

"all" they share is the name... (1)

Edam (911039) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597074)

To make this perfectly clear – the game is being reimplemented from scratch; all they share is a name

Isn't this one of the main bones of contention though? The www.nexuiz.com URL no longer takes you to the GPL project it used to, it displays a page about Illfonic's new console game and there's a tiny link in the corner of the page that takes you to the original project page!

Couldn't they have used a different name for what is, essentially, a different game?

Re:"all" they share is the name... (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597734)

To make this perfectly clear – the game is being reimplemented from scratch; all they share is a name

Isn't this one of the main bones of contention though? The www.nexuiz.com URL no longer takes you to the GPL project it used to, it displays a page about Illfonic's new console game and there's a tiny link in the corner of the page that takes you to the original project page!

Couldn't they have used a different name for what is, essentially, a different game?

Sure, but why? The nexuiz name has brand recognition and so they can use that to help make the console game standout amongst other, similar games.

Which brings up an interesting point on the GPL - while the code is free the name may not be; resulting in an a FOSS project creating a valuable brand that then can be taken private. A rather novel way to get startup funding; I wonder when someone will want to extend the GPL to include the project name and any associated marks?

Re:"all" they share is the name... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598962)

Do you honestly think Nexuiz has 'brand recognition'?

This style of game doesn't sell well on the consoles at all. Unreal Tournament has real brand recognition, and it was an utter failure on the consoles. People have moved on from run-and-gun deathmatch.

Re:"all" they share is the name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31599490)

Ideally, the project name should still be trademarked, which would make any protection granted by the GPL superfluous. Probably for the best, as protecting project names via Trademark and/or Licenses would place a bit of a burden on a person/company when attempting to determine if a given name is available or used/protected.

Re:"all" they share is the name... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#31600910)

It has brand recognition within the open source community. It isn't going to have heavy brand recognition within the general console community.

As far a how much brand recognition means vs. codebase - look at Ethereal/Wireshark. The trademark for Ethereal didn't follow the lead developer, so the "main" branch became Wireshark. I'm not sure what, if anything, the owner of the Ethereal trademark wanted it for, but they either haven't bothered to actually do anything with it, or utterly failed, because Ethereal's reputation was more closely tied to its codebase, and so pretty much everyone moved to Wireshark as soon as they found out that the lead developer of Ethereal had renamed his branch to Wireshark.

Re:"all" they share is the name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31597876)

How dare you say that, this "tiny" link on nexuiz.com, as you called it, is the way to show support and respect that illfonic is giving to open source game.

Shocking!!! Shocking!!! (1)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 3 years ago | (#31597394)

I am deeply disturbed by this turn of events. For years I have relied on TimeDoctor.org to provide a couple of laughs a year and NOW ... DAMMIT ... they have DARED to have actual meaningful content on the website. I shall NOT be returning!

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

So to be clear: (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 3 years ago | (#31598930)

Nexuiz as it exists (GPL cross platform FPS, v 2.5.2) will continue to be developed by the community.

The 'new' Nexuiz is a closed source, re-implemented version of GNexuiz that only shares the name and the 'style' of the original.

Correct?

Re:So to be clear: (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#31600104)

Nexuiz as it exists (GPL cross platform FPS, v 2.5.2) will continue to be developed by the community.

The 'new' Nexuiz is a closed source, re-implemented version of GNexuiz that only shares the name and the 'style' of the original.

Correct?

For the most part. Most of the Nexuiz developers have left, forked the code and started Xonotic, as the previous Slashdot article (linked in the summary) says. With the core developers gone it is likely that GPL Nexuiz will fade away.

Love the Anti-GPL rhetoric (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#31599554)

I wanted to contribute back but the license requires me to! Would you please allow me to not give anything back so I can start to generously contribute back?

*sigh*...happens every time someone complains about the GPL...

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