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How Will Steam on GNU/Linux Affect Software Freedom?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the father-rms-declares-you-are-a-bad-person dept.

GNU is Not Unix 580

rms has published his thoughts on Steam coming to GNU/Linux. He notes that the availability of proprietary games may very well help spread GNU/Linux (but the FSF prioritizes spreading software freedom). And, you're better off at least having a Free operating system instead of Windows: "My guess is that the direct good effect will be bigger than the direct harm. But there is also an indirect effect: what does the use of these games teach people in our community? Any GNU/Linux distro that comes with software to offer these games will teach users that the point is not freedom. Nonfree software in GNU/Linux distros already works against the goal of freedom. Adding these games to a distro would augment that effect." Or: How will the FOSS community affect Valve? Already they've contributed a bit to the graphics stack, hired a few folks from inside the community, etc. But Steam also makes use of DRM and distributes software in ways that are opposed to the ideals of many in the FOSS community (and even the wider Free Culture community). Given Gabe Newell's professed love for openness, might we see their company culture infiltrated?

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God I hate that use of "free"... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40811989)

Talk about missing the point of software completely.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (0, Troll)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812009)

Problem is, GPL is "free" software, for the end user, and the source code sure, but its model is anything but "freedom" for the people using it. To get that you need to look at the BSD and other similar licenses.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (3, Interesting)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812063)

Asking for information, not trolling:

What is the point of the BSD licence? Why not just go straight to public domain (for new works)?

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (5, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812079)

It indemnifies the original author from any damages arising from use of the software.

i.e. if some company uses it and their product kills 50 people, the original author can't be held liable.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812401)

Ok, so BSD protects software authors from lawyers while GPL protects software users from exploiters?

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812157)

IIRC BSD license basically says "do what you want, but credit us". There's nothing wrong with wanting credit for one's own work. If it's in public domain, however, people can just use it, and I believe it's not illegal to claim the work is yours, though they won't have licensing/ownership rights

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812247)

They actually took that clause out ..

The main point is liability. If you put something in public domain, and it ends up say, as part of the coffee maker temperature controller on an airplane, malfunctions, and leads to loss of life.. you could be liable. The BSD specifically spells out that the author is not liable.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812403)

An observation: A disclaimer of liability rarely means jack shit.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812569)

If you put something in public domain, and it ends up say, as part of the coffee maker temperature controller on an airplane, malfunctions, and leads to loss of life.. you could be liable.

On what basis?

If you haven't received anything in return or given any sort of advice, commitment or guarantee, and someone chooses to use something that you happened to have released to the public domain in an inappropriate way, under what law(s) in what jurisdiction(s) can that affect you?

As an aside, in many places you can't effectively disclaim any liability you do have for things like causing loss of life anyway, and in some places you're likely to get a pretty rough time in court if you tried.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (3, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812369)

IIRC BSD license basically says "do what you want, but credit us".

There's also a liability limitation clause and a prohibition on changing the license or removing the copyright notice. The variation in the BSD licenses (there's a few closely related ones) mostly stems from just how much attribution is required; some want rather more than others. The difference rarely gets BSD people very worked up.

The net effect of the BSD license is to disclaim economic rights while maintaining something as close to moral rights as is recognized by US copyright law. You'd word it differently in European copyright law, where moral rights are recognized as as separate concern completely to economic rights (and aren't normally traded).

There's nothing wrong with wanting credit for one's own work. If it's in public domain, however, people can just use it, and I believe it's not illegal to claim the work is yours, though they won't have licensing/ownership rights

If something is truly in the public domain, you can do anything with it. This includes adding text to it that looks like a copyright notice. (I think this wouldn't make your copy of the work be non-PD in itself, as copyright notices in themselves are not a substantive creative element of any work, but I can't be sure. But the placing of the text there, that can be done.) There are also jurisdictions (not in the US) where the only way a work can enter the PD is by having its copyright term expire. PD is way more complicated than BSD (or the GPL variations), even though it sounds like ought to be simpler at first.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812505)

I'm no lawyer, but my naive interpretation of U.S. copyright law is that putting your own copyright notice on a PD work would constitute a fraudulent copyright notice, punishable by a fine of up to $2500 (Title 17 506 c).

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812599)

I'm not a lawyer either but I believe putting something in the public domain means you relinquish your copyright.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812667)

The fact that something is out of copyright doesn't mean you are allowed to claim it as your work (if that was the case, you could just transcribe an out of copyright book and say it's your book and prosecute whoever has a copy).

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812099)

The only freedom the GPL takes away is the freedom to take the other freedoms away. If you value other people's freedom as much as your own, the GPL takes nothing from you. If you on the other hand are someone who takes without giving, then the GPL is still the right license, to protect against you.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (5, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812411)

The GPL gives lots of freedom to the peole using it, it only remove the "freedom" to remove somebody else's freedom.
There are many reasons that can justify BSD type licences over GPL, but they all boil down to:
"I would like to use this software in something proprietary..."
And it would be much better to state this clearly rather than vaguely allude to the GPL "being not what I think others should want.."

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812671)

Problem is, GPL is "free" software, for the end user, and the source code sure, but its model is anything but "freedom" for the people using it. To get that you need to look at the BSD and other similar licenses.

Wow, no "agenda" there with the "scary" quotes and "the" hyperbole of saying that "GPL" is "anything" but "freedom" for the "people" "using" "it". Yes, GPL is freedom for the people using the software over the people using the code. GPL keeps the code and executables open. BSD is the other way around - it gives you the freedom to remove the freedom for other people, which is the only freedom that GPL doesn't give you. GPL still gives a lot to the people working with the code - certainly more than proprietary programs do including programs with BSD code that have been closed, so calling it anything but freedom is ridiculous.

Re:God I hate that use of "free"... (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812389)

I sorta know what you mean. I appreciate the 'freedom' of OSS but when people make the politics more important than the platform it gets annoying.

phirst (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40811993)

phirst

Cue the trolls... (4, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40811999)

...who intentionally confuse the freedoms of the user with the freedoms of the proprietary software developer.

Re:Cue the trolls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812077)

I'm a troll and and I don't care about freedom of either. I just want to redistribute Bill Gates' money.

Re:Cue the trolls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812419)

...who intentionally confuse the freedoms of the user with the freedoms of the proprietary software developer.

Why are those separate?

Re:Cue the trolls... (4, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812633)

Think of it as a microcosm of government/citizens. If the government is not restricted in its activities, the citizens have no freedom. Same with developers and users. Giving "freedom" to the proprietary developer almost always means taking it from the user.

Re:Cue the trolls... (4, Insightful)

Crash24 (808326) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812665)

In the case of games, the user is free to not play the game and thus not subject themselves to the developer's terms.

And you are why... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812001)

Linux has failed on the desktop for the past decades and will continue to fail on the desktop in the future decades.

Face it the ONLY thing bringing Linux to the desktop currently is GAMING.

Would you prefer Origins on Linux or Steam? Frankly I would prefer neither as both are VERY ANTI COMPETITIVE but Linux needs something and this could be it.

Re:And you are why... (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812071)

Let's all remember the driving force behind the VCR...

Re:And you are why... (3, Insightful)

darkfeline (1890882) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812173)

...porn? Just saying, all media adoption depends on porn.

Re:And you are why... (3, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812219)

the point is that "respectable" industries rely on unrespectable markets

if you care too much about who your customers are, you won't have any customers to worry about

Re:And you are why... (3, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812121)

Why has it automatically "failed" simply because it's not on every Tom, Dick and Harry's desktop? GNU/Linux (aside from the GNU arguments for saying GNU/Linux, the presence of Dalvik/Linux (Android) makes it necessary to distinguish between the variants) has been my primary desktop for ten years and my only desktop for six years, for me it has been very successful.

I think Steam on Linux could be a good thing, but it's certainly worth taking rms's warnings to heart: GNU/Linux being popular is certainly a good thing, but not at the price of destroying the Free Software movement.

Re:And you are why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812341)

I think it would be more likely to split it. Properietary overlays with an open kernel. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. But it could lead to there being more than just GNU/Linux and Dalvik/Linux.

What GNU/Linux has "failed" to do (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812379)

Why has it automatically "failed" simply because it's not on every Tom, Dick and Harry's desktop?

So far, GNU/Linux on the desktop has "failed" to become widespread enough that users expect to have local support options of the "carry in your PC and we'll fix it" sort. And until Valve's recent announcement, it has "failed" to attract developers of major killer apps.

Re:And you are why... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812515)

Why has it automatically "failed" simply because it's not on every Tom, Dick and Harry's desktop?

Because it's not on any.

Re:And you are why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812127)

Face it the ONLY thing holding Linux back from the desktop currently is GAMING

FTFY

Re:And you are why... (4, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812201)

Has Linux really failed on the desktop?

It's really only been a grass roots movement, without serious backing from a company like Microsoft or Apple (or Google). Expecting a linux-based desktop to just explode without a huge marketing push is ridiculous.

For example, there have been other Linux-based phone operating systems. Non of them got very far until Google started pimping Android and it took over the market in short order.

Lets see Google or some other large company push a nice Linux desktop, say Ubuntu (or Valve ;) ), and see if it fails.

Re:And you are why... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812395)

Canonical is very likely to push it farther than other companies - they actually take care to work with OEMs and make new projects, not just rebrand Gnome or KDE. This actually gives them a face and sets them apart from a crowd. Add to the fact that they are working with Dell in India and China and possibly, again on the Western market soon. There actually are machines distributed with Ubuntu and they are pushing it further.

If there's one thing that's needed, it's marketing now. Advertising the machines, having them suggested to customers in stores (as well as having them in stores), that's the kind of thing that could push Ubuntu to a neccessarily high market share. 10% would be enough to matter to big companies. It won't bring us Office (yes, it's needed by some buisness), but it will make others turn - probably the ones that distribute for Mac as well right now.

Valve might help this - if they do push it and Source engine games end up on Ubuntu, and if they do work with other devs and convince them it is worth it, then we could see the 200 million users by 2014 as Mark Shuttleworth promised.

Re:And you are why... (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812649)

...except Canonical has gone off the rails by creating a desktop that just gets in your way. Everyone that I have shown Unity to has said the equivalent of "what the fuck?". And Gnome 3 is just as bad, unless you put it into Classic mode. It will be interesting to see what Redhat do with their desktop when RHEL Desktop 7 comes out.

Re:And you are why... (1, Troll)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812553)

Windows has failed on the desktop, and Linux is a complete success on the desktop.

It lets me do what I want to do with the minimum of fiddling around trying to get the computer working. This is (at least by my standards) a complete success. Windows, on the other hand, always seems to want me to reboot a driver or update a virus or something. Look at the difference between installing stuff - on Linux you type "sudo apt-get install ", enter your password, and wait a minute or two. In Windows you have to find and download an "exe" file, wait ten minutes or so while it gets scanned for "viruses", double-click it, wait while it shows you an animation and makes some silly noises, then click "next" on a dozen or so identical grey screens. Be careful not to click anything else, otherwise it'll ask you things like "Install to 'C:\Program Files\BozoSoft\SomeThing\Wtf\d41d8cd98f00b204e9800998ecf\'?" and you're supposed to guess if that's the right answer or not. If you guess wrong, you need to reinstall everything from scratch.

Windows has failed on the desktop, and Linux won a long time ago.

Re:And you are why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812607)

Umm, if Linux has failed on the desktop, why am I using it on my desktop RIGHT NOW?

Ideology in Technology (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812005)

frankly, i don't see the point why some of us should be ideologues in the community. it's divisive and it may not allow for greater efficiency. I'd go with what Linus said "whatever works best"

Re:Ideology in Technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812115)

If they allow Steam on Linux then there will be.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Re:Ideology in Technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812195)

The hard work which is enabled by the sharing of source code is what made the software available to you. If Torvalds had not - basically by accident - made the decision to GPL the Linux kernel, fewer people and much fewer businesses would have contributed, and many "contributions" would be living in incompatible branches. Torvalds can easily dismiss the ideology now, because no matter what he does, it's still in effect. He's like a politician who supports an act to appease the constituency, knowing full well that the act won't pass. If you want a small peek at an alternate reality in which Linux is saddled with proprietary code, look at the Android fragmentation. That's what we'll get when the app stores (of which Steam is one) will come to Linux.

Re:Ideology in Technology (1, Insightful)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812551)

There are people replying about how freedom will be affected negatively as if true freedom were some academic absolute. If you have absolute freedom, then you have anarchy. In an anarchial system, nobody is then free. The OS and source code should be free in Linux. The choice of the user to decide what he chooses to pay for or not should also be free. But this means relative freedom. Why are people even asking this question? Geez.

Re:Ideology in Technology (4, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812699)

This comes up every time some proprietary software company comes to Linux. Every time, someone who doesn't get it wrings their hands about "ideologues" being "divisive" without realizing that the ideals these people are supposedly ideologues for are exactly the ones that caused Linux to become a viable OS, in the face of multi-billion dollar corporations constantly trying to eliminate it. The fact that people actually believe in something does not make them ideologues, especially not when they are repeated proven right.

No one can, will, or should stop Steam from coming to Linux. It will never be put in the repos of mainstream distros, and should not be, but that has little relevance to anything. But even if they can't do much about it, that doesn't mean the people who say there might be downsides are insane zealots. It means they might very well understand why Linux has stuck around for as long as it has better than you do.

How does Android affect software freedom? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812007)

Android devices are mostly locked down in ways that are hard to circumvent. Arguably, Android is already quite bad for software freedom.

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812089)

"mostly"

Except for the ones that aren't.

"arguably"

hardly

Subsidy for accepting a locked phone (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812431)

Android devices are mostly locked down in ways that are hard to circumvent.

Except for the ones that aren't.

Historically, the handsets that are more locked down have been cheaper to own than the ones that aren't. When smartphone service costs $200 plus $70 per month with a subsidized, locked phone or $550 plus $70 per month with an unlocked phone, people are going to choose the subsidized, locked phone. Only recently did the U.S. GSM carriers introduce affordable prepaid smartphone plans that clearly separate the price of the device from the price of the service.

Re:Subsidy for accepting a locked phone (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812611)

Maybe you'd have a point if unlocked phones were unavailable.

BMWs cost more than Fiats. Does that "threaten" enthusiast driving??? Hardly.

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812103)

Android is also bad for monetising apps, that is why we are all big on iOS, ad revenues is COLOSSAL compared to Android ad revenues.

Android users do not want to pay for apps and they don't want to see adverts... iOS users do, so we put our efforts there...

Not to mention Android is a hack/mash up of crappy unpolished, incomplete and buggy technologies , iOS is clean and works very well and even easier/faster to develop apps for.

You can want free all you want, but reality is that we have to put food on our plates and pay for living too and for our children. Eventually all free software developers grow up and realise we live in a society built around enslaving via debt.

Welcome to reality where we have to charge for apps or you get a pile of crippled shit for free.

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812169)

Android users do not want to pay for apps

Speak for yourself, mate.

Countries without paid applications (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812469)

In the beginning of Android Market (now Google Play Store), only a few countries had paid applications. To reach a wide audience, developers had to make their applications free of charge. This set a price expectation of $0.00 among users, and I'm not sure whether this has cleared up even with the expansion of Google Wallet to a larger market.

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (0)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812259)

"Android is a hack/mash up of crappy unpolished, incomplete and buggy technologies , iOS is clean and works very well and even easier/faster to develop apps for."

So is Windows! There's an easy answer! Don't install the buggy software!

"iOS is clean and works very well"

They're currently on version 6 with no letup in sight so it's hard to say they are "clean" if they have to keep updating it all the time.

"even easier/faster to develop apps for."

OH REALLY??? WHERE OH WHERE ARE THE INTERPRETED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENTS FOR IOS?? NOWHERE!!! They violate the TOS and are DISALLOWED.

SO MUCH FOR "EASY DEVELOPMENT"

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (2)

pipatron (966506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812547)

OH REALLY??? WHERE OH WHERE ARE THE INTERPRETED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENTS FOR IOS?? NOWHERE!!! They violate the TOS and are DISALLOWED.

SO MUCH FOR "EASY DEVELOPMENT"

This is the reason I disable capslock on computers that I install...

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (0)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812627)

did you also rip out your vocal chords so you can't yell or whisper?

Re:How does Android affect software freedom? (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812459)

I suspect that the Ad revenues on iOS are higher not because of the OS, but because marketing droid are lickely to be Apple Fanboys (and girls), (because a long time ago the MacIntosh was "cheap to draw and print")
So they think it is smart to "invest" in iPhone Ads, and "confusing" to invest in a phone they are not using (yet).

It's ok (3)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812041)

There are plenty of free game engines out there, we don't need all of them to be free. The assets will never be free either, and that's the product in the end, that's what the game is all about.

The engine being free would make supporting the games in the future easier, but with the underlying architecture of the platform being open and well documented, it isn't impossible.

Re:It's ok (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812701)

You could also consider, that basic software features like an OS, a web browser etc are something that everyone requires these days and should very much be free.
On the other hand games are purely for entertainment, noone *needs* games. Them being non free isn't significantly harming anyone.

And instead of games being free and open up front, perhaps the ID approach would be acceptable for all concerned. Let them make their money from the game up front (its hard to argue that ID games haven't been successful), and then release the source later so that everyone can benefit from it. This was also the original spirit of copyright, give the author time to make money from his work and then release it so everyone can benefit later.

I love quake as a game, i bought a copy when it came out and thanks to the source being open i can still play it today without resorting to emulation. As an added bonus, the graphics look much better than they did originally.

Who gives a shit? (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812045)

I say this as a free software developer: At some point, you just want software and don't care about the politics. Not everything has to be political -- just look at Chick-Fil-A as an example of how this way of thinking can backfire.

I play games for entertainment, not to make a political statement. Let's keep the two worlds separate.

Re:Who gives a shit? (5, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812073)

This is more-or-less what I was thinking: it's perfectly fine and reasonable to push for 'Free' as long as it doesn't take anything away from you, but if you lose something -- access to software you've paid for, the ability to do things you want to do, etc. -- then what's the point? Many F/OSS - supporters hold the idea that 'freedom' must be pushed on to people, even if it means losing actual freedoms! That is inherently illogical.

Re:Who gives a shit? (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812153)

I totally agree.

Games are at the far fringes of a software stack. As you get further from the core (kernel / critical userland) free/open source software becomes less important.

Games are also different from most open source software, as they aren't a tool to do something. They're an artistic expression as well as a software program.

In my opinion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812125)

Everything that promotes the jump from proprietary computing to free computing is good; even if that thing is not, itself, free. Breaking the stranglehold on the OS is an important first step.

rms is stuck (1)

rbpOne (2184720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812145)

"Any GNU/Linux distro that comes with software to offer these games will teach users that the point is not freedom."

An OS won't teach anyone about anything.. And since when was using Linux about freedom?

Im all for open/free software(the laptop im posting this from is Windows 7(But atleast im using firefox ;)), my other laptop is Arch, my 2 servers are both ArchServer), but rms needs to be ignored.
He is stuck in another world, like zeitgeist hippies.

oh noes gaems (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812165)

Games are coming to Linux!

RMS will have kittens and tell people how to speak and think in the name of 'freedom'.

Man, Linux used to be cool before all these newbs showed up with their games.

is it possible to be pragmatic??? (5, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812183)

Free software is most certainly an admirable goal.

But if market forces and existing conditions mean that proprietary software is the most expedient way to get the software delivered to the customer, then that's what will happen.

Valve gets Linux bugs fixed, and they can make legitimate and credible arguments for things that should be changed about Linux. There is no doubt that they are contributing to the long term health and stability of linux.

If the vendor has proprietary software and the customer finds it to be the best solution, the job of the operating system is to get out of the way and allow the customer to do what he wants.

Re:is it possible to be pragmatic??? (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812399)

When it comes to RMS.. not really.

This is actually a surprisingly rational opinion from him (he at least acknoledges that there is some good to this..), but at the end of the day he is still an extremist.

Re:is it possible to be pragmatic??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812557)

If it wasn't for the 'extremists' of the world, would we not have the same amount of freedoms that we enjoy today?

Re:is it possible to be pragmatic??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812693)

There are different kinds of freedoms and the extremists that represent each of them contradict the others. An idealized society that promotes one freedom above all others would be intolerable slavery to others.

Re:is it possible to be pragmatic??? (2)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812511)

If you're a zealot, it's never possible to be pragmatic on the topic of your zealotry (that's pretty much the definition of "zealot"). Thus, to a Free Software zealot it is clearly impossible to be pragmatic on this topic: they feel that if it isn't Free, it's Wrong and so should be resisted with all possible effort. (I don't know if RMS is quite this zealous, but some of his adherents certainly are.)

Thankfully, such people are a small (but vocal) minority. For everyone else, pragmatism is indeed the best approach. Investment in improved graphics drivers would benefit many, whether or not their source is available. More worrying should be the fact that the Steam platform includes some DRM, so a kernel module would probably be desired by Valve to support this. OTOH, it's better to have it done well, once, than done badly many times.

Pseudo-pedantic flame bait (3, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812191)

The goal of GNU and the FSF was never to lock out commercial providers, but to provide a free core system. Nothing is being broken, stolen, taken away, or rescinded.

The whole article is nothing but pseudo-pedantic flame bait.

Re:Pseudo-pedantic flame bait (2)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812317)

Seco-"fukken"-ned

Christ! The "you cant use propiatary software In GPL/Lunix!!!1" FUD wasn't this much touted back in the day as it is now.

Re:Pseudo-pedantic flame bait (4, Informative)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812651)

The article was written by rms.. you know the guy who created GNU and the FSF. I think maybe he knows the goals...

The FSF definitely has goals going beyond the core system as they run many campaigns (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/)

LeechOS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812281)

They should have named Linux... LeechOS.

At some point we want paid too, food isn't free, nor is living. Not on this planet, not any more.

You want free apps, go write them yourself and you will see it isn't free. Time, books, hardware, electricity, heating, lighting, yeah you want those free apps well tested too don't ya, well send me some hardware too and sure I will test them, send me food to eat while I am writing those free apps, also send me some electrons too to power the computer that I write those free apps on too.

Leeches, demanding this demanding that, YOU ARE IN NO POSITION TO DEMAND ANYTHING.

You want it free, go build it yourself.

Re:LeechOS (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812351)

keep talking to straw men

many of us work with paid-for RHEL subscriptions, and our software drives sales of more RHEL licenses

many of us find linux bugs, both in the kernel and in supporting apps, and we report those bugs, providing great value.

do you have any data supporting your assertion that linux users are freeloaders?

windows users got their OS for free when they bought their computer. What makes them different?

Re:LeechOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812689)

You want it free, go build it yourself.

That is funny because a lot of us are doing just that. This is the reason why there is so many good free software. Thanks for the laugh, troll harder.

A paradox? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812293)

I don't follow the politics of Linux so please bear with me. Couldn't this be a paradox because Steam coming to Linux could be a game changer, pardon the pun, for mainstream adoption but could it not open up patent claims against it? While Microsoft, for instance, is currently having a benign attitude towards Linux with their Hyper-V support in the Kernel, couldn't they go into attack mode and wheel out patent claims if they feel their MS Windows Gaming/XBox platforms threatened by Steam on Linux?

Re:A paradox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812451)

Also another problem is if Steam of Linux makes the OS more popular in the mainstream, it will become of the target of hackers, cyber-criminals and peddlers of malware that have been the bane of Windows.

perhaps RMS is forgetting (3, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812299)

that emacs and gcc were written on HPUX systems

what's the "lesson" to be learned from these programs?

Well-defined vs. ill-defined specs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812509)

Perhaps the lesson is that the GNU Project did a good job of bootstrapping its work off proprietary systems when the underlying specifications (POSIX, C, etc.) were well defined. High-production-value games can't as easily be bootstrapped, to the best of my knowledge, because their specifications are not so well defined. And when a game's specs are well defined, you tend to see lawsuits against others reimplementing them (Konami v. Roxor; Tetris v. Xio).

Begging the question (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812301)

The title of this article is begging the question because it assumes (without evidence) that having Steam available on GNU/Linux will affect software freedom. I'm not saying that it won't, but I'd prefer to see some evidence instead of just taking it for granted that it will. Much better would have been simply, Will Steam on Gnu/Linux affect software freedom?

Re:Begging the question (4, Interesting)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812365)

Did Google Earth for linux affect software freedom?

How about VMWare Workstation?

Do these products take away our choices?

Do they take away choices from people who don't even use them?

To circumvent Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812543)

Much better would have been simply, Will Steam on Gnu/Linux affect software freedom?

My guess is that headline writers are adapting to Ian Betteridge's observation [wikipedia.org] by phrasing the headline other than as a yes-or-no question.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812355)

What's wrong with having the 'freedom' to use 'nonfree' programs?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812561)

At the risk of falling in the excessive generalisation type of fallacy, think of it this way:

In most countries you are prohibited to sell yourself into slavery, even if you could this way offer for example a "good future" to your children.
The reason the law suppress this "freedom" is linked to the frictions in the "free market", basically if enough people would see this as a solution, they would compete for jobs & salaries with people who care about their freedom, and thus restrict the freedom of people who are not "volunteering" to become slaves.
In the case of Software, take for instance the case of DVD reading, if you start to support the closed DVD reading solutions you discourage both the development of free solutions and the release of non DRM'd content.
You could see this as a "non issue", the DVD reading solutions are quite cheap, and anybody who balk at this is more interested in saving pennies than saving freedom...
But since the "closed" solutions has to pay patent royalties, etc... it is definitivelly in the "commercial proprietary market", and therefore will look at the bottom line of each business decision, wich means: a Ubuntu/Debian x86 version, maybe a RH version, but certainly not a MIPS or ARM version.
And thus "non free solutions" pushed freedom out ...

Re:I don't get it (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812647)

Your argument does not apply here because Valve is not limiting anyone's choices by offering games on Linux

In fact now you have MORE choice.

That GNU/CRAP is rapidly... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812373)

...getting more annoying thant iCRAP. *FU* RMS.

Not free? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812377)

Valve has opened up all of their games to the modders, accusing them of not being free is ignorant.

Re:Not free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812463)

Valve has opened up all of their games to the modders, accusing them of not being free is ignorant.

Then where are MegaTF/CustomTF 2?

Re:Not free? (3, Informative)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812533)

There is a very specific definition of "free" being used in this context; opening up the software to modders in the fashion Valve has does not qualify. The wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on the subject explains it well. The importance of this definition of "free" and what could or should be done about it is what the debate here is revolving around; the definition of what does or does not qualify is well established by this point.

The last straw (5, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812381)

I see this as a great thing because games is pretty much the last reason I have for a dual boot system. Anything serious I do under Linux as its a far better tool, but some of my favorite games are windows-only so I still need a windows partition around. Assuming they start to port most windows games to Linux too, I can finally dump my windows partition.

I know gaming won't change any minds in corporate IT depts, but at least it may encourage non-technical users to try Linux at home. It seems that a large reason corporates have for justifying continuing to force their employees onto Windows is that "everyone is more familiar with Windows than Linux". Lets hope steam on Linux can help to change that too.

Re:The last straw (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812483)

If Linux gains market share in the home due to games, then SURELY corporate IT is going to pay attention.

Corporate IT gets ALL wound up about the browsers used by their customers. Ask amazon.com, or any bank, and they will tell you that they care very very much about what software their customers are running. They want to make sure that their products can be delivered effectively to their customers.

Corporate IT will also sit up and take notice when more and more employees start asking for linux VPN clients.

Lastly, corporate IT does not actually run the business and make the business decisions. If IT operations fail to support the company and its ability to generate revenue then they can be fired or demoted or whatever and responsible people put in their places.

Re:The last straw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812691)

PC shooters are simply not that popular. Most of the people who play them are probably already in the corporate IT dept.

I ejacluated gnu/Semen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812407)

On RMS's beard.

Are games still "Software" at all? (5, Interesting)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812427)

I consider games not to be "software" for some time, it became part of entertainment industry, like films or music. It is created by large studios where programmers are only one ever smaller part of team. For this reason, I consider Steam equivalent of YouTube: channel that enables me to consume commercial entertainment, on my free OS, that remains fully GPL (minus GPU driver).

Re:Are games still "Software" at all? (1)

adversus (1451933) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812659)

Do you also consider big-studio released albums as not "music" then? By your argument only garage bands can truly make "music". Seems like a very skewed view of the world you live in.

Maybe its possible to convert them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812519)

Personally I don't really care about freedom with video games - its not the same as with hardware and drivers. Course, I understand the issue that one day my steam games won't work on my prefered OS, and that'll be a bummer, but right now, from my selfish view point, I'd probably rather just have the games on linux.

However, Valve probably makes more money from publishiing other peoples games than they make on their own, and I feel its not an outright impossibility that the more invested in the platform they become, the may be convinced to open source. This is never going to happen in a market place where they feel their very existance is threatened by Microsoft, EA, Sony, et all. Given a number of years with a strong market precense of Linux gamers spread over a variity of vendors, and I don't see why they couldn't be convinced of the merits** of sharing the code in some form.

Valve loves openess because they're worried that Microsofts closedness will try and squeeze them out of the market come Windows 8 and the future. MS already competes with Steam both with the Xbox and Games for Windows Live. Valve wouldn't be healthy if this was allowed to happen. They want to fracture the gaming community enough so none of the other parties can pull a power play, and so they're not up shit creek if it happens. Because they get to this point though, I doubt they'll open source anything one of these competitors can use to gain parity.

I can't imagine that valve make a great deal from engine sales, but I could be wrong. At this moment in time I suspect the engine and the games they make, only really serve as a draw to their platform, which is steam. Valve are already talking about giving their games away for free, so I doubt protecting the source would have anything more than making sure those games are locked into steam. However, giving the right market conditions (a lack of fear), and considering you'd only be able to get the data files from steam, I think the long term understanding that communities would port their games/steam for free wouldn't sound like a negative prospect. The only (rather large issues) is if they would consider it themselves losing a competitive advantage against the likes of other publishers, and the anti piracy software that doesn't do much, but makes partners feel warm and fuzzy I guess.

Still, I'm probably full of crap, but remember how it goes Embrace, extend and extinguish. The first step is to get them on our platform. :P

Steam vs Wine (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812585)

Steam will do much for software freedom, maybe enough to undo all the harm cause by gaming on Wine. Proprietary Internet marketplace will always be proprietary and large choice of popular games on Linux will spread the use of free software. Also it will bring native ports, something Wine never did (eg; native port that link with native libwine was never use with any success).

I dont have to be a free software advocate (0, Flamebait)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812589)

to say fuck DRM and fuck Steam. To support DRM is to be on the side of the DMCA, SOPA, the RIAA, the MPAA, the Business Software Alliance, and that whole list of bad laws and bad organizations which support them. If you think you've found a legitimate use, you're probably mistaken. But even if you're not, helping bastards like them do something not-evil is still helping bastards like them.

Re:I dont have to be a free software advocate (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812655)

Great, now show me the F/OSS games with the same polish as commercial titles. Show me the F/OSS equivalent of Team Fortress 2, or Portal. Yeah, there are a few gems out there like Battle for Wesnoth, but other than that F/OSS gaming is dead.

I'm all for open source software and killing DRM. Heck, honestly I think we need to just abolish copyright all together. But I'm not going to cry over Steam coming to Linux because it means that Linux users will be able to actually have some games to play.

Re:I dont have to be a free software advocate (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812695)

since going to the bathroom is only helping the polluters you should stop going to the bathroom

how can you make the connection that Steam's use of DRM is equivalent to the MPAAs?

Not much (5, Insightful)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812603)

In terms of software freedom, Steam won't affect much itself. The client is proprietary and as far as I know, every single game featured on Steam is proprietary (although stuff like the iD games can be run using replacement open source engines), but basically it's all one big closed-source pot. It will bring more attention to Linux and maybe some more commercial games, but that's about all.

Now, the only problem I can see is that bringing Steam into Linux will mean another selection of users will becomes used to the idea of DRM (Steam) and having games tied to a single point of failure (Steam), whereas before they were used to having installers that you could backup and install without requiring verification from a third-party. But anyone who's read my posts know I'm beating a dead horse here - I've said it all before about the dangers of keeping all your eggs in one basket, but from what I can tell, games are a special class of software in which this isn't really a concern. It's not crucial or necessary software, so a hypothetical scenario in which you can't play anything due to issues with Steam verification in a longer term scenario don't phase people much.

TL;DR : Steam on Linux will increase Linux's perception in the gaming world, increase its usage base for a bit (at least until some people go back to Windows because it runs some particular tool they didn't realize they needed before throwing away Windows after being swept away in the hype), but it won't do shit for software freedom.

Wrong choice (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812673)

The choice is not "free games or paid games"

The choice is "paid games or no games"

Hard to see where "no games" is a benefit to anyone

Games & Freedom (5, Interesting)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812685)

RMS probably somewhat inadvertently made a very interesting remark.
He separates the Game Art from the Game Software...
And admits that Game Art could be "non free"...

One of my current activities is designing Gaming Maths, the way the maths are made has a strong impact on the enjoyment (or lack of) any game.
I would argue that the "artistic" as opposed to "software" component is just as great as the artistic component of the graphics.

I also think that there is a fundamental difference in Gaming apps versus Infrastructure or Activity Apps.
If I provide a text processing system or an OS or an Identity management app, all user data trapped into these applications are naturally "content" owned by the user, and it should be normal for the user to be able to share it just as s/he wants.
And it is immoral to force them to be promoter of their software if they want others to be able to read their presentation, or share files, etc...
But Gaming datas are for the most part relevant only in the game, and although some elements like "avatar design" might be usefully standardized, most parts should not been seen or manipulated outside of the game, because it would destroy the interest and artistic integrity of the game.
Having the "freedom" of adding 10000000 flogotz to my flogotz count is meaning less, and if I really want I could just lie about having found the amulet of yendor...
Reading the source code of a game is interesting, but I do believe that the social contract between a game designer and a tool designer is very different, and not just for the game graphics.

Therefore I think RMS can be assurer that at the end Valve opening to Gnu/Linux is not just neutral but a real gain.
And I think that instead avoiding to speak about it, it would be better to explain that:
There are interesting free games that you can use to play and to learn "how it is done"
There are interesting tools like Ogre3D to help you write games.
And there are non free games, it is somewhat frustrating because it might need something you do not have (if you processor is a MIPS it will probably not run), but it is very different from a non free Tool, and you are welcome to it.

And hopefully game designer will work with the various communities to make sure that the coverage is as global as possible, and not just as "economically optimal"....

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