Open Source *Game* Programming?

Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Wed Jan 17 19:33:59 UTC 2001

Henningsen <peter at> writes:

> And a more philosophical question: If it is against the spirit of open
> source to require commercial users to buy a license, why is that? I think it
> is perverse to require me to offer my work as a donation to Microsoft and
> other game publishers just so I can use SourceForge. Remember, the
> modifications a publisher might make to my code are worth nothing. The
> graphics is what is valuable. 

The graphics issue, which I have never heard before, make this a
strange issue.

I believe it is within the spirit of open source to permit people who
do not want to distribute the source to purchase a license.  Cygnus
used to follow this policy with regard to open source projects such as
eCos and cygwin.  Anybody who distributed their own code which used
these libraries was permitted to use them under open source licenses.
Anybody who did not want to distribute their own code was encouraged
to purchase a license from Cygnus.  I think Cygnus did sell some eCos
licenses; I don't know about cygwin.  Of course this tactic is only
permissible if you have agreement from all copyright owners; in the
cases of eCos and cygwin, Cygnus is the sole author, and requires
copyright assignments for all patches.

Perhaps you can write a license along the lines of the GPL in which
you make clear that any graphics distributed alongside your code do
*not* fall under the ``mere aggregation'' clause, and that anybody who
distributes your code with graphics must release the source for those
graphics.  Then you can offer a license buyout for people who do not
want to do so.

I don't really understand the gaming market, so I don't know if this
actually makes any sense.


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