Open Source *Game* Programming?

Ben Tilly ben_tilly at
Wed Jan 17 22:29:06 UTC 2001

Ken Arromdee <arromdee at>
>To: Ben Tilly <ben_tilly at>
>CC: peter at, license-discuss at
>Subject: Re: Open Source *Game* Programming?
>Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 13:26:04 -0800 (PST)
>On Wed, 17 Jan 2001, Ben Tilly wrote:
> > IANAL but I think the general reaction would be that the
> > graphics are part of the overall work and said game company
> > would then be obliged to also give away the graphics,
> > which you would then have access to.
>Doom and Quake have been released as GPL.  Graphics and data files have 
>By this reasoning, anyone except the creators of Doom or Quake could not
>distribute those programs at all, since the graphics are necessary to use
>the program and they are not open source.

I am quoting from section 3:

: The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
: making modifications to it.  For an executable work, complete source
: code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
: associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to
: control compilation and installation of the executable.[...]

Do graphics and data files count as "interface definition
files"?  I really don't know.

In any case I would consider it a hole in the GPL if things
like essential parts of the user interface (ie graphics)
did not need to be made available while the work as a whole
was GPLed.

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