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GNU Guru: Linux Steam "Unethical"

The GNU Website has statement from Richard Stallman where the founder of GNU and the Free Software Foundation describes his concerns about Valve's plans to bring Steam to Linux (thanks Ars Technica). He explains the freedom to install Steam games will impinge on a user's freedom:

A well known company, Valve, that distributes nonfree computer games with Digital Restrictions Management, recently announced it would distribute these games for GNU/Linux. What good and bad effects can this have?

I suppose that availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system. However, our goal goes beyond making this system a “success”; its purpose is to bring freedom to the users. Thus, the question is how this development affects users' freedom.

Nonfree game programs (like other nonfree programs) are unethical because they deny freedom to their users. (Game art is a different issue, because it isn't software.) If you want freedom, one requisite for it is not having nonfree programs on your computer. That much is clear.

However, if you're going to use these games, you're better off using them on GNU/Linux rather than on Microsoft Windows. At least you avoid the harm to your freedom that Windows would do.

Thus, in direct practical terms, this development can do both harm and good. It might encourage GNU/Linux users to install these games, and it might encourage users of the games to replace Windows with GNU/Linux. 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.

If you want to promote freedom, please take care not to talk about the availability of these games on GNU/Linux as support for our cause. Instead you could tell people about the Liberated Pixel Cup free game contest, the Free Game Dev Forum, and the LibrePlanet Gaming Collective's free gaming night.

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76 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 3.
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36. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 14:05 Com
 
Yay bluesnews readers! Let's bash a guy, an accomplished guy who carved out his own niche and built a following, for being crazy because he doesn't go along with your mainstream views.

Go go go steam on mah Linux box, when is the next big sale, I need me some gamesss!
 
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35. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 14:04 eunichron
 
Shut the fuck up, Stallman.  
Avatar 13977
 
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34. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:59 Flatline
 
Edit: My post was based on a misinterpretation and therefore was talking out my ass.

Keep calm and carry on.
 
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33. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:51 Beamer
 
Nice to see I wasn't the only one that goofed on his terminology. "Non-free" means "the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them."

It has nothing to do with price.

And, given that this is what Linux was built on, it makes some more sense, though he's taking it to quite an extreme. And, as mentioned, since Valve is mostly moving to Linux due to fears of Microsoft eating their market share more than anything else (or so it seems, as opposed to Blizzard who is concerned about the way Windows 8 may be walled, though they acknowledge there is no decision on that yet), I see why he's annoyed.
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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32. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:46 2nd_floor
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 13:31:
And here's one of the reason Linux hasn't taken off on the desktop. What developer wants to give their stuff away for free? DOH! Here's something I've learned over the many years of being in the software industry: some open source software is good, most is bad.

Haha. Right. Open source does not mean you can not profit from it. Open source based Red Hat software does hundreds of millions of dollars in profit. You think open source is bad... open source runs 60% of the Internet, haha! Even Microsoft is starting to open source some of it's software. Some. Android is open source, is Android doing poorly?
 
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31. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:36 NewMaxx
 
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html  
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30. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:31 Steele Johnson
 
And here's one of the reason Linux hasn't taken off on the desktop. What developer wants to give their stuff away for free? DOH! Here's something I've learned over the many years of being in the software industry: some open source software is good, most is bad.  
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29. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:27 2nd_floor
 
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:47:
I have a lot of respect for what Stallman did in terms of completely rewriting nearly every Unix utility and making it open source, thus laying the groundwork for Linux. I mean, if you look at the man page for any given Linux utility, chances are it's going to say that the program was written by Stallman. Furthermore, he was instrumental in starting the open-source movement, and thus anyone that uses opensource software -- you like this website? I'd be willing to bet that the web server runs off of some variant of Linux -- owes him a little bit of respect.

Now that said, the dude is quite the nutter. Shit like this post, confirms it. The GNU manifesto -- read it sometime: it's a hoot -- is a rambling diatribe that only occasionally resorts to cogent argument. Furthermore, his insistence on ALL software being opensource, not just some or even most, is hopelessly naive. Again, I like the influence this guy has had on computing, but damn if he isn't a weird one.

Agreed! Not everything needs to be open sourced. Lokigames did not open the code to the games they ported, but they opened other software, and that showed that they believed in Linux and wanted to do the right thing for it.
 
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28. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:25 2nd_floor
 
Silicon Avatar wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 12:45:
Eh, he does have a point, sort of.

Look at it this way:

Valve is scared of the MS app store that's going to be built into Win 8. They're scared that eventually Steam will be made inconvenient or get locked out somehow. Win 8 is closed source and Valve can't change the OS so they move to Linux. On top of Linux they launch a ton of closed source games, perpetuating the problem they ran from (inability to change source code) on an OS that was built to avoid that very thing.

Stallman might sound crazy and look weird but he has a point.

Valve should give something significant back if they're going to build on top of open source software.


Agreed. You don't just "change sides" after having completely ignored the other one for so long, and expect to fit in and benefit from it, especially given Valve has run their business on Linux servers.

Linux stands for the opposite of what Steam does in many ways. Freedom.

This comment was edited on Jul 31, 2012, 13:30.
 
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27. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:23 Teddy
 
Good god, this guy is always so out to lunch. Non-free software is unethical? What a load of unsubstantiated crap that is. Apparently software developers aren't allowed to make a profit, but in the same line he declares that game art is different somehow? What a hypocritical douche bag.

Then seriously, shit you just can't make up. 'If you want to promote freedom, censor yourselves and only say what I want you to say.' Is this guy fucking serious? I know there's some serious nutjobs out there in the world, but it always baffles me when someone so obviously intelligent can't see the logical fallacies in their own lines of thought.
 
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26. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:23 Agent.X7
 
Prez wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:05:
Creston wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:02:
Wait... what??? What kind of fucking hippie is this guy?

Creston

No kidding. Is he on drugs or something? It's been a while since I heard an argument quite that stupid. Wow.

Agreed. I wonder if he stepped back and read what he wrote and then thought it was a good idea to publish it and make himself look like a drooling idiot.

Hey man, I opened your door and took your TV.

WTF? You stole my TV?

No, dude, I shared it. It's unethical to not share. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!

 
Avatar 23400
 
Origin - JStarX7
STEAM - Agent.X7
PSN - JStar_X7
Xbox Live - Agent X7
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25. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 13:04 SirKnight
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:20:
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 10:52:
Since when does freedom mean everything is free?
It doesn't. This guy is out to lunch and always has been, Stallman doesn't have a book inside reality. As many people have already figured out. Funny enough he doesn't seem to have a problem with WINE. Umm...k? Doesn't that mean the same thing.


Well he doesn't have a problem with WINE because it's GPL. What the users do with it is not his or anyone's concern. The point is WINE respects the GPL and that's what he's going on about.
 
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24. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 12:48 StingingVelvet
 
necrosis wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:04:
So he would rather have no Steam on Linux than Steam with DRM (which by the way is not Valves doing but the publishers of the games).

Umm, Steam is DRM, made and forced on everything by Valve.

Other than that I agree with the consensus.
 
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23. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 12:45 Silicon Avatar
 
Eh, he does have a point, sort of.

Look at it this way:

Valve is scared of the MS app store that's going to be built into Win 8. They're scared that eventually Steam will be made inconvenient or get locked out somehow. Win 8 is closed source and Valve can't change the OS so they move to Linux. On top of Linux they launch a ton of closed source games, perpetuating the problem they ran from (inability to change source code) on an OS that was built to avoid that very thing.

Stallman might sound crazy and look weird but he has a point.

Valve should give something significant back if they're going to build on top of open source software.

 
Avatar 18037
 
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22. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:47 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I have a lot of respect for what Stallman did in terms of completely rewriting nearly every Unix utility and making it open source, thus laying the groundwork for Linux. I mean, if you look at the man page for any given Linux utility, chances are it's going to say that the program was written by Stallman. Furthermore, he was instrumental in starting the open-source movement, and thus anyone that uses opensource software -- you like this website? I'd be willing to bet that the web server runs off of some variant of Linux -- owes him a little bit of respect.

Now that said, the dude is quite the nutter. Shit like this post, confirms it. The GNU manifesto -- read it sometime: it's a hoot -- is a rambling diatribe that only occasionally resorts to cogent argument. Furthermore, his insistence on ALL software being opensource, not just some or even most, is hopelessly naive. Again, I like the influence this guy has had on computing, but damn if he isn't a weird one.
 
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21. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:30 Bhruic
 
necrosis wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:04:
So he would rather have no Steam on Linux than Steam with DRM (which by the way is not Valves doing but the publishers of the games).

Yeah that makes perfect sense.

"However, if you're going to use these games, you're better off using them on GNU/Linux rather than on Microsoft Windows."

Yes, definitely sounds like that's what he's saying. Rolleyes

If you don't care about open source, that's fine, but expecting someone associated with GNU and FSF to not care is stupid. And it's not even an unreasonable position to hold, as he's not saying "this is bad", he's saying "this has good and bad sides to it".

edit: Oh, and btw, yes, some games on Steam use external DRM, but that doesn't change the fact that Steam itself is a form of DRM. So yes, it is Valve's doing.
 
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20. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:23 Beamer
 
MattyC wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:00:
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 10:52:
Since when does freedom mean everything is free?

While I don't really care about the issue, I do not think that was the argument. This is freedom to modify/inspect/redistribute/etc. Like open source, not free as in doesn't cost anything.

Gotcha.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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19. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:21 NegaDeath
 
I get his point about DRM, it sucks. But other than that it doesn't sound like he lives in the real world. I don't think he sees the irony when talking about freedom and then denying access to paid software, isn't it the users choice?  
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18. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:20 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 10:52:
Since when does freedom mean everything is free?
It doesn't. This guy is out to lunch and always has been, Stallman doesn't have a book inside reality. As many people have already figured out. Funny enough he doesn't seem to have a problem with WINE. Umm...k? Doesn't that mean the same thing.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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17. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 11:19 NKD
 
Blue wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:14:

Best comment:

"Well, he only&#65279; eats 'em because they're Open Sores ;)"

Best or worst comment, that one just about made me wretch.

Creston wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:15:

Oh good Lord. I bet he wears fucking hemp sandals too...

Creston

Hemp rope as a belt too I am sure. He probably has the full hemp collection.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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76 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 3.
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