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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 1.
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76. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Aug 3, 2012, 03:57 Fantaz
 
Blue wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:14:
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 11:09:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I25UeVXrEHQ

Best comment:

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

rofl blue
 
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75. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Aug 1, 2012, 14:21 saluk
 
stormpilgrim wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:53:
What made me chuckle is that he put in a caveat for the artwork in games... I guess he has lots of hippy friends that are those typical arty types and they have to eat somehow...

But yeah the guys writing games and other software should work 70 hour weeks for love...

I blame him for the Lada Niva I owned....

He's not saying people should make games and not get paid. The art comment can be expanded to mean any part of the ip that makes the game unique, just not the code. When the original developers move on, and a game still has bugs, you often see the community come out with unofficial patches that fix some things. But that takes a lot of work and there is a lot they can't do.

An IDEAL free-software game environment in my opinion would see old games updated easier to work on new systems, supported longer, new support added for new controllers that are released, better widescreen/fov support to fix things the devs for some reason didn't think about, and of course more games would have a healthy mod environment. New copies of the game being sold would still make money for the company, and people still wouldn't be allowed to make a few modifications to a game and try to sell it as their own.
 
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74. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Aug 1, 2012, 13:15 Warskull
 
Draugr wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 20:39:
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:51:
In a "free-market" system we have corporations. Those corporations are all intent on creating monopolies where possible because that means they get everyone's money for the monopoly they've created. No, America is actually moving more toward an oligarchic and/or plutocratic system where the wealth and power is concentrated by a small group of people - the 1%. This is why you a reduction or outright elimination of competitors and compatible good goods and services.

This needed to be said, thanks. It boggles my mind how the word gets thrown around yet most (seem to be) totally clueless.

It is actually kind of interesting. Most of the people throwing 'communism' or 'socialism' around as a slur are products of the propaganda from the cold war era. That kind of hate stays with a society and is passed down from generation to generation.

Think of the stigma attached to Nazi. Yes, the Nazis were truly awful people and the crimes of the original Nazis cannot be understated. However 'Nazi' carries a lot more stigma than 'racist' or 'bigot.' Modern Nazis are really just racists, but the Nazi name seems to draw a lot more disgust than the KKK or other equivalent hate groups.

Another great example is the whole "Chinese food is made from cats and dogs." That was basically anti-chinese propaganda from when Chinese workers came over to build railroads (and consequently opened up Chinese restaurants.)

Communists and socialists are bad because they were the enemy and it still lingers in our society.
 
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73. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Aug 1, 2012, 08:21 Beamer
 
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:05:
Draugr wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 20:39:
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:51:
In a "free-market" system we have corporations. Those corporations are all intent on creating monopolies where possible because that means they get everyone's money for the monopoly they've created. No, America is actually moving more toward an oligarchic and/or plutocratic system where the wealth and power is concentrated by a small group of people - the 1%. This is why you a reduction or outright elimination of competitors and compatible good goods and services.

This needed to be said, thanks. It boggles my mind how the word gets thrown around yet most (seem to be) totally clueless.

Yeah, well, you know the dittoheads. Things tend to break down quickly when they're not parroting the talking points and same old jingoistic bullshit that their corporate masters feed them.

1% is too generous. Someone sitting at 1% is just as vulnerable as anyone else.
And it isn't due to corporations, it's due to taxation. We had corporations in America for 200 years before this began being an issue.
And, truthfully, it isn't an American problem, as it's happening in every country. We're just way ahead of the curve with 8 times as many billionaires as any other country, yet our national wealth isn't 8 times higher. Sadly, most Americans fail to realize that national wealth is a pie, not an river, and if one group has more another has to, by definition, have less. If one group is earning more and more each year everyone else is earning less and less each year. If that second group is sufficiently large enough all the air is sucked out of an economy and it collapses.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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72. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Aug 1, 2012, 00:53 stormpilgrim
 
What made me chuckle is that he put in a caveat for the artwork in games... I guess he has lots of hippy friends that are those typical arty types and they have to eat somehow...

But yeah the guys writing games and other software should work 70 hour weeks for love...

I blame him for the Lada Niva I owned....
 
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71. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 22:05 Cutter
 
Draugr wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 20:39:
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:51:
In a "free-market" system we have corporations. Those corporations are all intent on creating monopolies where possible because that means they get everyone's money for the monopoly they've created. No, America is actually moving more toward an oligarchic and/or plutocratic system where the wealth and power is concentrated by a small group of people - the 1%. This is why you a reduction or outright elimination of competitors and compatible good goods and services.

This needed to be said, thanks. It boggles my mind how the word gets thrown around yet most (seem to be) totally clueless.

Yeah, well, you know the dittoheads. Things tend to break down quickly when they're not parroting the talking points and same old jingoistic bullshit that their corporate masters feed them.
 
Avatar 25394
 
"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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70. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 21:25 Icewind
 
This guy needs to get off of his freeware soapbox. So...having nonfree games on your free operating system supposedly "sullies" it?

Yes, let's just run those shitty "free" games you linked and play a bunch of crap for the next ten years so we can be hipster elitist idiots like you.

I'd love to dump windows and would love to run Linux. If Valve starts putting games on it, chances are good I'll download it and give it a try. This ADDS people to your elitist club, mr hipster. There is no downside to this.
 
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69. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 20:43 Draugr
 
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:19:
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:16:
This guy needs more processing power, buying a game for Linux does not harm Microsoft, in most cases the software is multi-platform supported.

The only one getting fucked is IBM, as the PC is a IBM platform, but only a compatible?

What is happening to the country is called Communism.. That is the harm being done having licensed platforms.. Its spreading into all businesses, look around, all parts companies are now having SOLE distributorships, and more, to drive up cost and kill the smaller competition.


And I know a lot of you don't always catch the intelligence in my posts but think of it this way..

Why is there NOT Playstation compatibles.
Why is there NOT Xbox compatibles...
Back in the day there was Atari, and guess what
Tele-systems was Sears product, was a compatible Atari system.
and not Atari, but you no longer see this...

Communism, because no one has the intelligence or care to survive, only control

lol, "there is no copyright infingement because of communism!"

No one catches the intelligence in your posts because it doesn't appear to be present.
 
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68. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 20:39 Draugr
 
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:51:
In a "free-market" system we have corporations. Those corporations are all intent on creating monopolies where possible because that means they get everyone's money for the monopoly they've created. No, America is actually moving more toward an oligarchic and/or plutocratic system where the wealth and power is concentrated by a small group of people - the 1%. This is why you a reduction or outright elimination of competitors and compatible good goods and services.

This needed to be said, thanks. It boggles my mind how the word gets thrown around yet most (seem to be) totally clueless.
 
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67. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 20:22 Beamer
 
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:19:
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:16:
This guy needs more processing power, buying a game for Linux does not harm Microsoft, in most cases the software is multi-platform supported.

The only one getting fucked is IBM, as the PC is a IBM platform, but only a compatible?

What is happening to the country is called Communism.. That is the harm being done having licensed platforms.. Its spreading into all businesses, look around, all parts companies are now having SOLE distributorships, and more, to drive up cost and kill the smaller competition.


And I know a lot of you don't always catch the intelligence in my posts but think of it this way..

Why is there NOT Playstation compatibles.
Why is there NOT Xbox compatibles...
Back in the day there was Atari, and guess what
Tele-systems was Sears product, was a compatible Atari system.
and not Atari, but you no longer see this...

Communism, because no one has the intelligence or care to survive, only control

Hey, guess what! Tele-systems was an Atari product rebranded to be sold at Sears. Same system, same manufacturer, same price, different name!

It was NOT a compatible, it was the exact same product.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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66. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:51 Cutter
 
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:19:
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:16:
This guy needs more processing power, buying a game for Linux does not harm Microsoft, in most cases the software is multi-platform supported.

The only one getting fucked is IBM, as the PC is a IBM platform, but only a compatible?

What is happening to the country is called Communism.. That is the harm being done having licensed platforms.. Its spreading into all businesses, look around, all parts companies are now having SOLE distributorships, and more, to drive up cost and kill the smaller competition.


And I know a lot of you don't always catch the intelligence in my posts but think of it this way..

Why is there NOT Playstation compatibles.
Why is there NOT Xbox compatibles...
Back in the day there was Atari, and guess what
Tele-systems was Sears product, was a compatible Atari system.
and not Atari, but you no longer see this...

Communism, because no one has the intelligence or care to survive, only control

Clearly you need to learn a thing or two about political ideologies. See, if it was communism there would be no corporations in the first place, just goods and services produced by the comrades of the state. There would be no attempt creating virtual monopolies or closed-systems. All those things you mentioned would be entirely compatible under a communist style system.

In a "free-market" system we have corporations. Those corporations are all intent on creating monopolies where possible because that means they get everyone's money for the monopoly they've created. No, America is actually moving more toward an oligarchic and/or plutocratic system where the wealth and power is concentrated by a small group of people - the 1%. This is why you a reduction or outright elimination of competitors and compatible good goods and services.
 
Avatar 25394
 
"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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65. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:19 Closed Betas
 
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 19:16:
This guy needs more processing power, buying a game for Linux does not harm Microsoft, in most cases the software is multi-platform supported.

The only one getting fucked is IBM, as the PC is a IBM platform, but only a compatible?

What is happening to the country is called Communism.. That is the harm being done having licensed platforms.. Its spreading into all businesses, look around, all parts companies are now having SOLE distributorships, and more, to drive up cost and kill the smaller competition.


And I know a lot of you don't always catch the intelligence in my posts but think of it this way..

Why is there NOT Playstation compatibles.
Why is there NOT Xbox compatibles...
Back in the day there was Atari, and guess what
Tele-systems was Sears product, was a compatible Atari system.
and not Atari, but you no longer see this...

Communism, because no one has the intelligence or care to survive, only control
 
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64. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:16 Closed Betas
 
This guy needs more processing power, buying a game for Linux does not harm Microsoft, in most cases the software is multi-platform supported.

The only one getting fucked is IBM, as the PC is a IBM platform, but only a compatible?

What is happening to the country is called Communism.. That is the harm being done having licensed platforms.. Its spreading into all businesses, look around, all parts companies are now having SOLE distributorships, and more, to drive up cost and kill the smaller competition.
 
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63. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:15 jdreyer
 
Bhruic wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 14:13:
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 13:51:
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.

I don't understand how so many people are confusing "freedom" and "free". There's a reason he continually uses the word "freedom" in there, and that's because you can't (or shouldn't be able to) confuse "freedom" with pricing.

Look at it this way - all of the words in a book are publicly available. There's nothing "hidden" behind the scenes. Books are, effectively, open-source. And yet people still make money selling them.

Being open-source doesn't mean you have to give it away. Being open-source doesn't mean you give up your copyright (although there are licensing agreements that do, which you aren't obliged to use). All of this talk about people not being able to make money is nonsense.

What Stallman said was vague and confusing, thus people were confused. If he had said, "Software with EULAs that you're not allowed to modify infringe on your freedom" this thread would have been much smaller and more focused on what he meant.

As for your analogy, it's a poor one. The words correlate to programming languages like Java or C++. Anyone can write programs in those languages. The book itself is not open source. I can't cut and paste paragraphs from LOTR into my new book and call it mine, nor can I changed passages in LOTR and republish it. I'd be sued by Tolkien's estate for copyright infringement, at least until the CR expires. The same goes for software: I can't take the weapons from UT3 and put them into MW2, redistribute it, and say I improved it, but Stallman is saying that being restricted from doing that infringes your freedom, that's why non-open source is bad (according to him).
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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62. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:04 Mordecai Walfish
 
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.


I can only think that with the new hires and such they fully intend to "give something back".

This may be in the form of using their influence with hardware manufacturers to support linux in a (more) stable fashion, or perhaps they will even release their own distro.. who knows..

I dont think Valve is arrogant enough to just jump on the boat with their 500 ton gorilla, without making some re-enforcements to the hull first, and helping to grow the platform.

Our other alternatives are Apple, Google and Microsoft, obviously.. but I am not overly excited about *anything* coming (o/s wise) from these three.. and I'm happy Valve is pushing for a more viable 4th party in that race.

^Drag0n^ wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 18:13:
Freedom isn't free (TM)

You bet yer balls it isn't. That's the #1 most miscomprehended thing in this discussion IMO.

This comment was edited on Jul 31, 2012, 19:11.
 
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61. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 19:00 jdreyer
 
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.

Thanks for translating. In that light what he says makes more sense. Couching in general terms of "freedom" just confuses people.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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60. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 18:56 jdreyer
 
Wow, this is a bizarre post. Isn't freedom having the choice of installing paid programs on your O/S or not?

Also, if Linux users are so averse to paying for stuff, why are they by far the largest contributors on average to Humble Indie Bundles?

According to the promotion's website, Humble Indie Bundle 5 was purchased by 598,794 individuals, with an average purchase price of $8.53. Broken down by platform, Linux users paid more than anyone else at an average of $12.51 per transaction, while Windows users paid the least, averaging $7.97 per bundle. Still, the majority of purchases were made by PC users, with Linux users contributing the minority.
(emphasis mine)
 
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59. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 18:54 Creston
 
Bhruic wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 14:13:
Look at it this way - all of the words in a book are publicly available. There's nothing "hidden" behind the scenes. Books are, effectively, open-source. And yet people still make money selling them.

Really? You try taking a book's first few chapters and then writing a different final 14 chapters to it, and see how well your open-source defense works when your ass is sued off for stealing.

I know what he's saying. He's saying that everything on Linux should be open-source. But you can't expect the entertainment industry to work on an open-source model. People need to eat from the work they've done. It's their job, not their hobby they do in the late hours of Saturday night.

So if games were to massively come to linux, whining that they wouldn't be open-source doesn't really help. If linux wants to make it big, this would be a good thing for it. (and yes, I understand that the hippie doesn't really care that much about linux, just about his concept of free software and how it should work.)

I think the GNU is wonderful, but you can't simply expect the entire world to start revolving around it. Nobody is going to spend years making games if it meant others could grab whatever they wanted out of said game and make their own game with it.

Creston
 
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58. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 18:35 HorrorScope
 
This is when this site needs more options for text size and color.

I SEE WHAT HE JUST DID THERE!
 
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57. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 18:13 ^Drag0n^
 
Freedom isn't free (TM)  
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"Never start a fight, but always finish it."
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