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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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54. Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Jul 31, 2012, 17:15 Veterator
 
Well I could see Steam bringing a lot of people to the Linux environment because gaming on Linux and complications with getting certain things running correctly under Linux is a pain.

Once you have a game platform available on it, a lot of those hard to fix issues are going to be resolved since there's an audience for it. As will a lot of the other quirks. Plus there will be those who took Windows for what it was and didn't ever dream about changing it, who are now able to get their games on Linux and will want to see the OS change to what they think it should be rather than what Microsoft thought it should be.


I mean Windows as a mostly closed platform is going to be the one you want to overcome in people's minds. If you want to perpetuate the idea of it into something that's relatively minor as the Steam platform or games in general. Some games are already pretty highly mod-able and companies have been drawing back from it (games were arguable better when they could be modded, they were worth more to the player/user).


I think Stallman should take the view as his following/ideal being the white cells in the blood stream, expose the system to it and make the system resist it in the future rather than flat out blocking it and telling everyone that exposure to it is against the overall best interest of everyone else in the system or who wants to be apart of the system. Because common knowledge now tells that not being exposed to illnesses makes for a weaker and less robust immune system overall. After all, without the idea of exposure to immunize, we'd be pretty fucked as a society and we'd all have to separate ourselves from each other or risk being nearly wiped out when exposed to other regions and people.

If Windows alienates and Linux won't welcome, both are going to set the tone for the future. Do what we want you to do or go away. Where as Linux could just as easily say that they want Steam to set up an open source section and let the open source people out do the closed platform games. I know I'd like to see more open and easy to use game design, it'd certainly help to move away from the current "make everything expensive as hell" game creation method we have now.


 
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    Date Subject Author
  1. Jul 31, 10:51 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam "Unethical" nin
  2. Jul 31, 10:52  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Beamer
  5. Jul 31, 11:00   Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam MattyC
  14. Jul 31, 11:11    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Mr. Tact
  20. Jul 31, 11:23    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Beamer
  22. Jul 31, 11:47     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Scottish Martial Arts
  29. Jul 31, 13:27      Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam 2nd_floor
  61. Jul 31, 19:00    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam jdreyer
  18. Jul 31, 11:20   Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Mashiki Amiketo
  25. Jul 31, 13:04    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam SirKnight
  27. Jul 31, 13:23     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Teddy
  3. Jul 31, 10:56 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam deqer
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  11. Jul 31, 11:07   Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Verno
  12. Jul 31, 11:09    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam NKD
  15. Jul 31, 11:14     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam  Blue 
  76. Aug 3, 03:57      Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Fantaz
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  50. Jul 31, 15:49  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam wtf_man
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  23. Jul 31, 12:45 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Silicon Avatar
  28. Jul 31, 13:25  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam 2nd_floor
  62. Jul 31, 19:04  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Mordecai Walfish
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  32. Jul 31, 13:46  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam 2nd_floor
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  37. Jul 31, 14:07     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Verno
  38. Jul 31, 14:10     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Flatline
  44. Jul 31, 14:58     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Beamer
  40. Jul 31, 14:13    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Bhruic
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  43. Jul 31, 14:44      Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Crustacean Soup
  46. Jul 31, 15:03       Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Overon
  47. Jul 31, 15:05        Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Xil
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  59. Jul 31, 18:54     Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Creston
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  72. Aug 1, 00:53   Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam stormpilgrim
  75. Aug 1, 14:21    Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam saluk
  31. Jul 31, 13:36 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam NewMaxx
  35. Jul 31, 14:04 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam eunichron
  39. Jul 31, 14:13 Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Scheherazade
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  53. Jul 31, 16:50  Re: GNU Guru: Linux Steam Crustacean Soup
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