[Dev] Confusion about game data

Fabio Pesari fabio at pesari.eu
Sat Mar 7 12:34:58 GMT 2015

> It's easier here:
> https://gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html#non-functional-data
> (which we follow) forbids NC.  The idea is that a business could sell
> CDs with Parabola packages.

It talks about data and never mentions code, so releasing just the code
would not go against guidelines, right?

> Why isn't it also a social movement, and why it's a separate movement?
> (I don't believe it's possible to obsolete DRM without obsoleting
> nonfree cultural works.  Laws made to prevent users from modifying or
> sharing cultural works restrict software: see DMCA.)

The two are obviously related but fundamentally, the purpose of art is
different from that of software.

In short, I can decide to live without art but I cannot do the same with
software (directly or indirectly), and this is a fact that will never

But fundamentally, I was just referring to the difference between
society and culture.

In any case, there are more important, related issues of which the Free
Software community should take care. Hardware is a big problem, for
example, and so is freedom on the Internet.

> And software will never use art, and it's obvious for us if a work will
> have a practical purpose while copyright exists?

If we separate the art from the implementation, things are a bit easier.
Art cannot really be used (only consumed), but data can. With games,
it's hard to tell when one ends and the other starts, and this is part
of an old debate ("are games art?").

But one thing that is easy to discern is how the game is executed, and
that is its code.

> It shouldn't be distributed if it cannot be used with only data that we
> distribute.

If we extend this to other programs, it's a dangerous slippery slope.

Those games can be used with any data that fits their specifications.
For example, the authors of Open Arena have used the Quake 3 source
along with their own free assets to make their version of Quake 3. Would
that have been possible without the Quake 3 source code? No, theirs
would have been just a clone (like FreeCiv).

If we free software supporters start looking down on free software
because it does not fit some criteria external to the software itself,
we'll waste a lot of precious time fighting among ourselves.

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