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Libre version of TDM


Fiver

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This post differentiates between "gratis" ("at no monetary cost") and "libre" ("with little or no restriction") per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre

* A libre version of TDM could:
** Qualify TDM for an article on the LibreGameWiki
*** TDM is currently listed as rejected https://libregamewiki.org/Libregamewiki:Rejected_games_list because "Media is non-commercial (under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0). The engine is free though (modified Doom 3) (2013-10-19)"
** Qualify for software repositories like Debian
*** TDM is currently listed as unsuitable https://wiki.debian.org/Games/Unsuitable#The_Dark_Mod because 1) "The gamedata is very large (2.3 GB)", and 2) "The license of the gamedata (otherwise it must go into non-free with the engine into contrib)" and links to https://svn.thedarkmod.com/publicsvn/darkmod_src/trunk/LICENSE.txt

Questions:
1)
tdm_installer.linux64 is 4.2 MB (unzipped), which is far from the 2.3 GB which is said to be too large. Yes, the user can use it to download data that is non-libre, but so can any web browser too. If the installer itself is completely libre, does anyone know the reason why it cannot be accepted into the Debian repository?

2)
If adding the installer to the repository is not a viable solution, would it be possible to package the engine with a small and beginner friendly mission built only from libre media/gamedata into a "TDM-libre" release, and add user friendly functionality to download the 2.3 GB media/gamedata using "TDM-libre" (similar to mission downloading)?

3)
Would such a "TDM-libre" release be acceptable for the Debian repository?

4)
Would such a "TDM-libre" release be acceptable for LibreGameWiki?

5)
Would the work be worth it?
* Pros: Exposure in channels covering libre software (e.g. the LibreGameWiki). Distribution in channels allowing only libre software (e.g. the Debian repository).
* Cons: The work required for the modifictions and release of "TDM-libre". Possible maintenance of "TDM-libre". I'm thinking that the wider reach may attract more volunteers to work on TDM, which may eventually make up for this work and hopefully be net positive.

6)
Are there any TDM missions that are libre already today? If not, would anyone be willing to work on one to fulfill this? I'll contribute in any way I can.

7)
I found the following related topics on the forum:
* https://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/16226-graphical-installers-for-tdm/ (installing only the updater)
* https://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/16640-problems-i-had-with-tdm-installation-on-linux-w-solutions/ (problems with installation on Linux)
* https://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/17743-building-tdm-on-debian-8-steamos-tdm-203/ (Building TDM on Debian 8 / SteamOS)
* https://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/18592-debian-packaging/ (Dark Radiant)
... but if there are other related previous discussions, I'd appreciate any links to them.

Any thoughts or comments?

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TDM has tons of textures from "free" texture resources that do not allow redistribution and cannot be incorporated into a commercial project.

Someone would need to create a huge replacement pack of textures that do not break the look of existing missions and do not infringe on the copyrighted textures.

Also, many artists who contributed to this project do not want 3rd party entities to use their work in commercial projects. They intended the models, textures, sounds, animations to be exclusively used for Darkmod content. You would either have to replace ALL assets or contact every contributor and ask them to re-license their assets. Many contributors are no longer active with the project and haven't visited the forums in years so it would be no easy feat.

I cannot speak to Debian policy but I think that they treat installers that add non-free content the same as non-free content itself. One could argue that Steam is such an installer but I guess Debian would counter that there are a few fully Libre games on Steam.

I think Debian, Ubuntu, or Linux Mint need to consider a repo that allows for games (etc) that include non-libre content but intentionally offer this content for free to the community with no stipulations other than "don't try to sell it as a product".

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Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Our assets are all under CC-NC. If that's not allowed under their system, then it's not allowed. I don't know how it gets around that.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

Someone would need to create a huge replacement pack of textures that do not break the look of existing missions and do not infringe on the copyrighted textures.

Is there non-libre media/gamedata that every mission will absolutely require? Even a mission created completely from scratch and only using its own stand-alone models, textures, music, and sound? E.g. is the Lantern image on the HUD libre?

Yes, I understand that it may not be doable to replace (or re-license) all current gratis but non-libre media/gamedata used by current missions, but that may not be necessary. Hence my question (2) about a "TDM-libre" version consisting of only the game engine, all non-libre media/gamedata removed, but include a basic mission using (stand-alone) media/gamedata that is libre.

This will honor the will of contributors not wanting their work in commercial projects, and still make a limited version of TDM qualify as libre software for the benefits I describe.

3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

I cannot speak to Debian policy but I think that they treat installers that add non-free content the same as non-free content itself.

Does anyone know why? A browser like Chromium or Firefox qualifies as libre but can be used to view and download non-libre content.

3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

One could argue that Steam is such an installer but I guess Debian would counter that there are a few fully Libre games on Steam.

This is what I'm going for in question (1). If there are libre TDM missions available, then the TDM installer would be similar to Steam in that regard.

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First some people come saying the license of TDM is too free and blocks using TDM in commercial projects.
Then other people come and say the license is not free enough 🤔 (seriously, I wonder why).

Anyway, the license will not change.

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58 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

First some people come saying the license of TDM is too free and blocks using TDM in commercial projects.

Maybe they are referring to the GPL licensed parts of the engine.

 

58 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

Then other people come and say the license is not free enough

Maybe they are referring to the CC-BY-NC-SA license for the media/gamedata.

 

58 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

Anyway, the license will not change.

As I understand it, the game engine is libre (GPL+BSD) so no change would be required there.

I'm trying to see if there is a way of releasing a "TDM-libre"-version (not changing regular TDM) as I describe in my question (2). Or if the TDM Installer can qualify as libre software (1).

Edited by Fiver
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4 hours ago, Fiver said:

Does anyone know why?

I'm not a Debian developer so I can only guess why, but I'm pretty sure the Debian packaging rules do not allow a package to include just an installer which downloads content, because it bypasses the whole packaging system. Debian (and RPM) packages are supposed to contain the software, so that they can correctly track its installed files, clean it up after removal, etc. Having the software managed by an installer makes any tracking by the packaging system impossible, and defeats the point of using a package in the first place (you might as well just download and run the installer yourself).

Quote

A browser like Chromium or Firefox qualifies as libre but can be used to view and download non-libre content.

That's not even a remotely valid comparison. A browser does not require downloaded non-free content in order to perform its function as a web browser. TDM will not work without the 2.3 GB of non-free (according to Debian free software guidelines) content. That content is an integral and necessary part of TDM, it's not just some remote web page that you are "viewing" with the TDM installer.

Whether the DEB package contains the entire content or just a downloader which installs the content doesn't make any difference to the licensing aspects.

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TDM should contain 2 storages, one that is gpl (the engine) and one with another or more than one license (content), maybe that's already the case? Via the installer you should be able to only install the gpl content? I don't know if that's possible. Everything pure code is gpl, or not? I mean everything outside of media files (images, video's, sound files, etc.).

(edit: maybe also models?)

Edited by datiswous
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3 hours ago, stgatilov said:

First some people come saying the license of TDM is too free and blocks using TDM in commercial projects.
Then other people come and say the license is not free enough 🤔 (seriously, I wonder why).

Because people don't understand that "freedom" is not a scalar quantity, and talking about "more free" or "less free" is just meaningless nonsense. A license itself is not "free", but it can try to protect freedoms for specific groups of people (users, developers, company owners, etc), some of which might directly conflict with the freedoms of other specific groups of people.

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14 minutes ago, datiswous said:

TDM should contain 2 storages, one that is gpl (the engine) and one with another or more than one license (content), maybe that's already the case? Via the installer you should be able to only install the gpl content? I don't know if that's possible. Everything pure code is gpl, or not? I mean everything outside of media files (images, video's, sound files, etc.).

In theory that should be possible, and I believe (although again, I'm not an authority on Debian policy) that it would permit inclusion in Debian, because the GPL parts could be in the main repository and the non-free parts could be in the dedicated non-free repository. I suspect they wouldn't accept the main package if it didn't contain some minimal playable content (which is basically what the OP is suggesting).

But as others have said, separating out the various free vs non-free components would be a huge task. I believe there are also problems with trying to have the game installed in a non-writable system-wide location, because they game expects to be extracted into a writable directory and store its data locally.

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1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

I'm pretty sure the Debian packaging rules do not allow a package to include just an installer which downloads content, because it bypasses the whole packaging system. Debian (and RPM) packages are supposed to contain the software

That makes sense.

 

1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

That's not even a remotely valid comparison.

Well, it's valid if trying for option (1), but you explained well why that may not be a solution.

 

1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

That's not even a remotely valid comparison. A browser does not require downloaded non-free content in order to perform its function as a web browser.

Neither does the TDM installer to perform its function as an installer. (It will not perform a function as a game though.)

 

1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

TDM will not work without the 2.3 GB of non-free (according to Debian free software guidelines) content. That content is an integral and necessary part of TDM

Yes, I understand that is the case for TDM today. That's why I asked about the possibilities for option (2) as well: Debian may accept a "TDM-libre" version containing the game engine, a libre mission, and a built-in downloader functionality for the 2.3 GB of non-libre game data.

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1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

I believe there are also problems with trying to have the game installed in a non-writable system-wide location, because they game expects to be extracted into a writable directory and store its data locally.

I was not aware, so thanks for raising this!

Some software and games, e.g. SuperTuxKart, stores user data (addon tracks, screenshots, et.c.) into a sub-directory of the user's home directory ("~/.local/Share/supertuxkart"). Could TDM be modified to use a similar writable directory under the user's home where writing is necessary (missions, settings, savegames, et.c.), a directory that the system-wide installation will then use instead?

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2 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

Because people don't understand that "freedom" is not a scalar quantity, and talking about "more free" or "less free" is just meaningless nonsense. A license itself is not "free", but it can try to protect freedoms for specific groups of people (users, developers, company owners, etc), some of which might directly conflict with the freedoms of other specific groups of people.

Freedom is merely a feeling for most. I never understood the coherence with software. A license which allows modification is merely something practical, nothing I'd associate with "freedom" in any way.

For some people, this is very political.

Edited by chakkman
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If someone wanted to tackle a Libre mission, the mission with the smallest size and fewest assets is "Closemouthed Shadows":

https://www.thedarkmod.com/missiondetails/?internalName=closemouthed_shadows

 

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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1 hour ago, Fiver said:

That's why I asked about the possibilities for option (2) as well: Debian may accept a "TDM-libre" version containing the game engine, a libre mission,

I'm fairly sure they would accept this, if such a package could be produced.

1 hour ago, Fiver said:

and a built-in downloader functionality for the 2.3 GB of non-libre game data.

They might accept this, but I'm not sure. If it's an installer that allows users to pick and choose optional packages, some of which may be non-free, this would probably be OK — in fact this is pretty much how the in-game mission downloader works. If it's a single installer that just "makes the rest of the game work", this might be seen as trying to evade the free software guidelines by indirectly packaging non-free content in an otherwise-free package. It might be necessary instead to package all of the non-free content in a separate DEB and put it into the non-free repository as an optional (Suggested/Recommended) extra.

1 hour ago, Fiver said:

Some software and games, e.g. SuperTuxKart, stores user data (addon tracks, screenshots, et.c.) into a sub-directory of the user's home directory ("~/.local/Share/supertuxkart"). Could TDM be modified to use a similar writable directory under the user's home where writing is necessary (missions, settings, savegames, et.c.), a directory that the system-wide installation will then use instead?

Yes, this is the correct way to do things on Linux, and indeed how vanilla Doom 3 worked. In my opinion it would be much better if the Linux build of TDM worked like this, but I don't know how much work would be required to move away from the "everything in one writable directory" model that has been fairly solidly baked into the game implementation for many years.

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4 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

separating out the various free vs non-free components would be a huge task.

Where can one see how each component is licensed?

And would it really be necessary to separate them? Non-libre components cannot go into a libre repo, but if libre components can go into a non-libre repo, then no separation is needed. Right?

Edited by Fiver
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3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

the mission with the smallest size and fewest assets is "Closemouthed Shadows"

I'll put it at the top of my queue of missions to play, even if just to see the size of it. Is it explicitly said to be Libre with all its components? Mission story, models, textures, readables, and sound? If it is not, then I don't see that it would work to just change the assets it uses.

If there is no mission that is explicitly said to be libre today, I see two options:
* Ask if any author(s) would be willing to re-license one of their missions including its assets.
* Try enlisting people interested in helping creating a libre mission from scratch. (Assuming it is even possible to play a mission which uses absolutely none of the 2.3 GB media/gamedata.) (Is it?)

Edited by Fiver
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1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

It might be necessary instead to package all of the non-free content in a separate DEB and put it into the non-free repository as an optional (Suggested/Recommended) extra.

Yes, but the Debian objection to the 2.3 GB size in their repository still remains. Perhaps TDM could provide a repository for hosting that data, and "TDM-libre" asks the user to add the URI of that repository to their system, and download the gamedata before they can download any OMs or FMs?

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34 minutes ago, datiswous said:

I'm not sure if it's in TDM's interest to serve a "libre" version that essentially is cripled until you add the non-free content.

That's a valid point well worth considering.

The goal must be that a "TDM-libre" version is a net positive for the TDM project. The included libre mission must live up to sufficient standards. A bold statement would be that its very existance would be a net positive: I have played very many games in the Debian repo, and TDM compares favorably to them.

If a new user becomes the least curious about the game after playing the libre version, they will soon find images and videos of the non-free content online and many will want to move on to take part of that content as well. If some current contributors of TDM would agree to release select screenshots from their missions under libre licenses, then maybe 10-20 screenshots can be included in "TDM-libre" as further teasers.

34 minutes ago, datiswous said:

Making an AppImage version of TDM seems more interesting.

I'm thinking "TDM-libre" is more than just facilitating distribution of "TDM-libre". It is just as much about enabling exposure for "TDM-nonlibre". A favorable outcome would be to recruit new participants to the project, expanding both the libre and non-libre parts of TDM.

One appealing aspect of the Debian repository is that it is a curated collection of software (currently some 60 000 packages) that is hosted by the Debian project. I perceive an inclusion there (right or wrong) as a stamp of approval.

An AppImage is something TDM would host ourselves and any prospective user would have to find us by themselves first, right? In that case the current installer works just fine. But I know little about this. Maybe you can elaborate?

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4 hours ago, Fiver said:

Where can one see how each component is licensed?

Nowhere. I don't think it exists.

I believe the engine source code and shaders are assumed to be under GPL (except for third-party libraries, which have their license but are essentially distributed in TDM under GPL terms). All the rest is assumed to be CC-by-nc-sa.

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7 hours ago, stgatilov said:

Nowhere. I don't think it exists.

In that case, separating libre components from non-libre components does not seem possible, and like you say we may then have to assume it is CC-BY-NC-SA. That is something we may want to address, but I'll start a new topic for that.

7 hours ago, stgatilov said:

I believe the engine source code and shaders are assumed to be under GPL (except for third-party libraries, which have their license but are essentially distributed in TDM under GPL terms).

According to the TDM license (https://svn.thedarkmod.com/publicsvn/darkmod_src/trunk/LICENSE.txt), both GPL and BSD "3-clause license" apply for the source code:
* The portions base on Doom 3 (1999-2011) is GPL
* The portions by Broken Glass Studios / The Dark Mod Team (2005-2011) "were"(?) distributed under "revised BSD license".

According to the Debian Free Software Guidelines (https://www.debian.org/legal/licenses/):
* Both GPL and "modified BSD License" are accepted into the Debian "main" repository
* "Non-Commercial License" (it sounds likely CC-BY-NC-SA falls into this category) is accepted into the Debian "non-free" repository

("revised BSD license" and "modified BSD License" are different names for the BSD "3-clause license", see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_licenses)

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5 hours ago, Fiver said:

That is something we may want to address, but I'll start a new topic for that.

Maybe start with finding who are these "we" people who want to change the license to assets?...

As a programmer, I definitely do not want to maintain any additional packages. And I do not want to get entangled into any kind of licensing questions.

Quote

According to the Debian Free Software Guidelines (https://www.debian.org/legal/licenses/):
* Both GPL and "modified BSD License" are accepted into the Debian "main" repository
* "Non-Commercial License" (it sounds likely CC-BY-NC-SA falls into this category) is accepted into the Debian "non-free" repository

Just that I understand:

  1. A license that forbids commercial usage is considered not free (CC-NC).
  2. A license that allows commercial usage but efficiently forbids making money from it is considered free (GPL and AGPL).

Yes, this is a great distinction 🤬
Now someone should come and say "but hey, you can sell your support for GPL product!" 😆

UPDATE: Well, I think there is also an approach when company provides reduced version under GPL and expanded version under commercial license (like Qt). As long as reduced version is reduced enough, it seems to work fine.

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8 hours ago, Fiver said:

In that case, separating libre components from non-libre components does not seem possible, and like you say we may then have to assume it is CC-BY-NC-SA. That is something we may want to address, but I'll start a new topic for that.

I suggest you use the term "I", to make clear that it is something YOU want, and that you speak for yourself.

But, as wesp5 mentioned, I don't really know what this is about, at all. And, I'm also wondering about all the newly registered people lately, who just arrived at this forum, and already want to revolutionize this mod. This is a thing I noticed 2 or 3 years ago, and which hasn't been present in the 15 years I play this mod and frequent these forums now. Really seems like a common thing these days, to not knock on the door, but kick it in, and stomp right in.

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