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Subject: Re: Wolfenstein 3-D port

Re: Wolfenstein 3-D port

From: Antony Stone via rockbox-dev <>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 18:59:27 +0200

On Monday 17 June 2019 at 18:20:44, Benjamin Brown via rockbox-dev wrote:

> On Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 10:19 PM me--- via rockbox-dev <
>> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> >
> > I have decided to finish my port of Wolfenstein 3-D (available at
> > Before I push it, there are some
> > licensing issues that need to be cleared up. My current code is using
> > MAME's OPL emulator, which is GPL incompatible. I intend to replace it
> > with DosBox's OPL emulator, which should solve that issue.
> >
> >
> > However, the main issue--and the reason I am writing the list--is this:
> > the license of the original Wolfenstein 3-D source code itself is
> > unclear. Id software officially released the code under a custom,
> > restrictive license. However, over the years, various source ports claim
> > that it is GPL compatible (see, for
> > example), and I think it's doubtful that id would waste their time
> > chasing down infringing users of a 27-year old game.

I think an important question is whether you will be compiling / linking this
code with anything covered by the GPL, or whether you'll just be making it
available for people to use on something (Rockbox) that's GPL licensed.

> Seems to be worded vaguely enough though, starting at
> (Prohibited Uses). Can not Rent; Sell; Lease; Offer on a pay-per-play
> basis; Distribute for money or any other consideration; or In any other
> manner and through any medium whatsoever commercially exploit or use for any
> commercial purpose.

So, basically, you're not allowed to get money or anything equivalent in
return for letting people use it.

> And on
> "With the exception of the Educational Use right, you may not
> otherwise use the Software, or an portion of the Software, which includes
> the Source Code, for commercial gain."

Again, no "commercial gain".

> Is Rockbox considered a commercial entity?

I think that is neither here nor there (however I also think the answer is
"no"). The important question is not whether "Rockbox" and the developers
behind it are considered a commercial entity, but whether any commercial gain
is involved in distributing this game.

> > That leads to the question of whether or not we should (whatever that
> > might mean) include my Wolfenstein port in the master branch. Thoughts?

I would say that this licence is incompatible with the GPL, because it
restricts the distribution of the code (by saying you can't earn money from
doing so) whereas the GPL says you can't restrict distribution in any way, and
even explicitly states that you can earn money from GPL code (if you can find
someone willing to pay for it).

Anyway, that said, I am not a lawyer :)


Don't procrastinate - put it off until tomorrow.
                                                   Please reply to the list;
                                                         please *don't* CC me.
Received on 2019-06-17

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