Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 21 Jun 2021, 12:19

Hello,

I've recently started to check how many of the libre games are actually libre (and sadly found many that were just pretending to be). I'm now concerned about STK too as I'm looking at the Debian copyright file. There are too many files without an actual license -- just ctrl+f "license: ???". There are also questionable files like "WilhelmScream.ogg" which are kind of borderline case and it's not completely clear their use is okay (maybe it is but it would be better to avoid them).

Is there any concern about this? Thank you :)

(Please don't argue with fair use, it's inapplicable in free culture. It's a mechanism to use works without permission in a very limited way, free works must allow use in any way.)

EDIT:

tl;dr problematic parts (the ones I've been able to find so far):

- Beastie mascot (non-free terms, STK has a legally questionable permission to use but this still doesn't make it free), EDIT: the author actually confirmed to me he doesn't want to distribute his mascot under free terms and suggested removing the mascot if it is distributed as free.
- Hexley mascot (non-free terms, basically same as Beastie)
- files without license (listed as "license: ???")
Last edited by drummyfish on 08 Jul 2021, 13:15, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby eltomito » 21 Jun 2021, 23:46

What you're saying sounds like nitpicking to me. Like, if somebody forgot to put a license in a source file, it means the whole thing isn't free software anymore. I'm pretty sure that all contributors know very well that STK is free software and contribute their code or whatever with a full awareness of that. If they forget to put a license clause in their contribution, it's just that: a thoughtless omission.
Okay, somebody might have used media files with a license that isn't hundred percent compatible but it's just a minor blemish that you can fix or not, because who's gonna sue you over that?
I kind of suspect the whole thing you're getting at boils down to living in the real world versus being an imaginary robot. In the real world, stepping in a piece of shit doesn't make your pristine white suit any less perfect. It just means that when you get the chance, you should clean the shit off of your shoe.
Just my 2 cents, obviously.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby tempAnon093 » 22 Jun 2021, 02:18

It's an interesting point about WilhelmScream.ogg, since I don't recall it being used anywhere in the game...

It seems some of the things in there are technically uncertain but extremely low risk (e.g. dedicated STK contributors made most of them and just didn't declare a license) but there is no reason not to clarify with them if they're still contactable.

Here is a list of the entries with question marks or other issues that I could find. There are 66 in total.
https://annuel2.framapad.org/p/supertux ... nties-9o5c
It is worth noting that many of these are by known contributors, and many are easy to recreate (e.g. solid color, a box)

(PS: the Debian link has a trailing " in it which breaks it)
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 22 Jun 2021, 15:15

Thanks for clarification and making the document. It's true most of these are probably low risk, as you say, still I personally care about this very much, and I am not alone (even if I'm part of a minority) -- I think it's just fair to let people know about this and let everyone decide if this is "libre enough" for them, so please don't take this as something "offensive". It just makes me nervous seeing a 5000 line file trying to track down licenses and then a great portion of these are just question marks, it's pretty messy. I genuinely just wanna check out if devs care about this. I lived under the impression that Debian didn't allow any packages that weren't 100% free, but it seems like that's not true after all.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 23 Jun 2021, 00:10

drummyfish {l Wrote}:I lived under the impression that Debian didn't allow any packages that weren't 100% free, but it seems like that's not true after all.
That actually never was true. Debian had from the beginning different package sections, and allowed non-free packages. Only the "main" section is supposed to be free (but not enforced in practice, just expected by a social contract), anything in "contrib" might be free or not free, and the Debian developers take no responsibility at all (they delegate that responsibility to each package's maintainer, meaning no guarantee). Finally all the packages in the "non-free" category are - well, surprise - known to be not free in the first place.

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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby tempAnon093 » 23 Jun 2021, 00:26

drummyfish {l Wrote}:I think it's just fair to let people know about this and let everyone decide if this is "libre enough" for them, so please don't take this as something "offensive". It just makes me nervous seeing a 5000 line file trying to track down licenses and then a great portion of these are just question marks, it's pretty messy.

I agree. While I personally don't see it as a likely risk to the project, I think it's an ethical obligation for a program calling itself "Free and Open Source" to be that way by default (especially one with Tux on the front!). I will try and send out some emails today to those with known email contacts to help make the list as small as possible.

I do have about 5 projects I'm working in with various priorities but I check this forum regularly, so if you don't see an update from me within a few days, give the thread a bump! It's good to do that, because I want this to be worked on as well. :)
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 23 Jun 2021, 20:20

Thanks for caring @tempAnon093 :) Very appreciated.

bzt {l Wrote}:Only the "main" section is supposed to be free (but not enforced in practice, just expected by a social contract)


Yes,I meant the packages in main, ofc contrib may be non-free. Honestly now I don't know who to trust anymore, there's no well established entity that strictly cares only about completely libre works -- not even GNU as they don't mind proprietary data. At this point I am thinking about creating my own database of "truly" libre games.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 27 Jun 2021, 14:11

Just found out that BSD project mascot Beastie is not libre, "Individuals may use the daemon for their personal use within the bounds of good taste". I couldn't create an STK fork that wouldn't appeal to the author's taste. Also he only talks about individuals, so companies and other groups of people probably can't use STK.

Am going to check other mascots too.

EDIT:

Hexley is also proprietary under the same terms as Beastie.

I'm going to report this as a bug in Debian, IMHO STK should be removed from the free repositories, perhaps moved to contrib.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby eltomito » 27 Jun 2021, 23:18

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Just found out that BSD project mascot Beastie is not libre, "Individuals may use the daemon for their personal use within the bounds of good taste".


The copyright text in that link is dated 1995 so it may not be even relevant now. Either way, the copyright owner's e-mail is there so if someone cares about it, they could try e-mailing them and asking if it's okay to use Beastie in STK. If the copyright owner cannot be found, we can simply assume that STK is not in bad taste. Because it isn't, right?
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby Magellan » 27 Jun 2021, 23:34

Just as an FYI, McKusick has already granted STK permission to use Beastie according to this 2017 GitHub issue: https://github.com/supertuxkart/stk-code/issues/3062
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 28 Jun 2021, 09:04

You're missing the point tho, I know STK has permission to use Beastie, but that doesn't make Beastie or STK free. Free SW/art has to allow any use to everyone, not just a specific project, not just to individuals, not just within "good taste" (i.e. requiring author's approval in each specific case). As I say, I couldn't probably take STK and make a fork which e.g. promotes some extreme political views the author doesn't like. That's not free, that's something akin EULA.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 28 Jun 2021, 10:20

drummyfish {l Wrote}:At this point I am thinking about creating my own database of "truly" libre games.
That's a pretty good idea, but if I were you, I wouldn't limit it to games. Such a database sounds great, but I think games should be only a category in it (even if all the other categories empty at first, I wouldn't rule non-game software out).

drummyfish {l Wrote}:You're missing the point tho, I know STK has permission to use Beastie, but that doesn't make Beastie or STK free. Free SW/art has to allow any use to everyone, not just a specific project, not just to individuals, not just within "good taste" (i.e. requiring author's approval in each specific case). As I say, I couldn't probably take STK and make a fork which e.g. promotes some extreme political views the author doesn't like. That's not free, that's something akin EULA.
Maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe full-libre isn't as good as it first seems. I'm no designer, but let's assume for a moment that - hypothetically - I manage to create a nice, cute little mascot. I definitely wouldn't want people to use that mascot in a 18+ game promoting cuitus between underaged boys and priests for example, and even less so to be used by some messed up politician propaganda. Just sayin'. I can totally understand why McKusick added that "within good taste" clause.

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ps: for certain members, you can relax, I did not come up with that example because I'm homophobic, but because there's a huge scandal in my country about that right now, and Christian Church's sins are every day topic these days.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 28 Jun 2021, 14:07

bzt {l Wrote}:Maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe full-libre isn't as good as it first seems. I'm no designer, but let's assume for a moment that - hypothetically - I manage to create a nice, cute little mascot. I definitely wouldn't want people to use that mascot in a 18+ game promoting cuitus between underaged boys and priests for example, and even less so to be used by some messed up politician propaganda. Just sayin'. I can totally understand why McKusick added that "within good taste" clause.


You're just discussing pros and cons of free culture, that is irrelevant here (even though I wouldn't expect members of this forum to argue against free culture). The point of this thread is to simply clear out miscategorization (or false advertisement, call it whatever). We have a well established definition of free software and free cultural works, and as a combination of both we also have a clear definition of libre games, i.e. games that are wholly and 100% both free SW and free cultural works -- and every game can be pretty unambiguously categorized as either libre or not libre. Now if STK is being promoted as libre while not meeting the definition, it's something that should be sorted out. If "99% libre" is enough for anyone to play STK, that's alright, but people shouldn't be mislead by a false label. The game shouldn't occupy the space made exclusively for 100% libre projects and shouldn't be called libre just as a program with a single proprietary line of code can't be called free software. It could be called an open-source game, perhaps even free software game (as GNU's definition of free SW doesn't care about data), but not a libre game, and it shouldn't be on LGW and in Debian free repos.

STK is still a great project BTW, don't get me wrong, even if it is technically not libre, a libre fork can very easily be made (just replace the problematic parts, I'm even thinking about doing it). As such I value it very much, but I also think the flagships of free SW/culture should constantly be under the scrutiny of people taking freedom seriously (and even more so as the big projects should try to set the best examples).

Tl;dr: STK is great. Just don't call it libre or treat is as such is it doesn't meet the well established definition.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 28 Jun 2021, 16:54

drummyfish {l Wrote}:You're just discussing pros and cons of free culture, that is irrelevant here
No, you misunderstood.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:It could be called an open-source game, perhaps even free software game (as GNU's definition of free SW doesn't care about data), but not a libre game
What I wanted to say is, maybe being libre is not needed, and being Free and Open Source is enough. About not calling it something that it isn't I agree.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:it shouldn't be on LGW and in Debian free repos.
On that we disagree (in general, but see my next paragraph too). Because can I install STK on my computer legally? Yes. Can I copy it to my friend's machine without violating law? Yes, I can. Can I get its source code and compile it myself? Yes, I can. Good for me to be called Free and Open Source (and that's what Debian is, I don't remember being called a libre-OS).

drummyfish {l Wrote}:I also think the flagships of free SW/culture should constantly be under the scrutiny of people taking freedom seriously (and even more so as the big projects should try to set the best examples).
Agreed. In general I'd be happy with GPL's definition, but you made a valid point with the flagships. Those should be 100% libre to make a good example, no doubt.

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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 28 Jun 2021, 17:52

bzt {l Wrote}:On that we disagree (in general, but see my next paragraph too). Because can I install STK on my computer legally? Yes. Can I copy it to my friend's machine without violating law? Yes, I can. Can I get its source code and compile it myself? Yes, I can. Good for me to be called Free and Open Source (and that's what Debian is, I don't remember being called a libre-OS).


Wait wait. I really think you're wrong.

Firstly, Debian is strictly free software operating system (here free being synonymous with libre, it's an alternative term to prevent confusion with "freeware"), with even stricter rules than GNU (requiring also data to be free). They use the term free software, not open-source (see e.g. https://www.debian.org/intro/about, https://www.debian.org/intro/free). So they are a libre OS. See also https://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq ... _just_code for the requirement of free data. STK in current state really doesn't meet Debian's inclusion criteria IMHO. LGW also pretty strictly excludes games if they include non-free data -- at least that's what I've been seeing for the number of years I've been a moderator there. By including STK in Debian or LGW you're practically giving it a wrong label, you're putting it in a wrong box.

However, confusingly, the term libre game isn't synonymous with free SW game. Libre game is a special term invented to mean the game is both free SW and a free cultural work, or in other words 100% free as in freedom. This naming is pretty messy, but it's already in place and trying to fix it would only introduce more terms and confusion.

So, while not libre, STK could still be (and probably is) placed in GNU free software directory and could be called free SW game as GNU only looks at the software part -- everyone knows about that, there's nothing wrong or confusing about including STK there. I have no objections here. It is free software in GNU sense, though it isn't in Debian sense. But by default we usually mean the GNU definition by free software.

Now when listing what you can do with the game you forgot about the important freedom #3: to redistribute your modified versions of the game -- the crucial right that's in question here. Your modified version may be in conflict with the original author's "good taste" and he/she may prevent you from redistributing it, rendering the game as a whole non-free because not all 4 basic freedoms are met.

The reason I suggested calling it an open-source game is that open-source really means basically nothing, it's just a brand. They call Android open-source even though in practice it's an unethical "open core" layered in proprietary malware which you have absolutely no control over. You could probably call Windows open-source nowadays and no one would object. So calling STK open-source wouldn't be violating any definitions. I'd still prefer to call it free software though, as mentioned above.

It's all pretty confusing due to the complicated nomenclature, yes, but many people know and rely on these definitions and we should therefore try to respect the terms and the categories. Again, especially with the big projects. Having a licensing mess in software repositories is in no one's interest (except of the enemies of free SW/culture of course).
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby Magellan » 28 Jun 2021, 19:09

Apologies for this lengthy, url-ridden response. *Edited to correct a broken link and clarify some wording.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:You're missing the point tho, I know STK has permission to use Beastie, but that doesn't make Beastie or STK free. Free SW/art has to allow any use to everyone, not just a specific project, not just to individuals, not just within "good taste" (i.e. requiring author's approval in each specific case). As I say, I couldn't probably take STK and make a fork which e.g. promotes some extreme political views the author doesn't like. That's not free, that's something akin EULA.


IANAL, but I don't see how this is any different from a developer contributing some piece of code that they still hold copyright over to a free project. If Developer A contributes some piece of code to some freely-licensed Project B, and later finds that some Project C that they disagree with has been created as a fork of Project B, using their code, they (Developer A) could conceivably try to rescind the license to use *their code* from Project B because they still hold copyright, unless they give up that right as part of a licensing agreement. This fact does not mean that Project B is somehow not a freely-licensed project. Almost certainly this situation would end up in court, and the procedure for how to do this in reality would be hashed out by lawyers and judges, since questions such as the fate of already-distributed versions need answering. It also wouldn't necessarily mean that anyone other than the targetted party would have to stop distributing Project B, because some recipient probably received a copy of that program that entitled them to the right to distribute and modify it. But the legal system ultimately would decide.

In the case of STK specifically, those who contribute code *do* give up some copyright protections, because *code* in STK is licensed under GPLv3 (relevant section: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html#section2), but those who contribute something else might not necessarily, because other licenses like CC-BY, etc. are used. Contributing something like a depiction of a character, which could not be sensibly licensed under a free-software license, but which is nonetheless protected by copyright, is a different beast altogether. It is also worth noting that, even in the above case of the GPL, whether or not that particular element of the license has legal teeth is unknown because it remains untested in court.

McKusick owns the copyright to Beastie, he knows that STK is a freely-licensed project, and he still granted them permission to use his character. STK does not require copyright to be assigned to the maintainers or some organization when contributions are made, so the contributors all still own their own copyrights. Mckusick didn't put any special extra conditions on the usage of his character when he approved its use in STK, only asking for a link on the website of the STK project (which was complied with here: https://supertuxkart.net/Discover). The image of Beastie is not code, and no individual files from McKusick himself were contributed to STK, so the fact that he gave permission to use Beastie is the only relevant point, since there are no files or pieces of text or strings of characters or anything like that for him to specifically apply a license to. He could theoretically rescind that permission from some future fork of STK, for any reason, but then so could any contributor rescind *their* permission to use *their* contributions, because ultimately they still hold copyright on them. In that case, the lawyers would get involved.

The same is true of even other characters, such as Tux himself. The copyright on Tux is owned by Larry Ewing (per https://web.archive.org/web/20191001080512/https://isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/), and his image is not provided to STK (or any other project, to my knowledge) with any kind of guarantee that permission to use will not be rescinded or that the copyright holder somehow waives all or part of his copyright. He could theoretically find something objectionable in a fork of STK and demand that the depiction of Tux not be used in that fork, even though he ostensibly gives permission to use Tux on his website (providing for attribution). Again, this hypothetical situation would not and does not make STK (or any other project) somehow not free for using the image of Tux.

All of this is very hypothetical, and if it were ever going to actually happen, almost certainly lawyers would have to get involved. The question of revoking contributions from free software projects has not been answered definitively in court, much less with regards to the use of characters in works like this. This is a sword hanging over the head of any project that accepts contributions from others without requiring copyright assignment, and it is nothing new. In my own personal opinion, it is outside the scope of free software licensing to try to address theoretical conflict scenarios involving peripheral elements of software like character depictions. It is sensible, I think, to apply free licenses to media files, but that is not the same as trying to license what can be done with the thing(s) that the media represents when it comes to copyright, trademark, image rights, or any other "intellectual property" (ugh) laws. This is, I think, one reason why the GNU project is not so insistent on freely-licensed media in the first place.

A few interesting bits of further reading:
https://hackaday.com/2018/09/27/can-you ... urce-code/
https://web.archive.org/web/20090210212 ... ticle.html - I don't fully agree in this one, but interesting points are raised, especially wrt Australian law. Plus, this guy is an actual lawyer.
https://mashable.com/article/chef-ice-seth-vargo - A situation that seemingly didn't rise to the point of involving lawyers
https://www.cnet.com/news/revoking-open-source/ - Kindly ignore the subheading, because by the end of the article the author has totally debased it
https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/9/23/212 - A message containing ESR's usual histrionics, but cited elsewhere and relevant to this topic

The unclearly-licensed files mentioned earlier seem like serious issues that need to be addressed, however.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 28 Jun 2021, 19:55

@Magellan hope I understand correctly what you're trying to say -- if so, I think you have a very elemental misunderstanding of how free licensing works. Let me explain and please correct me if I'm wrong.

When you contribute something (code or art) to a free licensed project, it means your contribution adopts the license of the project. If a contributor A contributes code C to project B, which is licensed under a free as in freedom license D, then he still holds copyright to his contribution C, however this is no longer full copyright, as C is from now on available under license D, therefore contributor A can no longer limit use of his contribution C in any way. He already granted the right to use, study, modify and distribute contribution C to anyone at any time under any circumstances (which is the point of free SW/culture) by contributing to free-licensed project D (most projects have also explicitly stated that if you contribute you automatically adopt the license). A holding copyright now means he can e.g. enforce copyleft, enforce attribution or any other condition of the license, but can no longer retroactively limit the freedoms he had granted to everyone.

It's not like Linux is only free as a collection of contributions, it is free as a whole, every single line of code is free and can be used in any way, copy pasted to any project, even if it is pornographic or nazi project. That is free SW. Refusing to hold an absolute monopoly over a work doesn't mean you endorse anything anyone ever does with the work. If STK wants to call itself free, it needs to also allow any of its part to be copy pasted into any project, whatever it may be. As the situation stands now, this is not the case.

Most free SW has a copyright holder, which however doesn't make it non-free. It's just that the author has given up part of his copyright by using the free license. And by definition, free license must not discriminate against any endeavor, person, group, political views etc. Not even when the people are evil or don't adhere to someone's good taste. Again, whether this is good or not is not to be discussed here, this is simply how it is, here we only discuss whether this applies to STK by definition or not.

You argue that licenses may possibly be withdrawn by the author or that a license hasn't been tested in court etc., but this has nothing to do with the topic on hand. Imperfections of licenses or free SW concepts, the ability to enforce licenses etc. aren't discussed here, as here we already operate under the assumption free SW works or can work, we're only discussing whether a specific project meets specified criteria of some terms and SW repos.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 29 Jun 2021, 01:09

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Firstly, Debian is strictly free software operating system
No, by your definition it is not, as it allows non-free data, read The DSFG. But this isn't a clear-cut situation, especially when DSFG mentions different licenses as all being Debian compatible when they fundamentally differ on this matter.

Further complication that free licenses are generally poorly written, for example if your GPL'd code reads in their font from a file in run-time or if they include them in the source as a byte array then different conditions apply to the exactly same data (depending who you ask, because some does not consider embedding data as statical linking of software since it's no code, while others do, and that's why there's a font embedding exception to GPL, which is pretty useless because what if you want embed an image or a 3d model too for example?). With 3BSD for example, there's no such distinction.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:When you contribute something (code or art) to a free licensed project, it means your contribution adopts the license of the project.
Well, not exactly. First, code (in form of source code) is well described, but art stored as data isn't (save the notable exception of the XPM format, which is technically a C source file and some IOCCC entries where the source is an art of its own right). Therefore data files has to be assessed individually. Plus contributions do not adopt the license of the project automatically, that's why there's a need for a separate license statement in each file (read this and this), and that's why you have libre-issues with STK in the first place.

Summa summarum, what you do is important, and this is why all files in STK should have a clear licensing info, and should be licensed under a Free and Open Source license (still not entirely convinced about full-libre is a must, but we agree it would be better to provide a good example.)

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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby tempAnon093 » 29 Jun 2021, 02:41

I think a main point is, there's core parts of STK that are not considered 100% free (libre), such as main characters including Beastie and Hexley.
It seems to me that this is irreconcilable in the short term unless we rip out a few favorite characters. We can put them in recommended add-ons if we take that route. Maybe we might choose to make replacement characters later?
What I think is just as likely (and far easier) is accepting that this game is mostly-free, not fully libre and thus not compatible with Debian Free Software Guidelines.
Do you know what ramifications this might have? I assume it just means Debian users need to manually enable the non-free repo before downloading, with no ease-of-use impact to typical end-users (Ubuntu-like, Arch-like, Mac, Windows, *BSD). Beyond that, it might have slight reputational damage and possibly stop people with strong ethical objections from playing.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 01 Jul 2021, 08:44

bzt {l Wrote}:code (in form of source code) is well described, but art stored as data isn't (save the notable exception of the XPM format, which is technically a C source file and some IOCCC entries where the source is an art of its own right). Therefore data files has to be assessed individually.


The link doesn't support what you're saying, it only says that GPL sucks as it's only applicable to code :) This is not completely relevant to the topic, but you can easily solve the licensing hell by using CC0 for everything, both content and code, which is what I advocate (I recommend adding an IP/patent waiver if the work includes code). You also avoid tons of bureaucracy with different license requirements (just try to read through the whole GPL and see for yourself), license incompatibility etc. In this case the copyright file of the whole project can be as simple as

{l Code}: {l Select All Code}
files *: CC0 1.0


Anyway I'd leave it at this as going further we're going to get into politics (attribution requirements, copyleft etc.). That's for another thread. Just saying that if you really want, what you're saying doesn't have to be true.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 02 Jul 2021, 07:18

drummyfish {l Wrote}:The link doesn't support what you're saying, it only says that GPL sucks as it's only applicable to code :)
Which makes me wonder if you have checked the provided link at all. Its title literally says "Can I use the GPL for something other than software?". And the first sentence goes like this
GPL {l Wrote}:You can apply the GPL to any kind of work, as long as it is clear what constitutes the “source code” for the work.
And I'm saying that with data this isn't clear at all. Take for example a PNG image. Is that considered to be a source code? You can edit and modify it with GIMP without converting into another representation after all. And if not, then what counts as a source version? If you convert the binary blob into a C array (which is technically a source code), does that count as the source code of the data? I don't think so. Or in case of Beastie, is McKusick's 2d logo the source of the 3d model file used in STK? I highly doubt that.

However just because you must consider each data file one by one if it is in source form or not, doesn't mean "GPL sucks as it's only applicable to code". It is applicable to data too, but it sucks big time, on that part we agree.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:This is not completely relevant to the topic, but you can easily solve the licensing hell by using CC0 for everything, both content and code, which is what I advocate
Which is exactly what I've said, although I mentioned 3BSD as an example, not CC0.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:what you're saying doesn't have to be true.
I don't understand this, considering that you're saying exactly the same and you haven't understood what I was saying on at least two accounts. I believe we're saying the same.

And about Beastie, as long as the author gave permission (and he did), it's okay to use him in STK, there's absolutely no reason to remove. McKusick was well aware that he gave permission to use Beastie in a GPL'd software, meaning he was aware of the relicensing. I think the correct course of action is to ask the authors of the other files too, and only remove those where the authors cannot be contacted or they do not give their permission.

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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 02 Jul 2021, 08:37

I don't think Beastie or Hexley are GPL, but more importantly there's no legal proof of that I could find. It looks like they're just used with permission specific to STK, as e.g. the official page states ("BSD Daemon used with permission"). Until there exists a legal proof of a work being free licensed, it is non-free. If someone emails the author and he confirms the mascot has been relicensed to GPL (and perhaps also changes the mascot's webpage to reflect that), then we can consider this solved. Same with Hexley.

bzt {l Wrote}:
drummyfish {l Wrote}:The link doesn't support what you're saying, it only says that GPL sucks as it's only applicable to code :)
Which makes me wonder if you have checked the provided link at all. Its title literally says "Can I use the GPL for something other than software?". And the first sentence goes like this


Which makes me wonder if you're reading what you're writing :) I said it couldn't be applied to anything else than code (not just computer program code, but any code), and you (and the link) are saying it can only be applied to things that have clearly defined source code (such as some data) otherwise there's a problem. Perhaps you confused software with code?
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby bzt » 02 Jul 2021, 09:57

drummyfish {l Wrote}:I don't think Beastie or Hexley are GPL, but more importantly there's no legal proof of that I could find. It looks like they're just used with permission specific to STK, as e.g. the official page states ("BSD Daemon used with permission"). Until there exists a legal proof of a work being free licensed, it is non-free. If someone emails the author and he confirms the mascot has been relicensed to GPL (and perhaps also changes the mascot's webpage to reflect that), then we can consider this solved. Same with Hexley.
It is pretty simple. The author gave permission to include Beastie in a GPL'd software. There's no way of doing that with a non-free license, see this (in this case the 3d model is a substantial part of a program)
In order to combine two programs (or substantial parts of them) into a larger work, you need to have permission to use both programs in this way.
That permission was given. Furthermore, in GPL section 7, the license makes it crystal clear that
If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.
Which means as soon as McKusick gave the permission to use Beastie in a GPL'd software, he also gave away the right for further restricting the use (that's the whole point of GPL btw). He might not be aware of this, but he gave the permission, so anybody receiving a GPL'd copy of the 3d Beastie model has the right to remove any further restrictions (but only for the 3d model, and only for that particular version shipped with STK; using the original Beastie image or any other 3rd party 3d model still requires McKusick's approval).

Simply put: you can't use the original Beastie image as you like, but you can use the 3d model shipped with STK as long as you adhere to the terms of GPL.

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Which makes me wonder if you're reading what you're writing :) I said it couldn't be applied to anything else than code (not just computer program code, but any code), and you (and the link) are saying it can only be applied to things that have clearly defined source code (such as some data) otherwise there's a problem. Perhaps you confused software with code?
Nope, I have not confused anything, it is you who haven't read GPL, because GPL defines source code in section 1.
The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.
It does not talk about "program code", textual source nor about anything else than being modifiable. That's exactly why I gave the example with the PNG image, because it is a binary blob, yet modifiable with GIMP. However if you put that in a byte array in a C source file, that would be source code technically, but not source code in GPL's sense, as there's no way of easily modify that embedded image. I gave this example for a very good reason.

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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby drummyfish » 02 Jul 2021, 14:57

OK, I get your point now, but I still have great doubts.

The GitHub permission doesn't seem at all good, the author never specifically mentions he relicenses his work to any other license and GPL isn't even mentioned anywhere. Also he demands STK to link to his copyright page which still states non-free terms of use and from his formulation it seems like he's only granting the permission to STK specifically ("Having not previously heard of Super Tux Kart, I downloaded it to my Andriod phone ..."), which at the very least points to the fact he isn't aware he was giving up more rights (e.g. the right of any kind of use of the mascot), even if that would legally be the case. It may even seem the author was tricked to relicense to GPL, which in court would be very bad (and would be very bad even if he lost the case, tricking someone isn't how free culture is bulit). Furthermore you only have someone claim this email was sent to him by the person, there's no solid evidence the author himself actually wrote this (e.g. a git commit by the author or a post on the author's own webpage, which actually with the non-free terms still standing provides evidence for the contrary). So in court the author would very simply just deny sending this mail and argue by his own page being what applies, and there's no defense against that. So IANAL but all in all I do not at all think this is legally safe in case the author decided to sue. This is simply extremely extremely shady and probably involved misunderstanding of the author.

And then there is the other mascot Hexley, for which there isn't even any specific permission, and to which exactly the same applies, i.e. this doubles the legal risk.

In my view this does not constitute a well documented and safe licensing. Until there is clear evidence of the authors' acceptance of GPL or other compatible license, I am confidently calling this non-free.

I don't even know anymore what you're trying to say with the GPL defining source code and what not -- it's offtopic anyway so I'm not going to spam about this further.
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Re: Is SuperTuxKart libre?

Postby Wuzzy » 03 Jul 2021, 21:19

I did not read through the wall of text, but can you list specifically which files are causing STK to be non-free in an accessible way? (i.e. not wall-of-text)

By skimming I found:
- Beastie
- WilhelmScream

First of all, I can't remember having heard the Wilhelm Scream ever in STK, and I know this game for years. Perhaps this is a mistake.
About Beastie: So basically Beastie has to be removed due to trademark? Oh boy ... I really hate all this bullshit. I really wish the whole oppressive copyright/trademark/patent system will one day crumble down into dust, it will solve so many problems. Free software really, really has it rough these days, and it only gets worse and worse.
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