Stallman on Steam

July 31st, 2012 by Alkini

In response to Valve’s intent to release Linux games via Steam, Richard Stallman posted Nonfree DRM’d Games on GNU/Linux: Good or Bad?. Stallman predicts that “the direct good effect will be bigger than the direct harm” but that it will “augment [the] effect of … teach[ing] users that the point is not freedom.”

9 Responses to “Stallman on Steam”

  1. Cheeseness Says:

    This was originally written in May, I believe. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an older copy to see what’s changed (the page says it was last updated on the 28th of July).

    It’s interesting that people generally seem to be fixating on the “good effect will be bigger than the direct hard” quote this time around (back in May/June, most of the discussion I had come across was about how anti-Steam RMS was being >_< ).

    At any rate, it's pretty unknown how the F/OSS communities and ecosystem will cope with/react to the influx of DRM, non-free software and new users who aren't familiar with the Free Software movement. Interesting times are ahead!

  2. dimko Says:

    with all due respect, i think he is a bit loony. though he is a good one. more good than damage ;P

  3. jedidiah_1196 Says:

    Stallman’s response is of course entirely predictable and not really news.

  4. King_DuckZ Says:

    A very immature comment that you wouldn’t expect from Stallman. Games take very large and very skilled teams, they can easily cost millions of dollars and, unlike regular software, you don’t sell tech support for them. The free2play model is still not proving to be enough in every situation thus the only income are from retail and monthly fares for mmorpgs. Giving out the source code, finally, means opening the door to modified clients with cheats for both online and offline games. The OSS model simply doesn’t apply to games.
    Let’s just welcome the new native games on Linux with all the new users that will finally ditch the dual boot option.

  5. Trizt Says:

    @King_DuckZ: But there are loads of cheats and bots for completely closed down games, so not releasing the source code is in no way a guarantee that you would have a cheat free game environment.

    If people cheat on single player games, that’s all okey, it will most likely make the player to play the game more than they would otherwise, there are games I have cheated at, but that’s to make the game more fun for me and as those are single player games, it don’t affect anyone else, no matter if it has been closed source or open source games.

    When looking at games which have been released as open source after X years, the number of cheats hasn’t increased, but more community games based on the original has popped up and improvements has been made on clients/servers, just take a look at the different Quake games and I have to say it’s been the most successful way as it has inspired new generation of game developers.

    There are successful mmorpgs which don’t have monthly fee, just take a look at Guild Wars (sadly no native Linux client) and there are more of them. What I’m critical against is games where you have to pay top buck for the game and then pay a monthly fee to play it, IMHO only one or the other, not both (either top bucks for the game and free playing, or free game and a monthly fee).

  6. hamish Says:

    Also, who says that Stallman said that all games have to be free to play or developed using an “open source model”? As I understand it, all Stallman wants is the release of the game code to ensure that people can use and play their games as they so wish. For anyone who has ever wanted to play a game but could not because it was never released for Linux, theyy should easily understand this sentiment.

    One should also note that Stallman mentions that “Game art is a different issue, because it isn’t software.” This means that you can still develop a commercial game, sell the game assets, but also release the game code and still be okay as far as Stallman seems to be concerned in this instance.

    This may not be an ideal, but it is certainly an approachable and even reasonable business model, and one that has already been used by several game titles already (albeit usually several years after a games release).

  7. sparr Says:

    As hamish pointed out, Stallman isn’t against non-Free content in games, just against non-Free software.

    Consider something like the UnrealEngine. Stallman wants the *engine* to be free. Every game that uses the engine and has its own maps, sounds, art, models, music, etc could still be commercialized.

  8. xmorg2 Says:

    I for one, LOVE free software and stand behind any company that embraces it even at a cautious, non quite free level.
    Part of being free is having the right to sell out :p
    I hate steam, yet own a few games on it and commend them for embracing linux. Yet I still acknowledge that DRM sux.

  9. zippoxer Says:

    so what?

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