Dan “theoddone33″ Olson, the author of HHexen and other projects, madea post on the3D Realms message board entitled “theoddone33′s Guide to Releasing Source Code”, which enumerates the advantages of releasing old game source code, while acknowledging that companies have a rightto decline making their intellectual property freely available:
#1. Source releases benefit the community.
With very few exceptions every source release has resulted in at least a Linux port of the game and at most a greatly enhanced product. Young and experienced coders alike can look at the source and see a bit of how professional game programmers do things. John Carmack, who was probably the first to release source, did it because he wanted to see what cool things the community would come up with. He’s continued that tradition and cooler and cooler things keep popping up.
#2 Source releases benefit the company.
Due to all the community enhancements, ports, and whatever else, people with no previous interest in the game will suddenly be trying to find a copy to buy. People who use Linux exclusively will now be buying the game if they do not already own it. Customers will be happier because their game will work on X operating system that it was not designed for. The company will be looked highly upon by members of the community who have always wanted to do ____ with the game but couldn’t before.
#3 Source releases do not decrease the money-generating power of the game.
Source releases *always* result in greater interest in the game. There is no exception that I know of, and I doubt that any of you can point one out.
#4 The community does not ‘deserve’ the source.
A game’s source belongs to those who own the rights to it. Releasing source is purely an act of goodwill by the company that owns the source. However, refusal to release source does not necessarily mean that the company has no goodwill toward the community.
There are some conclusions that can be drawn from these 4 facts.- 3DR does not deserve to be hounded for the source to Duke3D and beta material (though I have no clue why you want that anyway)
- “We’re not releasing source because Duke3D still makes us money” is an invalid reason to not release source. “We’re not releasing source because we don’t want to” is a perfectly valid reason.
- Whether or not Linux is a commercially viable OS is irrelevant. 3DR would be getting something for nothing by releasing source.
Whether for valid or invalid reasons 3DR has refused to release source. Unless they change their mind, petitions, stories about car dealers, and flames are all pointless.