IPF and Openness

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IFW
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by IFW »

The library has been free for the past (almost a) decade and we intend to keep it that way.
Actually we want to make the source code available, because that would help people working with it and would definitely document what it does.
Ie anyone should be able to compile the available code and get the same functionality as a pre-compiled (for convenience) version does.
I am not exactly sure why would anyone insert a nag screen in such a product - and why someone else wouldn't promptly delete the offending code ;)

pak21
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by pak21 »

Tuxie wrote:If you "license under the GPL and be done with it" then you are effectively shutting out all emulators not under the GPL. That's why I suggested dual licensing.
Good point.
If I'm understanding this correctly you want a license that is:

a) GPL compatible
b) Compatible with Open Source licenses (non-copyleft aka "non-viral").
c) Compatible with closed source freeware emulators
d) Not allowing "making a lot of money" from your library.
e) Compatible with Shareware emulators (is this correct?)

a and d are mutually exclusive so a dual licensing scheme is inevitable for this to work.
I'd actually say that the GPL is compatible with (d): a company is going to find it very hard to make a lot of money out of selling something as soon as the first person to buy it can give it to everyone else. As for the case of (e), I would have thought that would be best handled by individual licenses for each emulator - that makes it much easier to manage than trying to write some clauses to define the difference between commercial enterprises and hobbyists happening to charge $5 for their emulator.

Tuxie
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by Tuxie »

The SDKs you need to link with to create XBox/PS3/Wii software are to the best of my knowledge already incompatible with GPLv3 so anyone wanting to use the IPF library for that purpose can't choose GPLv3. As the added clauses in my proposed "IPF license" prohibits them from bundling or selling IPF images, their only option is to buy a commercial license from you. Or simply use a plain ADF-type image with a cracked version. :)

pak21
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by pak21 »

Tuxie wrote:The SDKs you need to link with to create XBox/PS3/Wii software are to the best of my knowledge already incompatible with GPLv3 so anyone wanting to use the IPF library for that purpose can't choose GPLv3.
The stuff for doing Wii homebrew is definitely GPL-compatible.

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IFW
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by IFW »

We are not talking about homebrew or anything similar here, just strictly commercial ventures.

pak21
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by pak21 »

Interceptor wrote:L compatible (say MAME) license, aside from the obvious implications from FUSE implementation (which therefore wouldnt affect, say, ZXSPin), how would you then view the whole scenario then compared to say, now or this time last year?
Definitely better than now. Not as good as it could be, because I've still got to do some work which could be avoided if it were additionally GPL-licensed, and I honestly don't think GPL-licensing is going to affect your bottom line.

Arbee
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by Arbee »

Hi, I'm a MAME and MESS dev, and I have a few points to add here (particularly about the MAME license).

1) The MAME/MESS license is not GPL compatible; the "no commercial use clause" makes it so. This means that if IPF were GPL, we couldn't use it in MESS without special permission. This also means that MAME-licensed programs can't legally use SourceForge or a lot of similar code hosting sites.

2) The "no commercial use" clause in the MAME license has a slightly different intent than is usual. In our case, it's intended more as a signaling mechanism to the rights holders of the original games that we simply intend to preserve their stuff and not profit from it. It's unclear if it's actually had that desired effect, but several game publishers have politely asked us to delay adding games (which we have) in order to protect e.g. home releases rather than sending lawyers first.

3) In reality, no license does anything unless you can afford to legally enforce it. We can't, and therefore the MAME license has been breached dozens of times by Chinese makers of "xxx-in-1" JAMMA boards, among others. The (L)GPL has the advantage of having been tested and passed multiple times in courts in the US and EU, so would-be violators are going to be significantly more afraid of it. (I work for a commercial software company and Legal gets skittish when we use GPL'ed hex editors on our work PCs, let alone letting GPL code anywhere near our proprietary code base).

4) Because of 1), an increasing portion of MAME's core components (the actual emulation core as well as the actual CPU, audio, video, disk controller, etc. chip emulations) are being dual-licensed with the MAME license and straight BSD. This allows the code to be shared with other emulators regardless of license.

So I have no simple solutions. My personal interest hopes you guys end up with a MAME/MESS-compatible license because we'd love to use your code and format, but I also believe that GPL is probably a better defense against unwanted commercial use.

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IFW
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by IFW »

Hello Arbee and Welcome!

A few questions:
- Can we actually get permission to use the MAME/derivative licence?
- What is the situation if the code is dual-licensed? ie You may choose to license it under either GPL or say MAME - I guess licensees would need to declare which one applies in their case for clarity.
- Adding a clause to the original MAME licence that would clearly highlight that commercial use can be permitted if agreed with us (obviously not retroactive to any other software using that licence) would be still something that you could use?

Please see the whole thread for the reasons - if you haven't already done so.

Thanks.

Arbee
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by Arbee »

No permission is necessary to use the MAME license - we don't claim any special rights to the license itself.

For a dual-license you pick the license that's compatible with what you're doing. In a lot of cases people call out in their documentation which of the license options they're using, which I believe is a good idea.

The extra clause isn't necessary; as someone mentioned earlier on this thread the original author of something has complete rights to it and is not restricted or limited by the license(s) it is released under. This is what makes dual- and triple-licensing possible. GhostScript for example used to have a setup where the latest version was under a license very similar to MAME's but they also offered paid commercial licenses. When a new version came out, the previous version was re-released as GPL.

That said, if you would prefer the extra clause, we could probably add it to the official MAME license as a clarification.

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IFW
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Re: IPF and Openness

Post by IFW »

Is it a reasonable request that licensees using either version would either add a pointer how/where others could access the licensing options or ask them to include all the licences that may be chosen?
How would this work in practice?
EDIT: the purpose of this would be to make it clear that there is a real choice of licensing terms, which will not be obvious otherwise - so no one would turn it down just because it wouldn't fit their specific use case.

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