Software licensing policy

From Pin Eight
Jump to: navigation, search
For thoughts on non-free software licensing in general, see EULA.
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119. (what's this?)

The following policy applies to games published through Pin Eight.


Each video game product is distributed as free software; the mission packs need not be. But in some cases, a publisher wants an exclusive distribution right. In other cases, the producer of a gaming platform requires that all products MUST NOT use copylefted software; see for example the case of Pajama Sam for Wii, which had used the ScummVM engine. In these cases, a fully playable demo version MUST be distributed as free software for the PC. Such a version MAY have a shorter campaign, or it MAY lack features compared to the full version. For this reason, a game MUST NOT rely on copylefted or weak-copylefted libraries for which an affordable replacement or dual license is not available. A program MAY rely on a platform-specific library, such as SDL, for which the platform's producer is expected to supply a replacement.

Build tools

Tools used to build a product SHOULD fall into the following categories:

  • tools provided by the maintainer of the platform as part of the cost of the standard devkit, and
  • free software, which SHOULD be under a license compatible with the GNU General Public License.

Free software MAY include copylefted tools such as GCC. In these cases, the copylefted tools SHOULD be separate programs that communicate through command lines, the file system, or pipes, rather than as libraries intended to be linked to a C program. For example, Secret Rabbit Code tools from the author of libsndfile SHOULD be used in the form of a self-contained program that links to libsamplerate0, such as sndfile-resample from the samplerate-programs package or SoX, instead of using libsamplerate0 to make one overarching converter with sample rate conversion as one of its steps. This allows use of these tools with other free software under incompatible licenses, and it allows use of these tools from any programming language.

See also

  • Action 53, a project with a slightly different licensing policy

External links

  • Ryzom, an example of how to license a copylefted game (programs AGPL, everything else CC-BY-SA)