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Thread: Dink Smallwood Source License

  1. #1
    Administrator Seth's Avatar
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    Here is what I've written for the license, if anybody has any suggestions or problems with it, let me know now, before I actually release it.

    ***********************************
    *** Dink Smallwood Source License Information ***

    Copyright © Seth A. Robinson, 1997-2003. seth@rtsoft.com
    All rights reserved worldwide.

    This software is provided "as is" without express or implied
    warranties. You may freely copy and compile this source into
    applications you distribute provided that the copyright text
    below is included in the resulting source code, for example:
    "Portions Copyright © Seth A. Robinson, 1997-2003

    You may use this source in personal and commercial products, you
    are not required to release the source code.

    This is kind of like the zlib license but with some extra words
    below to protect Dink itself from being exploited for profit.

    *** CLARIFICATIONS AND INFO ***

    Greetings fellow game programmer!

    This is the Dink Smallwood source code, basically untouched since it was created
    in 1997 except for misc (and very few) bugfixes.

    I always planned to go through and renovate it myself, but as time goes on, this seems
    less and less likely. I would just rather re-write then fix-up, especially when the project
    is my first ever windows and C++ game...

    After seeing the 250 KB .h file you are probably about to poke out your
    eyes and bathe in lye to cleanse yourself.

    Before doing so, let me explain a few things about this source code
    as I vaguely remember it.

    * dinkvar.h is shared between the editor and the main game.
    * compress.c doesn't have a project, but it is the source for the util
    that makes .d files from .c files.
    * ffcreate is the util that packs a dirs contents into one giant file.

    *** HOW TO COMPILE AND TEST ***

    Use Microsoft Visual C++ 6 and open the dink.dsw. This houses all the projects. It probably
    works with VC7, but it hasn't been tested.

    Getting this to compile should be very easy, just make sure your DirectX paths
    are added to your Tools->Options->Directories. That's pretty much all you need. Next
    you'll want to check the output paths in the project setting so you can find the
    .exe's that are built.

    To actually test the .exe, install Dink Smallwood v1.06 and apply the 1.07 beta patch, it's about a 24 MB
    file you can get from my site. (it's freeware) Just replace the dink.exe with the one you've compiled.

    *** GETTING HELP ***

    This source is provided "as is" and unfortunately (well, fortunately for me) I won't be able to
    offer technical support on using it. If you have a question I recommend posting on my forums
    somewhere, myself or someone else will most likely help out if we can. This is a much better
    use of my time then answering 1-on-1 emails as the information is available to all.

    *** ABOUT THE DINK SOURCE ***

    I'm sure you'll be overjoyed to know that I have chosen to keep the historic value of this
    source intact by choosing NOT to go through and fix the hundreds of compiler warnings,
    remove the 39 instances of the word "shoot" in the code or make the code even slightly
    understandable. (as if I could - It's too late for that now...)

    If you are thinking about using this source for your own RPG, you are welcome to it, this is a
    very open license and if you think it's easier to fix up this code, add high color, windowed
    mode and whatever else than simply starting from scratch, I will humbly disagree but wish you luck.


    *** PROTECTING THE DINK SMALLWOOD NAME AND MEDIA FROM BEING EXPLOITED ***

    If you want to fix bugs and release "Jeff's Dink.exe that works better", please do. If you're
    updating the source for this purpose, please make it available as if it were GPL'd just so others
    can work from it. Also please distribute it SEPARATELY from the official Dink archive and make it
    extra clear that RTsoft or myself did not release it.

    Do not somehow try to cash in on releasing a new Dink.exe like adding spyware and banner
    advertising or CHARGING FOR IT. The original Dink team (myself, Justin Martin, Shawn Teal, Greg Smith)
    should be credited in any such Dink engine enhancement and a link to www.rtsoft.com should be included.

    Do NOT use this source to release "Dink 2" or "SuperDink" or any kind of sequel to the original Dink
    Smallwood. Releasing this source does not in any way release the rights to the Dink name or Dink media.
    non-profit improvements to the Dink engine are ok, as listed above, otherwise, you need your own name,
    story and artwork. (in which case you can charge for it and pretty much do what you want)

    If you want to add multiplayer support, highcolor, etc, to Dink you may surely do so, but keep in mind
    it must be free and clearly labeled a "An enhancement to the original Dink Smallwood engine" and
    released as a separate add-on patch (which would probably overwrite the .exe, add some files and art,
    possibly convert the map data and so forth) because no one can distribute the original media in a repacked form
    without my permission.

    Q. Why didn't I GPL or LGPL it?

    A. It's too restrictive a license for this source to be of any use. This code isn't curing
    cancer, it's somewhat antiquated, poorly written 2D RPG code.

    I assume if you're spending your blood sweat and tears working on a game, you will want to
    sell it at some point, and NOT be forced to release your code. At least that's how I would
    feel.


    Donations: If you find this source helpful in some way and use it in a product you are selling, you are
    gently asked to donate a couple bucks via codedojo.com. This cash will be used to maintain the site
    and hopefully inspire me to get off my duff and release more source.

    Also, if you could drop me a line letting me know what software you used it in so I can keep a list, that
    would be cool.

    -Seth A Robinson

    www.rtsoft.com
    www.codedojo.com


    ************************************************** ****************************************
    *****

    Dink Smallwood remains the property of RTsoft.

    Please keep in mind while I'm sharing the source, I am not sharing the media, if you would like to use or
    distribute the Dink Smallwood artwork, this requires express permission.
    Seth A. Robinson
    Robinson Technologies

  2. #2
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    Seth,

    first of all, thanks again for preparing the release of the Dink source code!


    I had a look at the license, and I'd like to give you some feedback on what I think about it-- I'm not a lawyer, though, so what I say may be inaccurate or even completely stupid.

    While it is written in a style that makes it very readable and polite, I'm having some trouble distinguishing comments, examples, recommendations and actually legally binding parts... I'll go into detail in individual parts below.


    > This software is provided "as is" without express or implied
    > warranties. You may freely copy and compile this source into
    > applications you distribute provided that the copyright text
    > below is included in the resulting source code, for example:
    > "Portions Copyright \x{00A9} Seth A. Robinson, 1997-2003
    >
    > You may use this source in personal and commercial products, you
    > are not required to release the source code.
    >
    > This is kind of like the zlib license but with some extra words
    > below to protect Dink itself from being exploited for profit.

    This part is very clear and very liberal.


    The following parts are, apparently, just comments (not a part of the license, more like stuff some people put into README files).

    > *** CLARIFICATIONS AND INFO ***
    [...]
    > *** HOW TO COMPILE AND TEST ***
    [...]
    > *** GETTING HELP ***
    [...]
    > *** ABOUT THE DINK SOURCE ***
    [...]


    The next part is the one I'm confused by. Some of the questions I'll ask below (particularly in places where many questions arise) may sound negative, possibly even a bit hostile if looked at from the wrong angle (I'm not a native English speaker and, thus, don't always get the more subtle meanings of certain words right). I assure you, they are not; they're meant as constructive criticism to the license.

    > *** PROTECTING THE DINK SMALLWOOD NAME AND MEDIA FROM BEING EXPLOITED ***
    >
    > If you want to fix bugs and release "Jeff's Dink.exe that works better", please do.

    Suggestion/Comment.

    > If you're updating the source for this purpose, please make it available as if it were GPL'd just so others
    > can work from it.

    A suggestion. I assume "as if it were GPL'd" means "including sources" here.

    > Also please distribute it SEPARATELY from the official Dink archive and make it
    > extra clear that RTsoft or myself did not release it.

    Is this only a suggestion (which is what it sounds like) or intended to be legally binding? If the latter, what does "separately" mean? Is it sufficient to put a note in the included documentation that the two are separate things? A pop-up screen during Dink startup? A notice on the source web page?
    What about distributors? Do they have to package modified/ported Dink executables separately (separate zip file or something like that) from the original Dink package? Does the original Dink package have to include the original Dink executable in that case? Is such a separation into two separate units of distribution ("as if they were two separate programs", or whatever that may mean) sufficient to make it "extra clear" that this was not released by RTsoft?

    > Do not somehow try to cash in on releasing a new Dink.exe like adding spyware and banner
    > advertising or CHARGING FOR IT.

    This looks legally binding, but what precisely does it mean? If I merely distribute (and do not release) a "Dink.exe like" (what is this? Is a re-write from scratch covered by this? Does it have to be able to run the original Dink? How about being able to run the original Dink only after the original data files have been slighly modified by some simple tool?) while "cashing in", is that disallowed, too? May I sell shareware/freeware CDs containing (among other things) Dink with, say, a Dink.exe replacement that makes Dink run on MacOS, may I still charge for the CDs? What, precisely, is spyware? Is it OK if I add banner ads and spyware but include sources so people can remove these? What if I create a new executable for a game of my own which still uses the Dink data format and thus, by accident, can still run the original Dink data/script files?

    > The original Dink team (myself, Justin Martin, Shawn Teal, Greg Smith)
    > should be credited in any such Dink engine enhancement and a link to www.rtsoft.com should be included.

    A suggestion, I think (and a very reasonable one, of course).


    > Do NOT use this source to release "Dink 2" or "SuperDink" or any kind of sequel to the original Dink
    > Smallwood.

    Legally binding, judging from the wording.

    > Releasing this source does not in any way release the rights to the Dink name or Dink media.

    A comment, I guess. If Dink Smallwood is a trademark of yours (is it?) it probably wouldn't have any legal effect but clarify issues.

    > non-profit improvements to the Dink engine are ok, as listed above,

    I assume you mean "the distribution of an engine based on this source code and running the original Dink data files and scripts, for non-profit reasons".
    The sentence continues in a way which makes this look legally binding:

    > otherwise, you need your own name,
    > story and artwork. (in which case you can charge for it and pretty much do what you want)

    So am I disallowed to sell a freeware CD-ROM if it includes a bug-fixed version of an executable which runs the original Dink? Even if the entire CD-ROM is available for free from an on-line source, too?

    > If you want to add multiplayer support, highcolor, etc, to Dink you may surely do so, but keep in mind
    > it must be free

    Free as in "Freeware", or free as in "Free software" (i.e., downloadable free of charge, or with source code available on request)?

    > and clearly labeled a "An enhancement to the original Dink Smallwood engine"

    This strict requirement makes it non-free software by most requirements. Does the label have to be in the source code, in accompanying documentation files, in run-time help/documentation, or printed during start-up?
    (Keep in mind that this requirement will be inherited by any projects that make use of the source code of any extension to the original Dink).

    > and
    > released as a separate add-on patch

    Can it be released as a stand-alone program if it includes a stand-alone D-Mod that does not make use of any information included in the original Dink distribution?

    > (which would probably overwrite the .exe, add some files and art,
    > possibly convert the map data and so forth) because no one can distribute the original media in a repacked form
    > without my permission.

    Comments only, I believe.

    > Q. Why didn't I GPL or LGPL it?
    [...]

    This, and the rest of the license, seem to be comments only. This answer to this particular question, however, I believe to be slighly wrong and will explain why I think so at the end of this posting.

    [...]
    > ************************************************** ****************************************

    > *****
    >
    > Dink Smallwood remains the property of RTsoft.

    Which parts? The name, the artwork and scripts, the interpreter binary executable, the interpreter sources?

    > Please keep in mind while I'm sharing the source, I am not sharing the media, if you would like to use or
    > distribute the Dink Smallwood artwork, this requires express permission.

    Hmm... but it is available as freeware (along with the rest of Dink) from your homepage at the moment. From the above, I got the impression that you merely wanted to disallow the distribution of the media if it has been re-packaged in any way.



    The problem with the legally binding / not legally binding part is, however, that I'm not sure as to whether "you should not..." really is just a suggestion, or happens to be legally binding, too. Clarifying that for the entire document would probably clear it up a little.

    It seems to me that you're essentially trying to license the game in two separate ways-- once for extensions to the original Dink (porting to new platforms, adding new features etc.), which you intend to require to keep strictly non-profit, and once for re-using parts of the source for distinct projects which do not intend to be compatible with the original Dink data format, which you intend to keep under something like the non-advertising BSD license ("Do what you want with it, but don't blame me if it blows up"),
    with the restriction that it must not be able to act as a drop-in replacement for the original Dink executable.

    Did I get that right?


    And now, before I finish, some comments on the GPL and games:
    The (L)GPL does not, as many people seem to think, forbid people to sell their programs. It merely requires them to make the sources of the program available upon request (under terms which, for all practical purposes, mean "for free and without restriction"). The idea here is that the source code used in software can be used by others, while guaranteeing that, if someone extends an existing program, re-packages it, and distributes the resulting, improved version, that the original author is guaranteed to be able to use all of the improvements the other guy added and to improve upon them, in turn.

    Essentially, these requirements mean that people have to publically release the source code to their programs as soon as they distribute them. This does, however, not prevent anyone from making money with a GPL'd program. As you yourself have done, they can treat the underlying program and the data accompanying it as separate entities; as the source code is (mostly) useless without the data files, people will still have to buy the game to (legally) be able to own and run it, but they can still enjoy all the benefits of being able to access the source code, e.g. port it to their favourite computing platform, change the default keyboard and savegame directory layout, or whatever else comes to mind.

    This approach has been used, for example, by ID software, who have published Wolfenstein 3D, Doom 1&2, Quake and Quake 2 under the terms of the GNU GPL, while still requiring that people buy their original WAD/pkg files as part of the commercial Doom/Quake packages.


    Thanks,

    -- Christoph

  3. #3

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    The Dink Smallwood original package licence seems to be important, so
    I post it here

    SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

           THIS COMPUTER PROGRAM IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW AND
    INTERNATIONAL TREATIES.  UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION OR
    DISTRIBUTION OF THIS PROGRAM, OR ANY PORTION OF IT, MAY RESULT
    IN SEVERE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES, AND WILL BE PROSECUTED
    TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE UNDER THE LAW.

           This Software License Agreement (the "Agreement") is a legal
           agreement between you, the end-user, and RTsoft, Inc.,
           ("RTsoft").  By continuing the installation of this game
           program entitled DINK SMALLWOOD™, by loading or running the
           game program, or by placing or copying the game program onto
           your computer hard drive, computer RAM or other storage, you
           are agreeing to be bound by the terms of this Agreement.

           Dink Smallwood is now freeware but RTsoft still owns Dink and
           all materials within, including but not limited to Graphics,
           Sounds and concepts. (you may NOT use any of dink's original
           graphics and sounds in any project that you charge for without
           prior permission from RTsoft Inc.. except for DMODs (Dink
           Modules that require the Dink engine to run), in which case
           you can charge what you wish.  )

           Dink may not be repackaged in any way.  You may distribute it
           in its unmodified form freely as long as no fee is charged.

           RTsoft shall not be held accountable for any negetive effects
           Dink may have on your system, we believe it is bug free but
           this is impossible to guarantee. You use this software at your
           own risk.

           Please contact sethable@rtsoft.com if you have any questions
           about this license.

    The main points are the different possible uses of the media (dmods,
    freeware RPG and other works), and the fact that Dink cannot be
    repackaged.

    I agree with Christoph Reichenbach on the point that the licence
    should not confuse proprietary and commercial works. If some people
    decide to sell a CD with their free software work on it, so as to
    raise funds for development/website, this is commercial, but not
    proprietary, and should be encouraged IMHO. The main difference with
    proprietary is that such a CD can be freely shared and copied.

  4. #4
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    *sigh*
    I doubt if I can ever understand these license agreements... I mean, they are always like 3 meters long, when you could just say "YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO USE THIS PRODUCT ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, FOR ANY PURPOSE, unless you ask me for the permission first."

    See ?

    Simple and fast.

  5. #5

    Default

    There is a bug!
    Imagine you compile a Dink CD with your dmods in it, and sell it. If dmod authors used that licence, you would have to ask to 20-30 people at least, including some who are not reachable by any mean (Quest for Dorinthia series' author, for example).

    The problem is worse in GNU/Linux distributions, with thousands of packages from even more authors and contributors

    Last but not least, have pity of Seth's mailbox

  6. #6
    Administrator Seth's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Christopher and all, thanks for the comments.

    First of all, about the LGPL, yes I know you can charge for a game made with something using it, the problem is you have to release the source to the entire module that it's in, so unless you can dump it off cleanly into a .DLL type of thing, such as  Cal3D or a sound library, you're stuck with legally needing to dump the source for your whole .EXE.  That's no fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Is this only a suggestion (which is what it sounds like) or intended to be legally binding? If the latter, what does "separately" mean? Is it sufficient to put a note in the included documentation that the two are separate things? A pop-up screen during Dink startup? A notice on the source web page?
    What about distributors? Do they have to package modified/ported Dink executables separately (separate zip file or something like that) from the original Dink package?
    Yes, that's all correct.  No one can repackage the artwork, so dink_smallwood_106.exe will still have to be installed separately.  I think this alone pretty much enforces the rest.

    As for credit, it's not really an exact science, my name rotating in 3d for a few minutes or a tiny mention in a readme.txt barely noticable is fine.

    I think it's clear that releasing source code DOESN'T mean suddenly RTsoft decided to let go of all ownership and copyrights of the Dink graphics, name, music and such, so really, the words about that are just to remind people.

    As for being compatible with the Dink format, I don't think that's an issue.  If someone really thinks they could be successfully saying "download dink_smallwood_106.exe" install, then install our own game, which will hijack the Dink dir to use graphics, then pay us for the great game that insues" let them go for it.

    It's not illegal to read someone elses data format, but as long as they following distribution rules with the artwork I highly doubt that would be a problem.  In fact, I've provided the file structures to Dink to anyone who has asked before now.  The source probably has little more than that.

    Another way to think of it, is if you made a giant DMOD, (which you can sell, according to the original Dink license) but actually included your own .EXE with it too.  This would be legal.   That's pretty much the same thing as the hijacking example, and there really isn't anything wrong with doing that.

    What I kind of planned to do is wait, and if at some point, it's pretty obvious there is a "best" fixed up Dink .EXE, I'll give that group permission to repack the entire game with it, just to make it easier for downloaders.

    The coments in the license are pretty weird, but I think it will be fine.
    Seth A. Robinson
    Robinson Technologies

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    Before I start, I'd like to give a short explanation of what I'd personally like the license to allow (and I believe that this is something that is quite compatible to your aims):
    (a) I would like for Dink to be ported to other platforms.
    (b) I would like to allow distributors of software for certain platforms, particularly the non-profit Fink and Debian projects, to include Dink in their distribution (possibly as "non-free" software).
    © I would like Dink to be easily and conveniently installable on these platforms. As an example, I would like to allow people to type in "apt-get install dink" and have the latest version of the Dink port to their particular platform installed along with the official (freeware) Dink datafiles.

    I hope this explains why I'd like to see some of the licensing issues clarified.


    > > > Also please distribute it SEPARATELY from the official Dink archive and make it
    > > > extra clear that RTsoft or myself did not release it.
    > >
    > > Is this only a suggestion (which is what it sounds like) or intended to
    > > be legally binding? If the latter, what does "separately" mean? Is it
    > > sufficient to put a note in the included documentation that the two are
    > > separate things? A pop-up screen during Dink startup? A notice on the
    > > source web page?
    > > What about distributors? Do they have to package modified/ported Dink
    > > executables separately (separate zip file or something like that) from
    > > the original Dink package?
    >
    > Yes, that's all correct. No one can repackage the artwork, so
    > dink_smallwood_106.exe will still have to be installed separately. I
    > think this alone pretty much enforces the rest.

    I see three problems with this, two with the way it's written down right now and one practical problem with the idea:

    (a) "...please distribute it..." does not sound very legally binding. I'd suggest that you write "You must distribute it...".

    (b) It is not clear from the formulation above what "SEPARATELY" means. "SEPARATELY" could also be interpreted as "in physically separate packages", meaning that freeware CD-ROM distributors would have to require people to buy two separate CDs, one with the original Dink and one with the modified version.

    I'd suggest re-phrasing the entire sentence to something like:

    "This license does not grant you permission to distribute modified versions of the official Dink Smallwood archive. Furthermore, you must not include the official Dink Smallwood archive in any distribution of a program based on this source code, except when packaged separately in such a way that any user is able to access or install all information in the original Dink Smallwood archive without accessing or installing a program based on this source code.
    Any program including any parts of this source code must announce, either during program execution or in the accompanying documentation, that the program was not released by RTsoft or Seth Able, or note the name of the legal entity releasing it in such a way that it is evident that it was not released by RTsoft or Seth Able."

    It's still a little complicated and nowhere near being perfect, but I believe it clears up at least a few issues. Note that this license allows people to stick the Dink archive into a package which includes unrelated source code; the motivation for this is to allow the construction of custom installation scripts.

    Anyway, another problem is
    © Apparently, the official Dink distribution is a binary Win32 executable (I didn't know that). This is a serious problems for porting efforts, as it may not be re-packaged; essentially, anyone who wants to install a Dink port for their favourite platform will have to get access to a Win32 machine first, install Dink there, re-package it for his own private use and then transfer it, which is sort of a problem if you don't have a Win32 machine at all. This is a little orthogonal to the licensing issues, but would you be willing to publish another official distribution of Dink Smallwood as a zip file containing the official data files and executables? There are free decompression programs for zip files for all multi-user operating systems I'm aware of.


    > > > The original Dink team (myself, Justin Martin, Shawn Teal, Greg Smith)
    > > > should be credited in any such Dink engine enhancement and a link to www.rtsoft.com should be included.
    > >
    > > A suggestion, I think (and a very reasonable one, of course).
    >
    > As for credit, it's not really an exact science, my name rotating in 3d
    > for a few minutes or a tiny mention in a readme.txt barely noticable is fine.

    How about
    "For any program based on this source code, you must credit the original Dink team (Seth Able, Justin Martin, Shawn Teal, Greg Smith) either during execution of such a program or in its accompanying documentation, and provide a link to or mention of the URL http://www.rtsoft.com."

    > I think it's clear that releasing source code DOESN'T mean suddenly RTsoft
    > decided to let go of all ownership and copyrights of the Dink graphics, name,
    > music and such, so really, the words about that are just to remind people.

    Yes, and I think it makes perfect sense (for practical reasons) to include these comments.

    > As for being compatible with the Dink format, I don't think that's an issue.
    > If someone really thinks they could be successfully saying
    > "download dink_smallwood_106.exe" install, then install our own game, which
    > will hijack the Dink dir to use graphics, then pay us for the great game that
    > insues" let them go for it.

    > It's not illegal to read someone elses data format,

    It can be, at least in the United States, if the data format is protected by some mechanism (I'm not certain how well this has been defined). This is the essence of the so-called Digital Millenium Copyright Act, if I'm not mistaken.

    [...]

    > Another way to think of it, is if you made a giant DMOD, (which you can sell,
    > according to the original Dink license) but actually included your own .EXE
    > with it too. This would be legal. That's pretty much the same thing as the
    > hijacking example, and there really isn't anything wrong with doing that.

    I mis-interpreted the part about "making an enhancement to Dink" earlier. You're probably referring to the game "Dink Smallwood" there, not to the "Dink" interpreter. It might be useful to have separate names for these in the license, so that the part

    > > > If you want to add multiplayer support, highcolor, etc, to Dink you may surely do so [...]

    isn't misunderstood as restricting changes to the game engine. The next part still needs clarification, though:

    > > > it must be free and clearly labeled a "An enhancement to the original Dink Smallwood engine" and

    What needs to be free and clearly labeled? And what do you mean by "labeled" here?

    How about:
    "Any program based on this source code must either remove capabilities to interpret the original game 'Dink Smallwood™' or print out during program execution or include in the accompanying documentation the phrase 'An enhancement to the original Dink Smallwood engine'".

    [...]

    > The coments in the license are pretty weird, but I think it will be fine.

    My issue with them is that it seems unclear whether the "should" phrases are intended to be binding or not. I'm pretty sure that the Debian guys wouldn't consider distributing Dink with this license, as they would risk being sued for doing that.


    There are some parts which I believe still need further clarification, so I'll continue discussing them:


    > > Do not somehow try to cash in on releasing a new Dink.exe like adding spyware and banner
    > > advertising or CHARGING FOR IT.
    >
    > This looks legally binding, but what precisely does it mean? If I merely distribute (and
    > do not release) a "Dink.exe like" (what is this? Is a re-write from scratch covered by
    > this? Does it have to be able to run the original Dink? How about being able to run the
    > original Dink only after the original data files have been slighly modified by some simple
    > tool?) while "cashing in", is that disallowed, too? May I sell shareware/freeware CDs
    > containing (among other things) Dink with, say, a Dink.exe replacement that makes Dink run
    > on MacOS, may I still charge for the CDs? What, precisely, is spyware? Is it OK if I add
    > banner ads and spyware but include sources so people can remove these? What if I create
    > a new executable for a game of my own which still uses the Dink data format and thus,
    > by accident, can still run the original Dink data/script files?

    I think I mis-interpreted the 'like' part above. I'd suggest re-phrasing it

    "Any release (as opposed to distribution) of a binary executable based on this source code must either not consist of or not include an executable program with a file name of 'Dink.exe', or not include program mechanisms which, at run-time, may give any financial benefit to anyone other than the person owning the computer the program is being run on."

    This sounds a little odd, but seems to capture the essence of the above, at least according to my understanding.


    > > Do NOT use this source to release "Dink 2" or "SuperDink" or any kind of sequel to the original Dink
    > > Smallwood.
    >
    > Legally binding, judging from the wording.

    Since "Dink 2" or "SuperDink" aren't defined anywhere, I'd re-phrase this to say "games called "Dink 2" or "SuperDink".

    > > non-profit improvements to the Dink engine are ok, as listed above,
    >
    > I assume you mean "the distribution of an engine based on this source
    > code and running the original Dink data files and scripts, for non-profit reasons".

    I believe that this really rules out any distribution of Dink ports to other platforms in any form other than direct downloading from the web, as distributors would not be able to charge for CD-ROMs which include the Dink port (assuming that you mean "non-profit distribution of programs based on this source code", as I don't think that you wan to disallow "for-profit improvements", i.e. having someone pay someone else to improve the Dink source code).


    The following should probably still be clarified:

    > > otherwise, you need your own name,
    > > story and artwork. (in which case you can charge for it and pretty much do what you want)
    >
    > So am I disallowed to sell a freeware CD-ROM if it includes a bug-fixed version of an executable
    > which runs the original Dink? Even if the entire CD-ROM is available for free from an on-line source,
    > too?


    > > If you want to add multiplayer support, highcolor, etc, to Dink you may surely do so, but keep in mind
    > > it must be free
    >
    > Free as in "Freeware", or free as in "Free software" (i.e., downloadable free of charge, or with source
    > code available on request)?


    I'm afraid that I've put about as much time into this discussion as I can afford already. I'll try to see if I can get one of the Debian guys to help out here instead.


    And a final note:
    Personally, I don't see what's wrong with "having to" publish the sources to your entire binary executable (how else would people be able to make use of it and, in particular, port it to other platforms?), but I'll admit that this is a matter of philosopy.
    Another approach people have taken, by the way, is to dual-license programs, i.e. to allow users their choice of one of two licenses; usually, they had one for free software development and one for commercial use. For example, you could release your source code either under the terms of the license above or under the terms of the GNU GPL, at the option of the person downloading it. People picking the former would be able not to distribute the source code to programs they release, under some restrictions, whereas people using the latter would be required to release the sources to all extensions and changes they distribute binary programs for (of course, it wouldn't be a "per-person", but, rather, a "per code base" distinction).

    This should guarantee that no one would be able to "cash in" on proprietary extensions to the Dink interpreter while, at the same time, allowing people who are only interested in porting Dink and extending the engine for D-Mod usage in a non-proprietary way to do so without having to worry about distribution or accidently violating the licensing terms.


    Thanks for your time,

    -- Christoph

  8. #8

    Default

    I find the idea of double licencing very interesting: how about registering a trademark for Dink Smallwood, releasing a whole renamed game package under the GPL, and double licencing (GPL + BSD) the engine itself?

    I would:
    - make use of well-known, proven licences,
    - prevent people from using the Dink Smallwood name,
    - make people cite RTsoft as the original author and make clear that their version is a modified one (GPL and BSD requirements),
    - allow people to use the engine code for proprietary software but prevent them from using the media,
    - allow people to publish an improved/bug fixed/ported/rpm&deb version of the Dink game, renamed as previously mentionned not to confuse it from the original freeware package, and with the source.
    - and be expressed in a simple and concise way.

    BSD: http://www.xfree86.org/3.3.6/COPYRIGHT2.html#5
    GPL: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

  9. #9
    Administrator Seth's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    I don't think Dink can be legally GPL'ed, as some of the included source isn't technically mine or in a compatible license. (Microsoft's fastfile.c for instance)

    I'll go through my license again and try to simply it though.
    Seth A. Robinson
    Robinson Technologies

  10. #10

    Default

    ffcreate is already available through WinDinkedit, and fastfile can be quickly recreated, but anyway

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