Development

The hypocrisy of the free software movement

This is kind of a follow up to my previous blog: "Why I don't use the GPL-license" since I realized the problem is much bigger than just the question what license to use, the problem expands to the whole open source movement.

Let's go back to the beginning, at least my beginning, what lead me to open-source. My first encounter with computers were games and I did not care about the license, since it did not matter, you would just consume them. But later when more complex games were released like 3D-shooters, especially those that came with level editors, I became interested in creating my own content for the games, which quickly became more interesting than the game itself. After some time of doing this however I realized the restrictions of proprietary software, since you needed to buy a license for a game you wanted to create content for and then your options to create content for it and modify it were still very limited and after some time the game was outdated technically and nobody used it anymore. So to make it short, my only criteria for the software was, "Can I use it freely or not?" and the answer was of course I cannot. So my motivatoin was purely practice oriented and no question about ethics and politics etc. Since there was no option to use a game engine freely at that time, I gave up on my hobby for quite a while.

I still observed the scene from time to time, to see if something has changed and at that time there were a few GPL projects, but they were not good enough for me, not because of the license, but because of the inferior quality of the software, so I ditched that option as well. Then later finally I found a good option and got into game development and became more interested in open source software, mostly out of practical reasons, only later out of ideological reasons as well. At that time I also encountered the free software movement, but did not notice it that much, I just thought they are the same as the open-source movement, just more radical being for even more freedom and more ethics. So when I was developing my game, I came in contact with them and I thought some of those people would be interested in helping me, but never found anyone seriously wanting to contribute anything productive, like doing real work. What I found however was people starting to harass me that what I'm doing is not right,not good enough, the wrong license and so on. I also had people that said "I will only contribute, if you make your game GPL only, because GPL is so much better and will get other GPL-fans to contribute as well". Later I realized that something was wrong here and those people did not really intend to contribute anything productive to begin with. They just wanted to convert me to their ideology, to then run away and those other people I supposedly would gain to help me, if I would do so, did not exist to begin with. This was my first encounter with the hypocrisy of the free software movement.

When there is a movement for a good cause, the cause should be the priority, not the politics of the movement, but this is what is the case with the free software movement. The free software movement does not care about developing more and better free software, they only care to convert people into their movement and compel them to GPL their software projects which effectively steals them and makes them owned by the movement. They are like the Borg, only assimilate, never create. This can be proven by looking at their fruits, which are mostly nonexistent, since the number of new free software game projects created by them has dropped pretty close to the number 0 around the year 2011 and did not recover in the last 7 years and most likely never will recover to eternity.

The free software movement is hard to see through, since the issues they talk about are all correct, like evil big companies use evil lawyers to forcefully enslave everyone to their evil restrictive copyright licenses. The problem however starts with their "solution" to solve that issue and that is to create another evil big "non-profit" company, to use non-evil evil lawyers to forcefully enslave everyone to their "freedom" non-evil evil restrictive copyright GPL-licenses. This is all completely hypocritical, they are complaining about something and then using the exact same methods than their enemies, but when they use those methods, they are somehow good, while the same methods are evil when used by their enemies.

A copyright license grants the creator of a thing all the rights, thats why it is called copyright, the creator has all the rights, but a copyleft licenses tries to grant the user all the rights and take the creation from the creator, aka stealing it. This is communist ideology, steal from the productive and give to the unproductive and to do that they need to strengthen the goverment, which creates another evil oppressor in the world, which is then supposed to remove some other evil oppressors like evil big companies. This may even work, you can indeed get rid of the evil companies enslaving people through that, but while doing so, you just take away the power from one oppressor and give it to another.

This then creates 3 new big problems:

1. The new oppressor is much stronger

2. The new oppressor now has a monopoly, making him exponentially stronger and more oppressive

3. You destroyed the only productive class, so nothing gets produced anymore and everyone will live in poverty, like it is the case in all communist systems.

 

Well this turned into a quite general political article and I thought I can get away from politics by indulging into escapism in the form of video games, looks I was wrong. Initially it was just about personal license preference, but now I can only recommend everyone to stay away from those leftists and their insane ideologies as far as possible, or they will try to destroy your hobby as well.

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Why I don't use the GPL-license

First when I got into game design I did not bother that much about licenses, I thought open source is open source. Torque3D was MIT-license, which is a liberal license, so I thought, well good for me that the license is so liberal and I just kept it as it is.

Then I had GPL enthusiasts trying to compel me to change my project to GPL license, since GPL was supposedly much better and more "free", since it would ensure the project staying open source and nobody could "steal" from it without giving his changes back and it would also motivate other people from the GPL enthusiasts camp to contribute to my project.

So I began to look more deeply into the license issue and the benefits and drawbacks of the different licenses, since I don't want to act emotional wihtout doing proper research first. After some deeper investigation I not only found that the GPL-guys arguments were wrong, but that the truth was more like the exact opposite. Now let us break down the arguments for the GPL one by one:

 

Argument 1: GPL is supposedly more free, since it is copyleft license, which forces through a license agreement which is the GPL itself everyone to keep the project free and give away all their contributions to the program also for free.

Counter argument: This in itself is already a pretty big contradiction, since freedom is absence of force, but the GPL tries to force people to be more free, which is illogical and impossible. Freedom can only happen voluntarily, which requires a choice, which does not exist in the copyleft case and also does not exist in the copyright case, it is like two sides of the same coin. Copyright only allows people with the copyright to use the software and copyleft only allows people who agree with the copyleft to use the software.

 

Argument 2: GPL ensures the software to stay open source and ensures that everyone who uses it will contribute the changes back under the GPL, which results in a viral grownth of the software as well as users and contributors.

Counter argument: Yes GPL may ensure the software to stay open source through its very strict license terms regarding that, at least in theory, in practice it requires lots of legal battles and it is yet to be proven how good these license terms hold up in court. Regarding ensuring the grownth of the projects by forcing contributions back into the project under the same license, it has pretty much the exact opposite effect, since the big majority of potential contributors do not agree with the GPL and therefore will not contribute anything. Those people not agreeing to the license terms will either:

a) Not use the software at all and probably use a competitors product

b) Steal it, ignore the license terms and hope nobody finds out

c) Write their own code from scratch

All those options are pretty counterproductive, the GPL says you either have to agree 100% with it and stick to it forever or chose one of those very stupid solutions listed above, there is no middle ground.

 

Argument 3: You can still make money with GPL software.

Counter argument: Yes theoretically you can charge money for GPL software, but practically this is almost impossible as there is no mechanism that obligates users to pay anything and there never can be as defined by the license terms. So for money making with the GPL you are left with hoping that someone voluntarily subsidizes you or just begging for money, but begging for money works for everyone and does not require do be productive at all, so you would probably just be better off with spending your time begging and not wasting time with being productive.

 

So to sum it up what will happen, if you put your project under the GPL license is:

1. Your program will be less free

2. Your project will most likely die

3. You will most likely ruin yourself financially

4. As a bonus you will likely attract lots of incompetent weirdos into your project from that certain community and at the same time chase away skilled contributors.

5. You most likely cannot revert that downfall, since once GPL always GPL, yes you can change the license of your own work, but as soon as your project is infected with other peoples GPL code, it becomes close to impossible to convince the GPL fanatics to change their code license as well.

 

Yes there may be a few exceptions where the GPL model works, since for the end user it is quite beneficial to have a free product, but the developers have to be fully subsidized by some large companies or the goverment or be stupid enough to work for free (like me), but for developers the GPL is probably one of the most effective methods ever invented to send your project into the eternal development hell, but at least you will have good company, as the development hell is already full of many dead nonexistant open source projects, with many nonexistant open source developers.

 

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My experiences with the nonexistent open-source game development community

Hello Internet, over all those years of being into open-source game development I just have to tell someone my experiences with that.

Let's just start with the biggest problem right ahead and the biggest problem with the nonexistent open-source game development community is its nonexistentness and the biggest problem with nonexistent things is, that they don't exist.

On a second look I think, it could also have been my fault to assume the nonexistent open-source game development community exists to begin with. To my defense I have to say that there was quite some evidence that the nonexistent open-source game development community exists, like many seeminlgy existing games being developed as well as websites dedicated to that and of course many people seemingly developing open-source games. However now after almost 6 years of being into game development, I can pretty safely say to have never met a serious active open-source game developer. Before people now go nitpicking on my definition of what is serious and what is active, I want to try to give an easy explanation for that, serious means that someone seriously tries to accomplish anything and active means, that he is currently actively trying to seriously accomplish anything, or even easier explanation it has to be an existing open-source game developer, since only an existing open-source game developer can develop existing open-source games, while a nonexistent open-source game developer can only develop nonexistent open-source games.

Sadly there exist many nonexistent open-source game developers, who develop even more nonexistent open-source games, which may give the impression to outsiders, that they are actively existent open-source game developers, but as an insider you will quickly find out that they do not exist. How I'm so certain, they do not exist? Well I never met them, it is that simply. One could argue, that I have not searched enough and I may meet one some day, but I have to say I searched very well and found many regular game developers and I'm able to interact with them almost daily and talk about real existing game development, so even if the open-source game developers exist, they must be of such small quantity, that they are basically nonexistent.

My views may sound a bit radical and of course it was a bit exaggerated, in reality there are of course exceptions. I indeed did meet some existent open-source game developers from time to time, but as said they were of very small quantity and not very active overall and most of them quickly abandoned their (mostly nonexistent) game projects. So yes there may be small exceptions, but generally I think I'm correct with my conclusions.

I also do not think I was delusional when starting doing open-source game development, since I started it, since there was nobody doing an up to date 3D shooter that is not a ripoff of Quake over and over again. So the main reason I got into existent open-source game development was, that at least as I thought in my niche open-source game development was nonexistent, but later it turned out I was wrong with my assumptions, since not only did open-source game development not exist in my niche, but it did not seem to exist in total.

Somewhere inbetween those experiences I also joined some communities of nonexistent open-source game developers developing nonexistent open-source games, but they quickly censored and banned me for doing real existent open-source game development, they were probably just scared since real existent projects are superior to nonexistent projects which cannot prevail against existent projects, but that is another story.

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