Should SNES9x change its license to GPL? NOT HAPPENING :(

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Do you feel SNES9x should move to GPL instead of its current license?

Yes, I approve of using the GPL
7
78%
No, the current license is better for SNES9x
1
11%
No, SNES9x should move to a different license that isn't the GPL
0
No votes
I don't care one way or the other as long as it lives
1
11%
 
Total votes: 9

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SparroHawc
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Should SNES9x change its license to GPL? NOT HAPPENING :(

Post by SparroHawc » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:56 pm

--EDIT--

Idea shot down. Thanks for everyone's time and consideration though!
badinsults wrote:I chatted with Kendora last night, he is not going to consent to it. He has said this many times in statements in the past, even when he was the primary coder of SNES9x.

Let's face it, making SNES9x GPL is not going to happen.
Original post below:

------

If SNES9x became GPL, that would allow such things as:
  • Including sections of code from other GPL projects
    Eliminating the need to contact all of the previous developers to get permission for something that may fall under the 'commercial use' umbrella
    A well-understood license that has held up multiple times in courts of law
    Requiring access to any adjustments to the source code anyone makes ever
However, this also means:
  • Companies may include SNES9x in whatever projects they want to
    People can charge for a copy of SNES9x (such as Yong's Android port) and hence make money off of the dev team's hard work
    If SNES9x is used elsewhere, there is no requirement to give recognition to the dev team
Last edited by SparroHawc on Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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SparroHawc
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Post by SparroHawc » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:18 pm

In case it wasn't obvious enough from the fact that I posted this poll, I support switching to GPL. It's not a perfect solution, but I went and jumped in the deep end when I tried to sort out things with the Android port that Yong Zhang made and put up on the Android Market and as far as I can see this is a pretty good solution.

My main fear, with keeping the license as it is, is that SNES9x will stagnate. It costs money to put up software on the Android Market, and it costs even more to put it up on the iTunes marketplace. If not for the lure of potential money, it might have been a very long time for any port to show up on the Android Marketplace (and there still isn't one for the iPhone/iPad/iWhatever).

Also, there's a lot of code available out there that's licensed under the GPL - utilities, libraries, all sorts of things, that can't be incorporated into SNES9x because of the licensing conflicts.

The current license is difficult to enforce. This has been proven quite pointedly with Yong, who e-mailed Gary Henderson for permission but not any of the other developers. I tried to get a hold of them; it's absurdly difficult. Their e-mail addresses have changed, most of them have next to no presence in the internet at large, and without being able to contact them, there's no real legitimate way to do a lot of things - which also results in people taking advantage of this and doing whatever they want, as long as they aren't caught. Even if they are caught, who's going to press the issue? Since the license is so dependent on being able to contact the authors, would anyone press charges without the go-ahead of all of them? Suffice it to say, this does not benefit the project.

On the other hand, the GPL is enforceable. There's a big organization devoted to this, the Free Software Foundation.

I would also like to raise the argument that opening up SNES9x to commercial use is beneficial to the project as a whole. A lot of people have devoted large amounts of free time to improving the emulator, but let's face it - money is a prime motivating force in this world. And if someone, like - say - a company that wants to release some shovelware makes some improvements to the code and sells their old SNES game on the market, it is required that this company release the source code to the public. If the changes are genuine improvements to the program, they can then be folded into the main SNES9x. Especially if it's a port to an entirely new system. The company has no legal requirement to recognize the SNES9x team, but hey - there's nothing keeping the webpage for SNES9x from saying 'We're what makes <insert port> tick! Aren't we awesome?'

Take a look at DosBox for a good example of this. A lot of old PC games are being sold on GoG.com and through Steam that run on DosBox. You wouldn't know it unless you either 1) look at the binaries or 2) go to the DosBox website, but they're happy to be the engine behind most of the old games being sold for the PC these days.

I probably have some more reasons I could throw at everyone, but this post is long enough as it is and I'm starting to lose my train of thought.

In conclusion though, if you all agree that this is a good direction to take things, I'll make the extra effort to track down each of the old devs and try to get their stamp of approval as well so we can make it happen.

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Post by Camo_Yoshi » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:46 am

I don't see why not.

Though personally I would prefer the WTFPL. But that's just me. XD
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Post by badinsults » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:59 am

I think the main issue is that some of the past SNES9x authors (ie Matthew Kendora) would not consent to a move to GPL.

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Post by zones » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:44 pm

If you want to change Snes9x's license, you have to ask all the past and active developers who wrote codes for Snes9x, but it's nearly impossible.

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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:53 pm

zones wrote:If you want to change Snes9x's license, you have to ask all the past and active developers who wrote codes for Snes9x, but it's nearly impossible.
Nearly, but (probably) not impossible. As mentioned, I'd be willing to go to some lengths to see it through if it's what the team wants.

And I'm hoping I can talk Matthew into it.

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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:18 pm

Camo_Yoshi wrote:Though personally I would prefer the WTFPL. But that's just me. XD
The only problem I have with the WTFPL in this instance is that several of the developers take issue with others profiting off of their work without some sort of compensation. The GPL seems like a good compromise to me in that it forces anyone who modifies the code for their own gain to give compensation - i.e. the changed source code.

I do like the WTFPL though, you're right. :)

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Post by adventure_of_link » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:55 pm

One dev that's going to be impossible to get a hold of is zsKnight. Ever since his dad died, he's been gone; he did publically announce that when he left. However, he DID contribute to the Cx4 emulation and probably several other things in snes9x.

Overload might also be another toughie to get a hold of as well. Same for anomie.

other than that, if snes9x goes GPL, what about the older versions of snes9x? would they be GPL or would they be "grandfathered into" the older license?
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Post by zidanax » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:56 pm

You might be able to get a hold of Anomie through Wikipedia. Seems that he's pretty active over there: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ser:Anomie

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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:08 pm

adventure_of_link wrote:if snes9x goes GPL, what about the older versions of snes9x? would they be GPL or would they be "grandfathered into" the older license?
Given permission by the copyright holders, we could 're-release' the old versions by changing the licenses in the source code; barring that, only the new releases would be under GPL. Legally, the old versions have been released under the old license and that wouldn't change simply by getting permission.

As for zsKnight (and potentially others) we may be able to count that as relinquishing interest in the copyright of the works, and if due diligence doesn't coax them out of hiding, it's a pretty good bet that they won't seek to enforce it.

That being said, I fully intend to move mountains if necessary to get their blessing. One thing I really don't want to be is This Guy Who Comes In And Screws With Our Hard Work. :P

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Post by zones » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:24 pm

SparroHawc wrote:we may be able to count that as relinquishing interest in the copyright of the works
No. I remember some of them rejected GPL.

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Post by adventure_of_link » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:33 pm

zones wrote:
SparroHawc wrote:we may be able to count that as relinquishing interest in the copyright of the works
No. I remember some of them rejected GPL.
Crap... isn't there ANY other way we can beef up the Snes9X license? :? like Sparro said, the current one really isn't that enforceable and locks out certain official means to distribute some ports (via Android marketplace and the Apple app store for example).

EDIT: wait a second... can't devs distribute their software for free on the App store and also the Android marketplace? :?
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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:42 pm

zones wrote:
SparroHawc wrote:we may be able to count that as relinquishing interest in the copyright of the works
No. I remember some of them rejected GPL.
Crap. Can you remember who specifically? That's going to make life interesting.

A_o_L: Yes, it is possible to distribute on the Android Market and iTunes App Store for free - but it still costs money to whoever is posting the app. It costs $25 for the Android Market and $100 for iTunes (which is why apps on iTunes are almost entirely paid or ad-supported).

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Post by badinsults » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:10 am

SparroHawc wrote:
zones wrote:If you want to change Snes9x's license, you have to ask all the past and active developers who wrote codes for Snes9x, but it's nearly impossible.
Nearly, but (probably) not impossible. As mentioned, I'd be willing to go to some lengths to see it through if it's what the team wants.

And I'm hoping I can talk Matthew into it.
I chatted with Kendora last night, he is not going to consent to it. He has said this many times in statements in the past, even when he was the primary coder of SNES9x.

Let's face it, making SNES9x GPL is not going to happen.

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Post by SparroHawc » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:23 am

Point taken. I'm going to close the poll.

Thanks.

--edit--

I'm going to ask Yong if we can fold his framework into an official SNES9x port, regardless. That'll satisfy this particular itch, at least.

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Post by Overload » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:34 am

I got your email, just checked my inbox now. Neither Gary or anybody by the name of Yong Zhang has been in contact with me.
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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:17 pm

Overload wrote:I got your email, just checked my inbox now. Neither Gary or anybody by the name of Yong Zhang has been in contact with me.
Yeah, as it turns out he only got a hold of Gary, who provided one of the 96 or 97 builds - which Yong didn't use. It's a mess. :/

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Post by Nach » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:09 am

Despite what we want, Snes9x is already being distributed as LGPL and GPLv2.
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Post by Nach » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:57 pm

May 9 2007 - NSRT 3.4, now with lots of hashing and even more accurate information! Go download it.
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Post by SparroHawc » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:10 am

At least SNES9x-rr states right on the front page that SNES9x itself has a different license. I think the license listing on the left pane of Google Code's page is listed as GPL primarily out of ignorance. The authors are likely intending to release -their- contributions as GPL or LGPL... but by including SNES9x's source code, yeah, they're failing on the legal grounds.

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