Proposed Project: GOLD - Gaming on Linux Distribution

49 replies [Last post]
strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

TL;DR A fully functional replacement for SteamOS on Steam Machines

If a gamer buys a Steam Machine and wants to use it in full freedom, what advice can we currently give them? Uninstall Steam and any other proprietary bits in SteamOS, leaving them with a weirdo Debian system. Or format and install an existing libre distro like Trisquel. This doesn't provide the console-like UX (User eXperience) of SteamOS and I think we can do better. The vision for GOLD is to provide that UX, in the form of a gaming-orientated GNU/Linux distro that meets the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines. One possible approach could be to investigate Lakka to see what components would need to be removed to meet the GNU FSDG:
http://www.lakka.tv/

My understanding of SteamOS is that it aims to work like a console, providing a large, simple GUI that can be seen and used easily from the couch, with a wireless controller (mouse and keyboard, or game controllers). Steam serves as this GUI. There is a standard Debian desktop as a fallback, in a similar way to how CTRL-ALT-F1 terminals exist as a fallback on most GNU/Linux desktop environments. But a desktop environment designed for sitting in front of a desktop or laptop doing work does not provide the same UX, so a Steam Machine minus Steam loses something important, for which there needs to be a libre replacement.

Another aspect of Steam that we would want to replicate is the store functionality. It needs to be easy to browse and download/ install games from an online source, easy to uninstall them again if the player runs out of space, and easy to buy bundles, or donate to developers, or contribute to libre game crowfunding, and so on. This functionality could be limited to free culture games, to encourage free licensing of more games. This would also help to provide funds to those who develop free culture games, so an industry can grow up around them, and people can make a part-time or full-time living working on them.

The exact policies on the licensing of game art (graphics, audio etc) would be set by consensus of the volunteers that join and work on the project (if and when that happens).
One option would be for the distro to only supply free culture games from its main repos, and have a separate repo(s) for games with 100% free code, but non-free art. While the end goal would to support the playing of free culture games on free code game engines, in the short term, a 100% free code platform providing a roughly equivalent replacement for Steam would be the first priority.

GOLD could have a libre fork of something like Lutris or PlayOnLinux as the games library. Or, an existing media library app like Kodi could be extended or forked to do the same job. There could be a couple of default desktop options, as with Trisquel, something like KDE or GNOME for computers less than 5 years old, and maybe a tidied up version of something like Enlightenment 17/ Moksha for older computers. OpenBox could also be there as an option for more advanced users, comfortable with remembering commands and package names. The gaming library could have an interface for setting up network games too, and maybe a default list of libre gaming servers that gets regularly updates pushed through packages management, to encourage the emergence of player communities around libre games.

Voice chat is an important part of the social experience of gaming. There are existing packages like Mumble clients that could be integrated. Support for sending notifications (e.g. "now playing 0 A.D. come join me") through existing apps, maybe with a plug-in infrastructure that can support GNU Social, Diaspora, Friendica, Hubzilla, Pump.io, Tent, chat systems like IRC, XMPP, RocketChat or MatterMost, whatever there is demand from users for. This is a nice-to-have, but it is a part of the PlayStation/ XBox experience that Steam tries to compete with, and it would be great for GOLD to have it.

The GNOME project has been assembling game-related resources on this wiki page.
https://wiki.gnome.org/Design/Playground/Games

My first impression is that it's still focused on a PC gaming experience (sitting in front of a computer gaming with a keyboard and/or mouse), rather than the Steamesque console experience (sitting on a couch with a screen on the other side of the room and gaming with wireless controllers). That said, it looks like a good project, and the work they are doing could well be useful in the development of GOLD.

The ideas behind this proposal were first put forward in this thread:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/could-lutris-fork-be-used-create-libre-replacement-steamos

...which seems to have got a bit bogged down in side discussions, so that's why I've tried to aggregate the ideas here. I accept that it's not a universally accepted opinion, but I think we need to at least consider what would be needed to support VR gaming on GOLD. There are already open source projects underway to build large chunks of the VR stack (http://www.osvr.org/), so I think there's potential for similar collaborative projects to set up to develop libre game libraries/ engines for VR. I'd prefer not to dwell on this topic here, at least for now, as it's already been talked around in circles a few times in the thread linked above.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

Although not much of a gamer, it sounds pretty good to me! Kudos for the name too- normally the fact that it used 'Linux' without the 'GNU' and was a 'fork' rather than 'spin' would be a deterrent, but who can turn down an acronym like that?

I'm willing to offer my (lack of) skills to the project if it gets off the ground. However, I think the lack of 3D firmware and generally low computing power of RYF-able devices need to be addressed. The latter is probably not too significant, but the former feels like something that could become a huge roadblock if not addressed from the start. Perhaps GOLD could be developed in partnership with a firmware liberation/reverse engineering effort, and maybe even sold as part of a console (RYF certified, of course)?

Also, the possibility of VR incorporation most definitely does need to be considered. It may not be the future, nor a type of interface I would like to see, but it does serve its purpose. A good gaming distribution should surely provide it.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

Some thoughts on the use of CC licenses with the NC and/or ND clause in games running on libre software. The quotes from other users are taken from a discussion on the subject in this thread:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/question-about-free-gnulinux-distributions

Magic Banana:
"I do not recognize companies (Netflix, Spotify, iTunes, the Kindle store, the hairdressing salons, the bars, the book stores, the radio/TV channels, the movie theaters, etc.) any right to redistribute recent artistic works without giving a cent back to artists."

Neither do I. Businesses using people artwork in the course of their business can afford to pay for that, and I do think it's an unreasonable use of copyright to ensure that they do. Does anyone really think it's fair for a giant corporate music company to use their legacy marketing and distribution networks to make money off albums released under free culture CC licenses, and give none of that money back to the artists? I suspect that musicians believe that's what they're being asked to allow, and why so many of them do not understand that a strategic use of CC licensing serves their interests better than ARR copyright. People being overly rigid about free culture is counterproductive at this point.

IANAL but I think if libre games with NC artwork were made available gratis to the public, by via an organisation providing a gratis GNU/Linux distribution (installers and repos), I do not believe that would be considered "commercial user" under any CC license. So exactly what unacceptable problem is caused by the NC clause, given its benefits as described above?

JXSelf:
"Other artists are not part of the public? Non-artists never have a desire to have something changed? Ever? They can't have someone else do it for them?"

The NC clause does not prevent this. Derivative works can be made, but they like the original, are limited to gratis distribution, not commercial use. If the creator of the derivative work wants to change this, they have the freedom to replace the NC-SA licensed components of their work with something they have created (or under a license with no NC clause). The NC-SA is almost tautological, because the creator of the derivative can always dual license their original contributions under a freer license, even if the distribution of the combined works are constrained by the license applying to their component parts.

The ND clause is one I have a lot more problems with. I've never really heard a good argument for preventing sampling, mash-ups, reinterpretation and so on. I see it used a lot in Jamendo music and I wonder if it's intended to stop video makers using them in monetized YT videos, or game makers using their music in commercial games, without sharing some revenue with them, but the NC clause would be a better tool to address this.

I've also seen the ND clause applied to texts, where the author claims they need it for the same reasons the GNU FDL has "invariant sections", to prevent someone from altering the text and misattributing those changes to the original author. There's a whole bunch of laws that address misattributing statements to a person (fraud, libel etc), you don't need to use copyright licensing. Also, I've never heard of a real world case of this happening with texts in the public domain, or under free culture licenses.

jxself
Offline
Joined: 09/13/2010

"The NC clause does not prevent this"
Yeah, you missed what I was talking about in that section. I've pointed this out in the other thread in more detail.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the two major contentions put forth here- that it's unfair not to repay artists for using their work, and that a 'no commercial use' clause is fair. jxself explained the latter perfectly I think- unless *nobody* has the right to commercial use, it's censorship.

The former component is a little more complex. Potentially, a move towards crowdfunding could cover costs, as has been suggested. A change in the system would be nothing new- VCR didn't come coupled with compensation for TV networks, and cover artists don't get a cent of royalties for their performances.

However, even for those (like me) who don't feel this is an entirely fair system, there are alternatives which still allow for free culture. Stallman has suggested a tax, which is then distributed amongst artists according to the cube root of statistically inferred popularity. Another method, or a complimentary one, would be to put in place universal basic income as a safety net for entrepreneurial endeavors. This would cover art as well.

In any case, it may also be worth addressing the notion that CC licenses are preferable to the current copyright system. This is proven to be true for small authors, but the opposite is shown for the mega-corporations. These institutions, unfortunately, appear not to be merely concerned with preserving their right to use the current system: they also have a vested interest in making sure EVERYONE does. I believe it was Doctorow who hypothesized that they want to make sure that their culture is the only culture, and so eagerly pursue mechanisms to reduce the opportunity for artists to accidentally fail to maintain tight grip on the rights to their work. The best way to change behavior is to change the default- unfortunately, this means legislative action is probably much more effective than talking with artists.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Online
Joined: 07/24/2010

unless *nobody* has the right to commercial use, it's censorship.

Well, the same rules apply to everybody unless the author gives a specific authorization to a company to redistribute/diffuse/reproduce/... her work (certainly asking for money, such as royalties, in compensation). Do you have a problem with that?

Stallman has suggested...

Stallman does not consider artistic works have to be freely modifiable or commercially usable from day 1 (i.e., CC-BY-NC-ND is OK for artistic works). The tax he suggests aims to compensate the hypothetical revenue losses that would be caused by a legalization of non-commercial sharing, while fixing the terrible redistribution we have today (only superstars can live from their artistic works).

jxself
Offline
Joined: 09/13/2010

"Well, the same rules apply to everybody"
Except the author; they're not bound to their own license. I think this is what Soon.to.be.Free was referring to?

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

Pretty much. More generally, although more hypothetically also, there is the possibility of the author using this power to discriminate against uses they dislike where commercial rights are on a case-by-case basis.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

If those commenting here are really keen to understand the ins and outs of CC licensing, I highly recommend getting involved in the community consultation for the next version of the licenses. These involve users of CC licenses from different communities based on artistic, governmental, GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive, Museum), educational, and many other communities of practice. The discussion are certainly informed by free/ libre/ "open" values, but they mainly revolve around real world use cases. There was a proposal in the 4.0 consultation to drop all the NC and ND clauses, which I supported, but the majority of the community concluded that this would be more likely to drive people back to ARR copyright, than to the free culture CC licenses.

If we are going to apply the same standards to artwork that we apply to software, almost no art is libre, because editable source files are almost never made available. The question is not; are licenses with NC and ND clauses ideal. No, they're not, but they exist, and for a range of complicated reasons, many people use them. The question is; are they ethically acceptable in a free system distribution? Debian says no. I disagree.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

It appears I removed the statement regarding Stallman's policy from its context- I'm sorry for doing that (unfortunately, the original comment must remain). However, I am inclined to disagree with him that NC and ND clauses are OK. The latter, although probably not used particularly often, come dangerously close to prohibiting parody/mockery/mash-ups in some cases. Potentially this is an exaggeration of the problem, but even with fair use there seem to be quite regular cases of copyright obstructing freedom of expression.

NC is similar, although the issue here (for me) is 'commercial use' coming to encompass instances in which the art is part of the service being sold. I'm not sure if there are any documented instances of this coming to a head, but several possibilities spring to mind: a vendor of discs containing GNU/Linux distributions, an ad-supported blog, etc.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Online
Joined: 07/24/2010

Even in the case you list at the end, shouldn't the authors be entitled to negotiate something (a fixed amount or a percentage on the money the distro/article raises)?

jxself
Offline
Joined: 09/13/2010

"entitled"?

http://questioncopyright.org/compensation

(To be clear I'm not trying to wiggle in here and I expect Soon.to.be.Free to still reply to answer your question to them.)

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Online
Joined: 07/24/2010

You are right: "entitled" is the not the proper word. The question is whether the author who wants to negotiate something with the blog/distro (or refuse the commercial use) is mistreating her audience. My answer is no, hence my acceptance of the NC clause.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

I can understand your point here, although I would feel as though refusal to permit the commercial use is mistreatment- even the negotiation, where the negotiator is much larger than the blog/distro distributor, seems unfair to me. That said, I fully agree with you that the original author has a right to some form of payment where it is clear the user has the capacity to provide it. My concern largely lies with cases where the rights-holder has the capacity to prevent delivery of a useful service, simply because that service is not paid for entirely by the provider.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

I suggest you have a close look at the way "commercial use" is defined in version 4.0 of the CC licenses. It is a very narrow, very specific definition. For example, an ad-supported search site where torrent files or magnet links can be found to download works under an NC clause does *not* count as commercial use in CC 4.0.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

I don't see any point in including libre software but not libre culture games in such a distro. The list is a lot shorter than a lot of people think, and many cannot be distributed at all. These were the ones I was able to come up with:

https://onpon4.github.io/other/gaming-trap/#notrap

jxself
Offline
Joined: 09/13/2010

Finally - there is at least one other person supportive of free culture. Hooray! :)

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Online
Joined: 07/24/2010

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open-source_video_games#Open-source_games_with_own_but_non-free_content is longer... and does not include any of the games you list. That is why I believe there are many more such games out there. It is essential exact copies of artistic assets can be freely redistributed in a non-commercial way.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

Many of those games are traps (contain proprietary software) as explained in the same article I linked (but further up). Going through a few of them that I am already familiar with:

* AssaultCube, Cube, and Cube 2 contain scripts which have no license attached (the ".cfg" files).
* Frogatto contains proprietary scripts.
* Katawa Shoujo is almost entirely made up of proprietary scripts, which are not even in source code form.
* Narcissu is made up almost entirely of proprietary scripts.
* PlaneShift's "content" license places restrictions on what can be done with the software. It forbids connecting to any server with a modified client, and it forbids connecting to any unofficial server.

There are many I can't check, because I don't have access to copies of the games in question. But in most cases I would be quite surprised if they were not traps (scripting is quite common and scripts are usually included as part of a game's "data"), and even if they aren't, they're not redistributable in the first place.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

The reason is that I think there's a much greater chance of convincing commercial game studios to release their source code if they can keep their artwork under an ARR license, or an NC. NC artwork allows a game to be legally distributed gratis as part of fully libre distros/ repos, increasing their appeal to end users. ARR licensed artwork doesn't help us right away, but it does allow a modding community to create their own artwork files for a clone, and it allows new libre games to be built on the engine. Ideally, a number of commercial game studios can be convinced to experiment with developing game engines in the open, rather than chucking the code from obsolete ones over the wall, which will also benefit downstream libre game development.

My hope is that if we make some progress with getting code released, and the companies see the benefits of making their code available for review, outside contributions, and organised cross-company collaboration, then this will encourage them to take more steps. The companies that are using ARR copyright might be convinced to switch to NC, and the ones using NC clauses might be convinced to switch to a free culture license. The hardest rock can be dissolved by the softest drops of water, if they are persistent enough.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> I think there's a much greater chance of convincing commercial game studios to release their source code if they can keep their artwork under an ARR license, or an NC.

I seriously doubt this happening unless the distro becomes so astronomically popular that not having a game included on it makes the game sure to fall into obscurity. If the distro actually manages to be so insanely popular, it would be better to use that popularity to push fully libre games.

Also, please consider that the video game industry is engaged in the war on sharing and that's the whole reason why making the games proprietary is desired by them. If people can legally share, then the situation is no better for them than if the game was 100% libre.

In the few cases where they might not mind sharing (e.g. MMORPG clients), they aren't going to mind being libre culture either, for this same reason.

> My hope is that if we make some progress with getting code released

A distro aimed at making libre gaming easy isn't going to do that. Personally, I don't think you'll ever get much code released, especially by companies, until copyright is abolished. Until then, we just have to work on our own ecosystem of libre games and reject (or, at the very least, refuse to fund) proprietary games.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

Why are you so negative? This comment, like so many of your negative comments on this and the previous thread, contributes nothing useful to our efforts to get a new libre project off the ground, and is generally discouraging. What's the pay-off in spending your time discouraging other people from working on new libre projects?

I find it interesting that your comments here directly contradict your comments about getting commercial indie developers to release their code in your article here:
https://www.gamedev.net/resources/_/business/business-and-law/you-dont-need-to-hide-your-source-code-r3503

...and in this thread:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/foss-gaming

This suggests to me that you have some kind of resentment towards me personally, perhaps because of our previous argument about VR, and you're willing to say things you don't actually believe in an attempt to make me wrong. This is a waste of your time, as you should be aware that the only effect it's having is to dilute the credibility of anything else you say here.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> Why are you so negative?

I respond to incorrect claims thusly. It's not that I'm "negative".

> I find it interesting that your comments here directly contradict your comments about getting commercial indie developers to release their code in your article here

That was something I wrote years ago. Scroll down and pay attention to the feedback it got. It was overwhelmingly negative. No one was open to the idea at all. Just because I said something in the past, when I was more naïve, does not mean that I still believe it now.

In particular, in the last four years, I have come to realize just how prevalent scripting is, and just how integrated it is into game data in pretty much everything. I learned this from contributing to Naev, developing ReTux, and investigating all the games in "The Gaming Trap" (that investigation started with visual novels and ScummVM when someone pointed out to me that accepting King's Quest but not other proprietary games is a walking contradiction).

However, I should point out that I'm not "directly" contradicting what I wrote four years ago in that article, anyway. That article was advocating 100% proprietary data, i.e. no sharing allowed, enforced by copyright; more akin to Doom II, not The Ur-Quan Masters. I have never believed nor stated that the proprietary game business model would work with Creative Commons proprietary licenses.

> ...and in this thread:

That is also quite old. Three years rather than four years, but my comment about naïvety still applies. In particular, note that I didn't address at all (because I wasn't intimately familiar with it at the time) the immense cost of video game development. I just brushed it off, saying, "well, proprietary video game developer salaries aren't immense, so that must not be a problem". In fact, raising anyone's salary would make the cost of development skyrocket even further, which would make profiting even harder, so that's probably one of the main contributors to the "low" (still far higher than minimum wage) salaries proprietary video game developers get.

To put it as bluntly as possible: in 2013 and 2014, I was completely wrong about pretty much everything related to video games, and probably many other things as well. If what I say now contradicts what I said then, that is the reason.

> This suggests to me that you have some kind of resentment towards me personally

No, I don't. I hardly even know you.

Why would I be upset about our difference of opinion about VR? I still think that you were and are wrong about that. But yes, arguing about that further is a waste of time. That's different from these other issues you have raised here.

ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

Thankfully, non-functional data ("artworks", although some can be
functional) is required to allow at least freedoms 0 (to use) and 2 (to
share and *sell* exact copies of the original work) entirely in order
for these to be included in free/libre system distributions, for more
information, see
[[http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html#non-functional-data]].

So, most of these games would have "artwork" under NC variants of
Creative Commons licenses removed in order to be packaged to the
free/libre system distributions, or the entire games would be left out
entirely.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

Thanks for the clarification. I'm envisioning the distro itself being distributed in two forms:
a) with no games. Upon first boot, the new user is guided on how use the not-Steam game library client to browse and install games from the repos. This could done with a pop-up tutorial that can be easily cancelled out of, and called up again.
b) With a handful of games that show off the best of what libre games (both code and artwork) offer across a range of genres. Ideally involving a number of games that can be played over a network, with an updatable list of libre game servers installed by default. Maybe invites to Libre Game Night pre-loaded into a desktop calendar too ;) Gaming is a social activity for many people, and I suspect that being actively invited into communities of libre gamers would stop some gamers getting bored and giving up.

So the core distro, like default Debian, would be 100% libre (including all artwork). The games themselves would be packaged in a set of repos, subdivided in a similar way to the Debian repos into:
* 100% libre games
* games with 100% libre code but nonfree artwork

If making the nonfree repos available by default would keep the distro from being endorsed by the FSF, that's a shame. My view is that the project would fail to live up to its potential if it didn't offer users easy access to every game that runs on an otherwise libre distro. However, getting the GOLD project off the ground will require a collective effort, and if the majority of those involved prefer FSF endorsement and a smaller library of games, I'm happy to abide by the consensus of the working group.

It may be possible to make the nonfree games available as a totally separate project, that can be plugged into the GOLD distro by users who really want them (using PPAs, or one of the newer packaging systems like Snap or Flatpak). I would even consider this for a separate repo for games that contain nonfree code (eg scripts included with artwork), but can run properly when the core distro doesn't contain any nonfree code, and whose copyright owners allow non-commercial distribution. My short-term goal is to build something that is significantly more libre than SteamOS, and can be a stepping stone towards a 100% libre gaming experience on Steam Machines (and ideally other gaming hardware).

ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

Although my previous message sounded otherwise, I agree with what you
said about fostering a "graceful" change of habits on the part of the
proprietary game proprietors and makers. But as my last message
suggests, most free/libre system distributions won't be able to package
those games unless they leave the "let's use CC BY-NC*" phase.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

OK, I've done a bit of research so that this topic isn't completely sidetracked...

Trying to strip down Lakka to meet the FSDG doesn't appear to be an option. As I read it, http://www.lakka.tv/get/linux/generic/install/first-boot/games/ seems to suggest the whole point of the distro is to run ROMs of other console's games: quite contrary to the aims of libre distro. That said, it is still worth looking at Lakka to consider what GOLD could learn from it.

In regards to software management/updates, I would suggest apt or something similar, with a three-way division of the repositories between system core, fully-free games, and non-free art games. Something like GNOME software could be thrown in for a games store, only showing the games repositories; system updates could then be delivered via an auto-updater, which would maintain the system core.
By dividing the games into two classes, like above, the user is provided with choice in regards to whether or not they wish to allow non-free artworks (although whether this is desired is obviously up for debate). The choice of apt, or similar package manager, is based on what level of control is desired. Lakka (and its base OpenELEC) seem to use a much more basic package management system, which assists them in shedding weight; however, it seems that fine-grained control would be of more interest in a free-software system than absolute minimalism.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

Thanks for doing this. This is all useful information. The main thing missing from libre systems that we need for GOLD is at the UX level. I haven't had a chance to have a play with Lakka (or any of the other projects I mention in the OP), and I'm interested in whether you think any of the UI components of Lakka could be repurposed as part of a GOLD DE offering a replacement for the Steam UI in SteamOS.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

In the first comment on this subject (in this thread) I asked a question that I note nobody has directly answered:
>> Does anyone really think it's fair for a giant corporate music company to use their legacy marketing and distribution networks to make money off albums released under free culture CC licenses, and give none of that money back to the artists? <<

As I said in that same comment, the purpose of the NC clause is to prevent this injustice, while still decriminalizing gratis sharing (as I said I have yet to see a strong argument for ND and would like to see it canned). I think this is justified in the case of works that represent thousands of hours of one person's or a small group's artistic labour. I have proposed elsewhere that when CC puts out version 5.0, they could consult the research on the realistic window for monetization (eg 5, 10, or 20 years), and have the NC clause expire after that window closes.

One might ask why I wouldn't apply the same principle to software, as the Peer Production License does:
https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Peer_Production_License

The difference is just like the difference between a bucket (software) and a painting of a bucket (art). A giant corporation can sell as many buckets as they like, it doesn't stop me from selling buckets, because they are functional items. Also, pretty much everyone uses buckets, and they need more buckets as their old ones wear out (software becomes obsolete). A painting of a bucket is a decorative item, the demand is limited to a maximum of one per person, so for every painting of a bucket a giant corporation can use its marketing reach to sell before I can, my market is permanently shrinking.

I would prefer to see copyright law amended so that it *only* applies to commercial use, just like I'd like to see the law amended so that anyone distributing software (including Service-as-a-Software-Substitute) in obliged to make their code public (like food companies must with ingredients). In the meantime CC and free code licenses offer a way to hack around some of the problems created by a copyright regime that's growing like a malignant tumour.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> Does anyone really think it's fair for a giant corporate music company to use their legacy marketing and distribution networks to make money off albums released under free culture CC licenses, and give none of that money back to the artists?

This question includes an implicit assumption that copyright somehow prevents this. In fact, the usual case is for the original author to sign off copyright to some sort of company, or to never have copyright on the work to begin with because they were doing work for that company (and so the company gets the copyright).

> the purpose of the NC clause is to prevent this injustice

That may be, but the effect of the NC clause is to make it impossible for poor artists to make money from their derivatives of the covered work.

Corporations have been dealing with copyright for centuries, with the expectation that no license to use anything copyrighted can be obtained at all. If they can't use your drawing of a panda, they can easily pay someone to make another drawing of a panda.

But if you're a poor artist, you have to do everything yourself. So if you can't draw pandas and can't make money off of that panda drawing, then sorry! No food for you tonight. Or you can just give up on art and start holding up a "will work for food" sign.

So the effect of non-commercial clauses is to hurt the poor and have no effect on the rich. That's bad enough. But it's also bad for a much more basic reason: it's an unjust restriction. If I sell tables and tell you that, therefore, you are not allowed to sell tables, I'm sure you would be able to see why that is unjust. If you have any legal good or service you want to sell to anyone, you have a right to sell it. That's the whole point of capitalism. The idea that someone is deserved a monopoly on the sale of a good or service just because they were the first to do so is absurd. And yet, that's the idea that copyright operates under. So copyright itself is unjust. The only acceptable use of copyright is copyleft.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

"That may be, but the effect of the NC clause is to make it impossible for poor artists to make money from their derivatives of the covered work."

No it doesn't. It means the poor artist has to find another artwork to make derivatives of, one that is not covered by an NC license. Or they have to negotiate a commercial license with the artist using the NC clause, who is probably also a poor artist. This would give the original artist the chance to ask for a fair revenue-sharing deal, but depending on the situation, they might also just give them permission, and supply a bank account number for an optional donation. The point is, commercial use means there's going to be money involved, and its not unreasonable for some of it to go back to artists who did the original work.

"If I sell tables and tell you that, therefore, you are not allowed to sell tables, I'm sure you would be able to see why that is unjust."

I do. But tables are like buckets in my example above. What we are talking about is not NC clauses on tables (or buckets), but NC clauses on paintings of tables (or buckets).

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> "That may be, but the effect of the NC clause is to make it impossible for poor artists to make money from their derivatives of the covered work."
>
> No it doesn't. It means the poor artist has to find another artwork to make derivatives of, one that is not covered by an NC license.

You just restated the exact same thing I said in a different way.

> the artist using the NC clause, who is probably also a poor artist

Why on Earth would you presume this? Poor artists don't make art and then put non-commercial clauses on them. Licensing is a question that only middle-class and well-off people have the luxury to consider. The poor artist is too busy working actual jobs to go on a crusade against capitalism.

But all this stuff about poor artists is a side issue. I mentioned it in passing. Even if poor artists can extort money from other poor artists by using non-commercial licenses, it's still an unethical practice at the base level.

> What we are talking about is not NC clauses on tables (or buckets), but NC clauses on paintings of tables (or buckets).

You're splitting hairs here. Fine, then. I sell you a painting, and you are never allowed to sell it to anyone else. Either you give it away, or you keep it. I'm sorry, exactly what sort of good it is doesn't change the ethics of ordering you not to do something with it.

If you feel that, yes, an artist should be able to order you to not resell a (physical) painting they gave to you, then to be consistent, you must also find it acceptable for the artist to order you not to hang the painting on a wall, or for the artist to order you to never transport it to another state, or for the artist to order you to never say anything about it. All of these are unjust. If you have been sold anything, and it is yours, you deserve the right to do anything you want with it. The same applies to digital copies of works. If you are sent a copy, morally, you are the owner of that copy. It is wrong to place conditions on it. The only exception I will grant is copyleft, and that is not because copyleft is morally any different; rather, it's because this is an imperfect world and we need to be pragmatic.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

"This is an imperfect world and we need to be pragmatic."

You just restated the exact same thing I said in a different way.

"Why on Earth would you presume this?"

I'm not presuming anything. I'm speaking from my experience talking about licensing with poor artists (particularly musicians), people in my own social circles, and people I've spoken to as part of my work as a community developer for CC Aotearoa/ NZ. Also, I'm a poor artist! I'm a professional volunteer who struggles by on scraps of paid work supplemented by welfare. I put NC licenses on my own work:
http://strypey.dreamwidth.org/

If another poor artist approached me wanting to use my work in a commercial project, I'd be thrilled to collaborate. If a well-funded publishing company wanted to use my work in a collection of short stories, I would be thrilled, and would ask for a more generous commercial royalty.

"Poor artists don't make art and then put non-commercial clauses on them. Licensing is a question that only middle-class and well-off people have the luxury to consider. The poor artist is too busy working actual jobs to go on a crusade against capitalism.

You, on the other hand, make all sorts of presumptions, which say more about your own class perspective and ideological fixations, than they do about the realities of being a poor artist.

As mentioned in my last comment, it's become very clear to me that your motive for participating in these threads is to troll for attention, and get a weird kick out of knocking other people's initiatives. From now on, unless you have something constructive to say, I will be ignoring your comments.

Wondermark-David-Malki-Sealion.png
onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

OK, I will concede that poor artists use unethical licensing restrictions. It still doesn't help them, but whatever. The important point is that it's unethical extortion, and the secondary point is that it doesn't affect big corporations at all, and therefore there is no possible justification for it. Both of these points stand independently of what poor artists actually do.

For what it's worth, I'm sorry that I made generalized assumptions about the working poor. I had the wrong image in my head when I was thinking about them. I will keep this in mind in the future.

Also, I am fully in support of a libre game distro. However, I do not think it would be useful or appropriate to include the very tiny number of proprietary games with 100% libre source code available (list here). Even less useful would be if you did that but required everything to be sharable, because The Ur-Quan Masters is literally the only example of that which I am aware of.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

"I'm sorry that I made generalized assumptions about the working poor."

I appreciate your saying so, and I'm sorry if I overstated my case in those last couple of comments. I value the passion and the deep knowledge of libre gaming that you bring to these discussions. I sincerely hope I can convince you to become involved in the GOLD project in some way.

I'm getting the impression you've been at this for a while, and that what I'm interpreting as dismissive contempt on your part is just frustration borne of life in the libre gaming trenches ;) I just ask you to keep in mind that we're on the same side here, aiming for exactly the same long-term goal. Please to focus your contributions on comments that encourage and assist us noobs.

>> I do not think it would be useful or appropriate to include the very tiny number of proprietary games with 100% libre source code available <<

Thanks for the link, and the exhaustive research you have done to assemble the information there. I think I'm beginning to see the deeper point you're trying to make. Excluding these games would cost the hypothetical GOLD user very little in variety of gameplay, and create an incentive for either the copyright holders of the artwork in these games to finish liberating them, or for someone to create fully libre forks. Is this correct?

The perspective I'm coming from is that although you can't have computer games without code, games are not fundamentally a form of software but a form of multimedia artwork. They are more akin to films than programs. I bring to the table a lifetime of experience with artistic communities, and more than 10 years as a CC activist here in Aotearoa. That experience has shown me that the concerns that motivate artists of various kinds to use ARR or nonfree CC licenses are different (if overlapping in places) from the set than motivate developers to keep their code proprietary. These differences mean that the strategies that do and don't work for getting software liberated, don't always for getting artwork liberated, and vice versa.

I've written more about this here (it got long ;):
https://www.coactivate.org/projects/disintermedia/blog/2017/05/04/computer-games-are-art-like-film-not-software/

I've also written about the differences between looking at games as software vs. looking at them as artwork here:
https://www.coactivate.org/projects/disintermedia/blog/2017/03/31/convincing-serious-game-studios-to-free-their-code/

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> Excluding these games would cost the hypothetical GOLD user very little in variety of gameplay, and create an incentive for either the copyright holders of the artwork in these games to finish liberating them, or for someone to create fully libre forks. Is this correct?

I don't think a distro focused on delivering a gaming experience would have any sort of effect at all on the behavior of proprietary game developers. I see no basis for them to. So just the first half of that sentence is adequate to explain my position.

I'm not staunchly against non-trap proprietary games being in such a distro, but I see no benefit in doing so. It seems to just be a way to complicate the message. You can't say "100% libre", for example; you have to say "entirely libre software but with a couple of arbitrary proprietary pieces that are not software, carefully audited to ensure that is the case". That's not as catchy, and it's not as easy to get behind. That's a small price to pay, to be fair, but considering the gain is so tiny, it doesn't seem worthwhile.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

"I don't think a distro focused on delivering a gaming experience would have any sort of effect at all on the behavior of proprietary game developers."

We may have to agree to disagree on this. I acknowledge it will depend on lot on the success or failure of integrating a user-friendly way for users to buy/ donate to the games in the distro. I grant that it's a longshot, but again, it's a vision I find exciting enough to want to work on unpaid (at least at first ;).

Even if you're right about proprietary developers in general (and the fact that SteamOS has massively increased interest in releasing games for GNU/Linux at all suggests otherwise), surely those who have liberated some/ all of their code have some interest in libre gaming, and therefore some potential to be influenced? Why else would they have liberated what they have? Maybe you've tried and written about the experience, link me?

Even if you're right about every developer who has a single proprietary component in their game, what about all the free code developers and libre artists who might be motivated to fork both the trap and non-trap games, to create fully libre versions? If we allow the trap and non-trap games to be used on the distro, even in separate repos, the incentive to do this is reduced (see I'm trying to ironman you're argument here). One solution that occurs is only allowing games in the 100% libre repo to use the payment/ donate system, with games in hypothetical trap and non-trap repos (to use your terms) only able to be downloaded "for testing and review purposes".

"I'm not staunchly against non-trap proprietary games being in such a distro"

I take your point about messaging, but I think the point of disagreement is about what counts as being "in the distro". In my mind, items in special repos, clearly marked in the game library according to their exact non-libre status with big flashing warnings, are not "in the distro". Anymore than everything on the web is "in the distro" just because it can be accessed through the browser ('web library', so to speak) that is in the distro.

I explained in my blog piece (linked in my recent comment) what I think the gain is. Again, we might be best to just agree to disagree about this and see what happens.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> Why else would they have liberated what they have?

A lot of reasons really, and I can only speculate, but the most significant contributions to libre software gaming by far have been those by id Software. These contributions were made, as far as I can tell, because the engines were obsolete and it gave id Software a little street cred in the open source crowd, which was big at the time.

The other one I'm familiar with is The Ur-Quan Masters, which was probably given the source code release because it was about to become an abandonware obscurity and, fortunately, the original developers were able to get back the copyrights to it and scrounge up the 3DO source code. Under normal circumstances, not only would that release have been legally impossible, the source code would probably be completely lost anyway.

> what about all the free code developers and libre artists who might be motivated to fork both the trap and non-trap games, to create fully libre versions?

Absolutely do that if you are motivated to do so. It's just as good as developing a new libre game from scratch, and it's much easier in general.

> Again, we might be best to just agree to disagree about this and see what happens.

Sure thing.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

"Absolutely do that if you are motivated to do so. It's just as good as developing a new libre game from scratch, and it's much easier in general."

If I was one of the many people who currently have the skills to do this, I probably wouldn't be motivated, because completely putting aside economic concerns (and its naive to do that), there seems little point working hard on a game almost nobody would play. My goal in proposing GOLD is to make the libre gaming community more visible, and attract more gamers to it. I think this *in itself* will increase the motivation for game developers to go libre.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

> completely putting aside economic concerns (and its naive to do that), there seems little point working hard on a game almost nobody would play.

That just goes to show that you're not a game developer. ;) See, this is an untrue statement. A lot of the time, we make games because we personally want to play them; one great example is the little game that I started making earlier this week called Tangomon. No one has asked for it or indicated that they are interested in it, but I am interested in it, so in that sense I'm scratching my own itch.

It's the same as any other art. You design a game because you want to make something good that people, often including yourself, can enjoy. Or, alternatively, you design a game as a form of personal expression. You do not design a game primarily for the purpose of being popular. Or rather, when being popular is the primary reason you design a game, it's never particularly good. Making the game popular is a secondary thing you want to do, and only either because you want more people to experience it, or because you want to be able to make games more often.

> My goal in proposing GOLD is to make the libre gaming community more visible, and attract more gamers to it. I think this *in itself* will increase the motivation for game developers to go libre.

That's true, and I agree entirely with this goal. In short, let's make libre gaming cool! :) I just don't think including non-trap libre-software-but-proprietary-data games will particularly affect efforts toward this goal.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

I recently stumbled across a previous proposal for a project that could have formed the UI layer of GOLD, and I've emailed this person to gauge their interest in getting involved:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/foss-gaming

One thing mentioned in the comments in that thread is that it would be useful to get more libre games packaged and into the Debian repos, so they can trickle down to Ubuntu, and then to Trisquel. If we set up the GOLD infrastructure correctly, it ought to help with this effort. GOLD could have its own libre game repo, and maybe NC/ND repo(s), but the people doing packaging for these repos could do it in a way that makes it as trivial as possible to add them to Debian repos as well. It could even be a part of the GOLD project's work to make sure that happens.

Another issue mentioned is the "traps", where some nonfree software components are present as part of nonfree artwork. GOLD could also involve an outreach project to make contact with the copyright owners of those games, clarify how we divide artwork (nonfree not ideal but acceptable) from software (nonfree not acceptable), and see if we can get this changed. This is one way (among many) that non-coders could get actively involved with and help GOLD, and libre gaming in general.

EDIT: I also found another a possible contact for the developer of Tiggit, another gaming UI mentioned in that 2014 thread. He hasn't been active on GITHub for a few years, but I will email him too, just in case.
https://github.com/korslund

BTW #2: InfoWorld has a post called 'Linux: The best distros for gaming?' that sums up the results of a few articles on that topics from other sites.
http://www.infoworld.com/article/3168040/linux/linux-the-best-distros-for-gaming.html

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

So we've thrown a few ideas about about the conceptual boundaries of a potential GOLD distro, and some of the tech it would need, or could include. The question is, does anyone have time to put into helping get this off the ground? I'd be happy to set up a mailing list or a Loomio group if there are a handful of people who would be willing to join it, even if only to continue contributing to more detailed scoping and planning discussions.

Perhaps the lowest hanging fruit is the game library app, which could initially be developed as an app for Trisquel. One of the things I find frustrating about trying to use Trisquel as a gaming platform (on a 2nd hand gaming rig I bought), is that although I can install plenty of games from 'Add/Remove Applications', that tool provides very little information about the games, other than some tiny screenshots (where available).

The sort of game library #UX I envision for GOLD would include:
* screenshots: a number of large, high-quality screenshots for each game, illustrating a number of aspects of gameplay and graphics, clickable to expand to full screen
* data import: each game entry would have information like genre, game engine used, and so on, using data pulled in from LibreGameWiki and any other relevant sources.
* search: the ability to do easy searches using these categories, eg searches for all side-scrolling platform games, or all games using the Pyrogenesis engine
* reviews: each game entry would have links to reviews from prominent libre gaming review sites, as well as from other GOLD users, and any other relevant sources
* rating: various kinds of rating systems could be used, based on rating from GOLD users, ratings pulled in from other data source (wherever the Add/Remove Applications app gets its star ratings from), review sites etc. For example, I might want a rating of a first-person shooter (FPS) from everyone who's played it, or just from users who play FPS a lot (using FPS review sites, users who share their game time data etc)
* hardware detection: some ability to match minimum hardware requirements for each game against the hardware GOLD is installed on, so by default, the library won't offer games the user's PC can't properly support.
* links: To the project homepages and LibreGameWiki entries for the game and for the engine (and any other components), to game servers where users can play that game, to source code repo for the game etc
* payment: ability to buy/ donate/ contribute to crowdfunding/ pay membership to producer coop (or whatever) with one-click, using as wide a range of payments methods as possible. Not sure if it's possible to do this in a desktop app, it might require a website or server aspect.

One important goal is to make it easy for players to find the games that will interest them right away. Installing a bunch of half-made hobby games, arcade clone joke games like Defendguin, and games that need more hardware power than they have, and getting frustrated, has been my #UX trying to play games on Trisquel. GOLD needs to improve on this.

BTW I was trying to think of a name for the gaming library app that riffs off GOLD, and the name GOAL (Game Opening Application on Linux) just occurred to me. It's probably a bit too twee, but it'll do as a working title ;)

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

Firstly, the games library sounds like a great idea. I would recommend using APT as a base. It seems like it already has enough features to provide what you suggest (with a bit of tweaking by the bit that serves it up, of course):

* screenshots: If the description used were replaced by an HTML-like language, these could then be incorporated into it- or simply do it however Add/Remove Software does it;
* data import: APT has the ability to add tags to packages, so this could be done server-side and provided as part of the package metadata;
* search: doable with APT, using tags where necessary for specific features;
* reviews: Incorporated into the description;
* rating: Probably the only exception to this principle- could be performed in a similar way to Add/Remove Software or what-not;
* hardware detection: Package key information as tags, and then simply have the software filter for information which suits it- also has the advantage that users can choose to look at games outside their specifications if they want;
* links: Incorporate in the page description;
* payment: Incorporate in the page description

It should be noted that where I suggest "incorporate in the page description", the implication is that the data will be stored in a format which can then be parsed for display; it does not necessarily imply text-readability.

As for time, I'm a little busy at the moment. However, with the obvious issue that my ability to contribute is rather limited (for now), I'm certainly willing. Is there anything specific I can do?

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

>> However, with the obvious issue that my ability to contribute is rather limited (for now), I'm certainly willing. Is there anything specific I can do? <<

Well, it seem that although a lot of people have the energy to debate the pros and cons of different CC licenses, the two of us are the only Trisquel Forum members who have some energy for this project at present. So, the next obvious thing to do is to do some outreach into the wider libre gaming community and see if there's enough interest to get a working group up and running.

One way to do that could be to start contacting people and projects and just give them this link. But it might be better to take a breath, and crunch down all the ideas we've come up with here into a succinct summary of the project as we currently envision it, so we have something a bit more developed to present. I've started a wiki page for this here:
https://www.coactivate.org/projects/disintermedia/gaming-on-libre-distribution

If you're keen to help with outreach, or with the wiki page, you're welcome to join the Disintermedia project (you'll need a CoActivate.org account), and maybe we can use a mailing list there to keep in touch about it? BTW That invite is open to anyone here who is keen to help with the bootstrapping of GOLD. In your request to join the Disintermedia project, please mention GOLD and your username on this forum, if you use a different one for your account on CoActivate.

davidpgil
Offline
Joined: 08/26/2015

It just occured to me that if this is a project only for Free and Open games, then why not just integrate these efforts into Trisquel?

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2016

Although I can't speak on behalf of Strypey, I think the fundamental issue lies with scope.

Although GOLD is (to be) a distro, there is also a need for accompanying work with game developers, other distros, and the gaming community (pro-free-software, anti-open-source, and what-are-you-talking-about subgroups alike). This work is equally important- even someone with my level of gaming (non-) experience can see the lack of gaming culture within the free software community. The participation of numerous groups within the free software community is required before a distro like GOLD can even *begin* to pay dividends.

There is also possibly the technical concern of 'weight'- for example, with Lakka, a completely gutted-out base in OpenELEC allowed for 5-second boot times. This is obviously not essential, but there's simply no good justification for the numerous processes that are required by a general-purpose distro to operate in a gaming one. As such, using Trisquel as a base is not ideal- something more like an embedded distro would be more suitable.

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

I definitely see GOLD being developed in a way that draws from and contributes back to the work of other libre distros, including Trisquel. I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel here, or create anything exclusive. Since every part of the GOLD distro will be free code, the Trisquel crew could include the GOLD gaming library app in their repos and make the accompanying game repos available to Trisquel users, if they wanted to.

But I agree when Soon To Be Free says a distro is not just an OS, and the project infrastructure wrapped around maintaining and distributing that OS, but also a user community with it's own identity and group culture. Gaming is a niche interest within the wider software freedom movement, and software freedom is a niche interest within the gaming world. One of the big picture goals of GOLD would to increase that overlap, mainly by drawing more gamers into the software freedom movement by addressing their specific needs. But also by showing free software/ open source folks we can have a user-friendly console gaming experience without holding our noses and using proprietary consoles or Windows dual-boots, or trying to play games using interfaces optimized for work.

My main reasons for envisioning GOLD as a separate distro is that form follows function. Trisquel is aimed at average desktop users doing a mix of work, communication, and entertainment. The default user interface for both Trisquel and Trisquel-mini is a standard desktop environment, designed with the assumption that the user is sitting in front of a desktop or laptop, interacting mainly with a keyboard and mouse. Although it copes fairly well with larger screens and multi-screen set-ups, the Trisquel interface is optimized for the medium-sized screens of desktops and laptops.

GOLD will be aimed at gamers doing a mix of gaming, communication, and entertainment. The default user interface will be a game library or entertainment centre environment, designed with the assumption that the user is sitting in a couch or an armchair some distance from the computer and the screen, interacting mainly with a game controller of some kind. Although it will aim to support as many screen sizes as possible, the GOLD interface will be optimized for the larger screens typical of gaming and video watching uses.

Because I envision GOLD as an entertainment console, I see no reason to include an office suite or any other work-orientated software in the default install, and maybe not even in the repos. Keeping the default install as light as possible in both size (MBs on disk) and resources used (processor, memory, graphics) is as important for a game OS as it is for a multimedia production OS. But also, since so much of both my work and my leisure time these days involves computers and the net, it's becoming very important to me to find ways to keep these use cases separate. I see GOLD as a way to provide a libre entertainment system that strongly discourages segueing into work. I envision it as something I'd have installed on a dedicated gaming box in the lounge, or dual-booted on a laptop with a work distro (eg Trisquel), which would be optimized as much as possible to discourage segueing into entertainment.

Another more technical reason is that I'd rather base GOLD releases directly off Debian, like SteamOS does, rather than wait for new packages and updates to trickle down through Ubuntu (and maybe Trisquel) before we can use them. In fact, it may be possible to build GOLD as a fork of SteamOS, just as Trisquel is built as a fork of Ubuntu, starting with a SteamOS build, replace the kernel with linux-libre, replacing the Steam interface with the GOLD interface etc.

BTW I thought of another set of words GOLD could stand for, which avoids the use of "Linux" without "GNU":
Gaming
Orientated
Libre
Distribution

GOLD doesn't have to official stand for anything. It's a good shiny name in its own right. I'm not wedded to GOLD either, for now it's just a working title to hang the project on. Another name could be GLAM:
GNU
Linux
Adventure
Machine

davidpgil
Offline
Joined: 08/26/2015

Preach brother! I really like the idea of GOLD somehow being a stripped SteamOS. Thanks for explaining your view in detail. I definitely agree that distros are like cultures. I am starting to see this with Mastodon actually. Each instance is for a bubble of people who are really into something - usually. I'm interested in your project. Has it started? I'd like to contribute my skills to it.

----- Original Message -----
From: name at domain
To: "trisquel-users" <name at domain>
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:31:08 AM
Subject: Re: [Trisquel-users] Proposed Project: GOLD - Gaming on Linux Distribution

I definitely see GOLD being developed in a way that draws from and
contributes back to the work of other libre distros, including Trisquel. I'm
not looking to reinvent the wheel here, or create anything exclusive. Since
every part of the GOLD distro will be free code, the Trisquel crew could
include the GOLD gaming library app in their repos and make the accompanying
game repos available to Trisquel users, if they wanted to.

But I agree when Soon To Be Free says a distro is not just an OS, and the
project infrastructure wrapped around maintaining and distributing that OS,
but also a user community with it's own identity and group culture. Gaming is
a niche interest within the wider software freedom movement, and software
freedom is a niche interest within the gaming world. One of the big picture
goals of GOLD would to increase that overlap, mainly by drawing more gamers
into the software freedom movement by addressing their specific needs. But
also by showing free software/ open source folks we can have a user-friendly
console gaming experience without holding our noses and using proprietary
consoles or Windows dual-boots, or trying to play games using interfaces
optimized for work.

My main reasons for envisioning GOLD as a separate distro is that form
follows function. Trisquel is aimed at average desktop users doing a mix of
work, communication, and entertainment. The default user interface for both
Trisquel and Trisquel-mini is a standard desktop environment, designed with
the assumption that the user is sitting in front of a desktop or laptop,
interacting mainly with a keyboard and mouse. Although it copes fairly well
with larger screens and multi-screen set-ups, the Trisquel interface is
optimized for the medium-sized screens of desktops and laptops.

GOLD will be aimed at gamers doing a mix of gaming, communication, and
entertainment. The default user interface will be a game library or
entertainment centre environment, designed with the assumption that the user
is sitting in a couch or an armchair some distance from the computer and the
screen, interacting mainly with a game controller of some kind. Although it
will aim to support as many screen sizes as possible, the GOLD interface will
be optimized for the larger screens typical of gaming and video watching
uses.

Because I envision GOLD as an entertainment console, I see no reason to
include an office suite or any other work-orientated software in the default
install, and maybe not even in the repos. Keeping the default install as
light as possible in both size (MBs on disk) and resources used (processor,
memory, graphics) is as important for a game OS as it is for a multimedia
production OS. But also, since so much of both my work and my leisure time
these days involves computers and the net, it's becoming very important to me
to find ways to keep these use cases separate. I see GOLD as a way to provide
a libre entertainment system that strongly discourages segueing into work. I
envision it as something I'd have installed on a dedicated gaming box in the
lounge, or dual-booted on a laptop with a work distro (eg Trisquel), which
would be optimized as much as possible to discourage segueing into
entertainment.

Another more technical reason is that I'd rather base GOLD releases directly
off Debian, like SteamOS does, rather than wait for new packages and updates
to trickle down through Ubuntu (and maybe Trisquel) before we can use them.
In fact, it may be possible to build GOLD as a fork of SteamOS, just as
Trisquel is built as a fork of Ubuntu, starting with a SteamOS build, replace
the kernel with linux-libre, replacing the Steam interface with the GOLD
interface etc.

BTW I thought of another set of words GOLD could stand for, which avoids the
use of "Linux" without "GNU":
Gaming
Orientated
Libre
Distribution

GOLD doesn't have to official stand for anything. It's a good shiny name in
its own right. I'm not wedded to GOLD either, for now it's just a working
title to hang the project on. Another name could be GLAM:
GNU
Linux
Adventure
Machine

strypey
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2015

>> I'm interested in your project. Has it started? I'd like to contribute my skills to it. <<

Welcome aboard! At this point it's just a concept. I laid out the next steps and how to get involved here:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/proposed-project-gold-gaming-linux-distribution#comment-114798

RMK
RMK
Offline
Joined: 07/23/2016

> BTW I thought of another set of words GOLD could stand
> for, which avoids the use of "Linux" without "GNU":
> Gaming
> Orientated
> Libre
> Distribution
>
> GOLD doesn't have to official stand for anything.
> It's a good shiny name in its own right. I'm not
> wedded to GOLD either, for now it's just a working
> title to hang the project on. Another name could
> be GLAM:
> GNU
> Linux
> Adventure
> Machine

GOLD could still work as
Gaming
On
Linux/GNU
Distribution

I don't think the GNU Project would find serious fault with that (see http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html#whyorder ).