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GNU License?

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I am kind of confused about the GNU GPL.


Say I wanted to make a game, but I required the use of a library (or multiple libraries) under the GNU GPL.

Does this mean my game cannot be commercial? Does my game have to be open source?


Can someone please explain the GNU GPL in a nutshell and what I need to worry about?

EDIT:
Looking at the FAQ on gnu.org:
Quote:
Can I release a modified version of a GPL-covered program in binary form only?
No. The whole point of the GPL is that all modified versions must be free software—which means, in particular, that the source code of the modified version is available to the users.


By the looks of it, I only have to distribute the source if I modified the original source?


From what I understand, as long as I don't modify the original source, I'm free to sell my game and keep it closed source?

Sorry if I sound like a complete idiot, but I would like to get this cleared up.

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Quote:
Original post by TrieBr
I am kind of confused about the GNU GPL.


Say I wanted to make a game, but I required the use of a library (or multiple libraries) under the GNU GPL.

Does this mean my game cannot be commercial? Does my game have to be open source?


Can someone please explain the GNU GPL in a nutshell and what I need to worry about?

EDIT:
Looking at the FAQ on gnu.org:
Quote:
Can I release a modified version of a GPL-covered program in binary form only?
No. The whole point of the GPL is that all modified versions must be free software—which means, in particular, that the source code of the modified version is available to the users.




What library are you using ? , there aren't that many libraries that use the GPL (Most use the far more permissive LGPL)

The GPL doesn't make any difference between commercial and non commercial works, so commercial software is fine, you still have to provide the full sourcecode to the software under the GPL license to anyone who buys or recieves a copy from you, at no additional cost.

This effectivly means that anyone who buys your software is allowed to not only modify or extend your software, but also to make their own copies and sell / give copies away. (Which makes it fairly difficult to keep your software commercially viable, your first customer will be legally allowed to give your code away for free or sell it at a lower price than you) (The GPL however only applies to the code, so you can keep art assets under a different licence)

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Quote:
Original post by SimonForsman
What library are you using ? , there aren't that many libraries that use the GPL
That's a pretty massive generalisation to make. If you look outside games-related things, LOADS of libraries/software uses full GPL.

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or more precisely the LGPL which is massively used for open source libraries and made for it

http://www.opensource.org/licenses/lgpl-2.1.php
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/lgpl-3.0.html

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With the GPL you have to release your code but there is no reason you can't sell the game assests to go with the game under a restrictive license. An argument could be made those are more valuable then the code anyway. And while anybody can buy your game release their own version for sale they would have to create all new art assets for it. If they did release it with your art you have grounds to sue them.

Of course this way there is little you can do about cheating. If its a single player game then its no big deal if they hack their own game. But if you are planning on leader boards or a real online community you are going to have some problems.

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I need to elaborate a bit on this issue. I recently figured out I need to inter operate (better) with a GPL'd system. I do not plan to use any code but I clearly need to incorporate many concepts, at some stage, from the GPL'd code. Some of those mandate special behaviors.

So, my plan was to look at the GPL code, understand it and replicate from scratch something else producing compatible results. However, some behaviors are rather detailed and probably doesn't allow much "forms". The definition of "modified" seems very vague.

I am probably worrying too much, yet I believe that for some pieces of code GPL could actually be worse than patents... yes, I wrote that!

Further comments are welcome.

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