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    I think I would have preferred the source code….

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      I could go either way on this. On the one hand, our intellectual property laws are horrible, and the game is 20 yrs old, so who cares?

      But, on the other, I’d be pissed if I lost my camera and someone decided to dump the contents on imgur.

      I think the reason there is any debate around this is because the owner is a giant, and successful game corporation, which seemingly has nothing to lose from sharing the source. But if that were actually true, why wouldn’t they on their own terms?

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        Many game publishers would rather have their game rot into obscurity and make no profits than share the code. Abandonware is so common these days. I think it’s mostly rooted in a bad theoretical perspective of how the software market works.

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          According to an IP lawyer friend of mine, software companies are often afraid that if their source gets out it will more likely be discovered that they accidentally infringed someone else’s IP in ways they weren’t even aware of.

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            This is the reason for most of the NDA’s in the hardware industry. It’s a patent minefield. Any FOSS hardware might get taken down. I don’t know as much about the software industry except that big players like Microsoft and Oracle patent everything they can. A quick Google looking for video game examples got me this article. Claims included in-game directions, d-pad, and unlocking secrets but I haven’t vetted this article’s claims by reading the patents or anything.

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            Many game publishers would rather have their game rot into obscurity and make no profits than share the code.

            I think it comes down to thing, actually: Do you believe in the betterment of society (sharing), or do you believe in maximizing profits (greed)? In the last 20 years, we’ve seen this go from strictly white and black, to a full color spectrum. Blizzard, even Microsoft, are somewhere in the middle, but neither of them have shared much of their core, profit producing, products.

            I think it’s mostly rooted in a bad theoretical perspective of how the software market works.

            Can you clarify a bit? I think what you’re saying might be similar to what I’m thinking… that the media industries have not yet adapted from “copies” sold as a metric of success, despite tons of evidence and anecdotes suggesting other ways to success.

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              We’re saying the same thing yes. It’s hard for businesses to realize that price discrimination can go down to $0 and you can still make a hearty profit.

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            I bet there’s a lot of code in there that’s still heavily used in their games today, so probably not accurate to say they have nothing to lose.

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              One would imagine! Though, the engines of 1998 vs. the engines of 2018 have probably changed quite significantly.

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          I find debate around this weird. This code is protected by a license, just like the Linux kernel is protected by a license (and the Linux kernel has 20 year old bits still protected by that license today). Anyone who would be angry with a company for violating the GPL should applaud sending the disc back. Agreeing with a license is different from honouring it, but we should honour others licenses just as we expect the open source code we love and use to be honoured.

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            It’s actually not hard to understand. If you support the GPL because it is a pragmatic way to, within our legal system, push for more software to be open source, then it is not inconsistent at all to also want people to violate proprietary licenses in order to make more software open source. You have a goal (people should be able to read the source code of software they use) and you use whatever means you have available to make that happen.

            The idea that this is hypocritical (not saying you are necessarily saying this, but it’s a common argument) is based on a particular liberal political philosophy (liberal as in the individualist, equal application of rules, not its use to mean further to the left on the political spectrum). Certain people take that political philosophy as somehow a ground truth, and then claim people are hypocritical if they don’t fit their beliefs into it.

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            I would’ve ripped the CD, put the code in my vault, and then returned it. This is the best of both worlds, with no harm done. Ripping the code of course not in the interest of publishing it, but just as an added security for history and knowledge not to get lost.

            When companies go out of business, things like this tend to get lost, and I’ve seen it very often. Having the source code lying around, and with a good backup policy, can preserve it for decades.

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              Starcraft 1 is still played a lot, making the source code public would almost certainly increase the number of cheaters in online games.