View Full Version : Open Source is scary

11-28-2007, 11:30 AM
There is a story over on Slashdot (http://games.slashdot.org/games/07/11/28/0328215.shtml) today about the PS2 game ICO supposedly using some GPL code. I don't know if it really is true or even if it is true I have no idea if it was an accident or intentional.

Anyways, the point I want to make is that this is one of the things that makes open source very scary for many companies and thus is one of the things that is holding back the open source movement. For those that don't know, at least for GPL, the general idea is that you are allowed to use other people's code that is under the GPL license as long as you release your modified source code.

That's sounds pretty reasonable, but what if you use 1000 lines of GPL code in your game that has 400,000 lines of code? Is that fair that you might be forced to release the source code to your entire game because you included a few GPLed procedures? This actually might be the case with ICO. In my opinion, this makes no sense whatsoever. It does make sense that you would have to release your source code for those 1000 lines again and any changes you made directly to them. Now if I remember correctly there are ways around some of this like using dlls, but that just causes other problems like needing a bunch of dlls or having porting problems.

Now I could have some of these details wrong, but that's another part of the problem. Unless you use the GPLed code perfectly, the open source community tends to jump up and down, make lots of noise, and then demand that you release ALL of your source code. For most companies this is much scarier than the actual benefit of using and contributing to GPLed code.