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Games occupy an interesting place for me in my general desire to avoid DRM and insist on only free software.

Games generally require very significant art assets. Things that are not part of the code behind the game. I'm OK with them not being free software, for the most part. Though I think game engines should be made Open Source if it's at all practical.

I'm not really OK with them having DRM at all.

But Steam is about the best DRM there is. Its only real failings are that it makes it hard to share a game with your friends, and it relies on Steam to stay in business for your collection to remain viable. Both things are pretty important, but they do not especially interfere with the experience of playing a game.

OTOH, the most recent fiasco involving a particular organization I shall not mention that has a history and reputation of selling games that are DRM-free and cross-platform selling a ton of games that aren't really angers me.

I helped them build their brand because of their seeming commitment to cross-platform DRM-free games. It angers me to have them take all that loyalty and free advertising and then not actually do what they seemed to be promising to do.
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Ben Elgin's profile photoEric Hopper's profile photoDeidre Williams's profile photoAndres Soolo's profile photo
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But isn't "best DRM" a metric as useless as "the most serious clown" or "the quietest thumbscrew"?
 
Eh. It seemed weird when I saw it, but they're very up-front about what it is. If this sort of thing started outnumbering "real" indie bundles I'd worry, but so far I have trouble getting too worked up about it.
 
Genuine question: why do you insist on free software?
 
+Deidre Williams - First, to be clear I'm talking about free software, not software available for no monetary cost. And I have several reasons for this that I'll detail when I'm at my laptop and not my phone.
 
+Deidre Williams - So, free software is distinguished by several things. First, it doesn't have any restrictions on either use or redistribution. Second, it comes with source code which is also freely redistributable, and also allows modified versions to be freely redistributable.

I insist on this because it is the only way I can have sovereignty over my own stuff. If I run software that isn't free it may do something I don't want it to do, but it becomes very hard to change without source code, and illegal to change without the right to modify it. And if I can't share my modified versions, then if a lot of people have the same problem I do, they are each isolated islands responsible for fixing it themselves. It can be an insurmountable barrier to fixing the issue.

The business model of almost all companies that sell non-free software is to find some way of trapping you into using their stuff through a combination of techniques. They make sure the barrier to switching is made artificially high by using their legally granted control over you and your computer's behavior to leverage the creation of technical barriers that are difficult to surmount.

For example, Microsoft Word has a proprietary document format. They've recently released a spec for an 'open document format' because of pressure from european governing bodies, but that spec is a joke as it contains things like "use word 97 formatting" without specifying what that means in any detail. It is very difficult to cleanly import Microsoft Word documents because Microsoft refuses to publish a useful spec that would allow you to do so. And you aren't given the code for Microsoft Word, and that makes it very difficult to reverse engineer the document format from the program's behavior.

If it were free software, the parts that deal with the document format could be cut out and used in other free programs. Microsoft would have a much harder time creating artificial barriers to switching away from Microsoft Word.

And that's just one example. The world of proprietary software is absolutely chock full of stories that are more or less similar. In order for software users to have real freedom, the software they use must be free.

I think it is immoral for these artificial barriers to exist. They are using the law to distort or destroy the free market. And in some cases I feel that proprietary software is tantamount to taxation.

Is it possible to ply your trade as a graphic artist without paying Adobe money? It is, if you use all free software. But very few schools teach that, and you would be running against the grain of the industry which would make things a bit more difficult for you. But the alternative is basically an Adobe tax on graphic designers. It's a situation that I don't understand why they are at all willing to put up with.

Does that help? Does it also help in showing why I give games something of a pass as they are typically not functional works where these kinds of traps are relevant?

I might also recommend that you read this: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
 
+Deidre Williams: As a kid of the 1980s who has spent countless cheerful hours disassembling, reading, and editing code that came in binary only, was poorly documented and sometimes deliberately obfuscated, I can tell you that the reason +Eric Hopper would discriminate against un-free software is quite clear.  You see, he's an evil person who hates children and wants to deny them their innocent illegal fun of breaking copy protection DRM.
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