Defender Of The GNU/LGPL Threatens Project Zomboid

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Complete Article UPDATE
It turns out this was not anyone trying to defend a license, but a malicious person trying to get source code from Project Zomboid for their own use. This person has attacked the developers multiple times using licensing as a sword and laughed in their face about being in Russia so their lawyers apparently can't touch them.

The developers complied with all licensing the day it was reported and all offending code was removed, you cannot ask for more. A license is NOT a contract to force people to open up their own code. I say it again, there is no issues now other than the developers getting abuse.

This has caused the developers to get multiple emails a day about the same thing. From supposedly Linux users threatening the developers giving us all a bad name.

Things like this are unacceptable.

Original Article:
QuoteSomething I would like to highlight to you all today is the annoyance of licensing zealots that causes unneeded grief for people.

Project Zomboid is the game in question today and for a really stupid reason. The developers left something laying around unused from when they first started with Java. This was a single file that wasn't actually used.

This person decompiled their code to find this out. The developers actually said this person could continue to look for today only, but after that they would be breaking their license to which the accuser suddenly started saying they didn't decompile the code.
The person also threatened to put their code up on the internet and threatened to contact Steam and the FSF about it and saying they can "be quiet" about it for now while they make their demands.
This is before the developers even had a chance to reply.

Demanding things like seeing the rest of their code, then arguing that they should still be open-sourcing their code and generally annoying the developers.

The developers quickly removed the "offending" code to prove their point when this all came up.

People like this are not good for the community, they are a nuisance and this kind of behaviour has to stop. It makes people steer clear of the LGPL and not think highly of it.

Yes sticking to licenses is very important, but attacking a developer and threatening them before they get a chance to explain is downright horrible.

All of this on a Sunday when most developers will be having at least one day off, come on "Defender Of The GNU" take a break once in a while. The LGPL isn't a bad license, but zealots like this ruin it for me.

Personally I much prefer the more open MIT license which stops issues like this.

Edit: As it turns out the guy wasn't trying to defend anyone, he had his own agenda and was trying to force the developers to give him their code. Not cool.
Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial
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22 comments
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Liam Dawe 18 May, 2014
Quoting: MetallinatusI saw the first page of the linked thread and I saw nothing wrong actually.
The guy just demanded the source codes he have the rights to see, he was polite and all, did nothing wrong at all....
Then I saw the other pages and DAMN!... Hell did brake loose in there....
So, the guy is right to ask for the licenses to be respected and all and the devs were "wrong" by not be respecting it.... but this guy sureeeeeeeeeely went over the limit....
None of them was right after all, but everything could just have gone much more pacific than it was.

There's asking for a license to be respected.

Then there's threatening a developer with the FSF, Steam and threatening to release their source code. Before they can explain it.

This is all noted in my article...
Hamish 18 May, 2014
Quite frankly I have seen the same or worse by people trying to demand a Linux version of a game. The problem is people, and not a preference of license.

It should also be pointed out that the license in question is the LGPL, not the GPL itself as is claimed by the article, which is more in line although not the same as the MIT license which is Liam's preference in this instance.

Further, if he had gone to the FSF nothing would have come of it as they know their license, as was pointed out in the thread through this link with quotes from Eben Moglen:
http://lwn.net/Articles/61292/

About the only entity that could have actually threatened them based on that threat is Valve, and they seem rather slow on acting on more serious copyright violations anyway.
Metallinatus 18 May, 2014
Quoting: sgtGarciaGood that he pointed possible GPL license violation, so the guys could remove that code, but threatening devs & breaking their license is just plain stupid.

He's ret arded to the point, he don't see his own hypocrisy :/

And yeah
Quoting: GoCorinthiansJava
uhhh
Yuck... ;)

Actually, he didn't brake their license.... the devs decided to change the license after all that confusion started, so it would not happen again (which I think it was a wrong way to deal with that too), so what he did was totally legal when he did.
lemmy101 18 May, 2014
Metallinatus: I agree, and as you see from the first page we were happy to comply, despite the disruption it would cause. We don't want to be seen to be using people's hard work without due credit and the whole mess was just a misunderstanding. It was the subsequent arguments, as well as comments he was found to have made in our IRC at the point that thread was posted where he was threatening to have us removed from Steam over it, and also his PMs asking for me to send HIM the code, not release it publicly.

It transpired it's some Russian guy who's been decompiling our code to learn game development stuff, and it really seems to me a ploy to try and extort the PZ source code for his own use. Considering also, I'll share with you this little quote after I changed the license rules for our game to forbid decompilation (with special dispensation for the guy to confirm we'd fixed the issues he described)

"Dont let me over persuade you and reversing PZ just 4 lulz. I'm living in Russia so your lawyers have no power here. I'm not looking for money profit, I'm looking for experience and reversing PZ will give it me"

So the same champion for justice making sure other people's licenses are respected has no qualms about breaking our own license agreement, even taunting us at his immunity from any action we might take to defend our license. So the list of reasons why I do not respect his motivations for raising this in the first place is growing ever larger.
Liam Dawe 18 May, 2014
Quoting: HamishIt should also be pointed out that the license in question is the LGPL, not the GPL itself as is claimed by the article, which is more in line although not the same as the MIT license which is Liam's preference in this instance.
Ah damn I went to a really old site of EasyWay Game Engine that listed GPL not LGPL. Ah well, the point is the same.
Metallinatus 18 May, 2014
Quoting: liamdawe
Quoting: MetallinatusI saw the first page of the linked thread and I saw nothing wrong actually.
The guy just demanded the source codes he have the rights to see, he was polite and all, did nothing wrong at all....
Then I saw the other pages and DAMN!... Hell did brake loose in there....
So, the guy is right to ask for the licenses to be respected and all and the devs were "wrong" by not be respecting it.... but this guy sureeeeeeeeeely went over the limit....
None of them was right after all, but everything could just have gone much more pacific than it was.
There's asking for a license to be respected.

Then there's threatening a developer with the FSF, Steam and threatening to release their source code. Before they can explain it.

This is all noted in my article...

Yep, that is what I meant by going way "over the limit".... as I said, everything could have been much more "pacific"
Metallinatus 18 May, 2014
Quoting: lemmy101Metallinatus: I agree, and as you see from the first page we were happy to comply, despite the disruption it would cause. We don't want to be seen to be using people's hard work without due credit and the whole mess was just a misunderstanding. It was the subsequent arguments, as well as comments he was found to have made in our IRC at the point that thread was posted where he was threatening to have us removed from Steam over it, and also his PMs asking for me to send HIM the code, not release it publicly.

It transpired it's some Russian guy who's been decompiling our code to learn game development stuff, and it really seems to me a ploy to try and extort the PZ source code for his own use. Considering also, I'll share with you this little quote after I changed the license rules for our game to forbid decompilation (with special dispensation for the guy to confirm we'd fixed the issues he described)

"Dont let me over persuade you and reversing PZ just 4 lulz. I'm living in Russia so your lawyers have no power here. I'm not looking for money profit, I'm looking for experience and reversing PZ will give it me"

So the same champion for justice making sure other people's licenses are respected has no qualms about breaking our own license agreement, even taunting us at his immunity from any action we might take to defend our license. So the list of reasons why I do not respect his motivations for raising this in the first place is growing ever larger.

I understand everything now.... what he asked was not wrong, but the way and the reason he did.... he really is no "good guy" after all :)
lane_support 18 May, 2014
Well to be honest, I haven't read the whole linked thread but just some ongoing post from the linked one. And it wasn't PZ specifically triggering my reply but the (imo) more general tone in this post against the "defenders of the GPL".

Liam, for me its simple: If you want to make cash with your software, pay close attention to remove license-restriced code before releasing it otherwise obey the rules or simply don't mess around with code like this in first place.

PZ violating the LGPL seem to be accidentially but I don't see any reason shooting at ppl finding oss-license violations in commercial applications as much as I don't see reasons to open up a big barrel in this particular case (i.e. demanding full source code access, threatening the developers with legal actions etc.).
Liam Dawe 18 May, 2014
@lane_support you don't get the point of my article at all.

Like I said in it:
QuoteYes sticking to licenses is very important, but attacking a developer and threatening them before they get a chance to explain is downright horrible.

That's the point. So, you think it's okay for random people to threaten developers over accidents? Then you are part of the problem. It's a code license and not a contract to be threatened with as pointed out by the Link Hamish provided.
lane_support 18 May, 2014
Its okay for "random people" to point out such violations be it acidentially or intentionally.

I don't see it being "downright horrible" by them not giving the developers "a chance to explain".

They just make the incident public and are not those in charge for mediation or taking actions. The later they can't anyways if they're not the copyright holders..

At last, I fail to see me being part of "the problem" as I don't see a general problem at all.

My bet for this particual case: As no harm was intended and no harm was done (as they didn't use any of the code in question at all) nothing will happen except some more rampage on various fora..
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