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Re: RFS: steam-powered

> Are there "free" games available on the steam plattform?

sadly there are no steam games that are free of cost.  however, it is
free of cost to run the steam application itself, to use it to browse
their pages, to use their communicator to chat with friends, and to
play no-cost game demos.

> I ask because the vast majority (if not all) of the software we have
> in contrib and non-free (or we have installers for in
> contrib/non-free) is at least free as in beer, i.e. it does not cost
> anything at least for some usage (e.g. non-commercial).

there are debian packages for wine, zsnes, dosbox, doom, quake2,
msttcorefonts, etc that make it possible/easy to install
commercial/non-free software on debian.  this steam-powered package is
very much the same.

> I don't think we want a package that has the sole purpose of making it
> easier for some company to earn money.

providing this package isn't about making it easier for a company to
make money (they are already making lots of money on windows users --
and linux users who run windows to play steam games).  it is about
making it easy for gamers use the os of their choice rather than the
one chosen for them by the game developer.  it is the classic catch
22.  to get more adoption, you need more software to meet diversified
needs, but to get more software, you need more adoption first. this
package will help to increase adoption by providing easy access a
highly popular and desirable piece of software.  it is important to
make it easy for the user to install the last pieces of commercial
software that are forcing them to use windows.

gamers are a tough crowd to please, but they represent a huge part of
the market (something like 90% of users play computer games).  if
commercial games were abundantly available, linux would finally be
able to support all of the needs of those 90% of users (versus less
than 5% of users whose needs are fully met today).  hence, debian
should make it possible and easy for users install and use commercial
games as well as free games.  remember that clause 4 of the Debian
Social Contract (http://www.debian.org/social_contract) states that

  Our priorities are our users and free software

  We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software
community. We will
  place their interests first in our priorities. We will support the
needs of our users for
  operation in many different kinds of computing environments. We will
not object to
  non-free works that are intended to be used on Debian systems, or
attempt to charge a
  fee to people who create or use such works.

the key point is that debian shall not object to non-free works.  in
fact, the contrib and non-free archives were set up because of this

> BTW, I belive the privacy policy of steam is not what would appeal to
> the average user of free software. I own Half Life 2 (came with my
> graphics card) but decided not to install it because of their privacy
> policy (though that was 2 years ago and might have changed).

the steam-powered installer displays the terms of the steam license
agreement and requires the user to either agree or decline (if
declined, the package will not be installed).   free software purists
should and will decline (but they will probably not be using the
contrib archive anyway).  users should not be forced to adopt only
free software.  they should be free to choose whether they wish to
take the pragmatic or idealogical road for all of their software.
most would agree that the core os should be free, but there will
always be a certain subset of needs not met by free software.  debian
should fully enable the user to fill that gap with non-free software
if they so choose (as required by the Social Contract).


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