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Re: Steam for Linux

On 15.02.2013 13:40, Boris Pek wrote:
> Hi team,
> Steam client is now available for Linux [1]. I have read "steam install
> agreement" (see attachment) and it looks suitable for non-free/games.
> Does anyone have an opposite opinion?
> I think tar.gz tarballs from [2] can be used to build our packages for Debian.
> [1] http://store.steampowered.com/news/9943/
> [2] http://repo.steampowered.com/steam/pool/steam/s/steam/
> If there are no objections I will open an ITP bug.

Hi Boris,

first of all, that's an interesting topic, thanks for mentioning it here
on the list.

The license of Steam for Linux is definitely non-free but at least it
allows distribution of the game client. I see Cesare's concerns with the
paragraph about "Export Controls" but in my opinion that does not limit
Debian's rights to distribute the game client. However it applies to all
end users who are located in Iran or North Korea for example because
they are the target of U.S. embargos. So you have to make sure that the
license is shown prominently to all users who install the client.

I bet most people who are reading this list are not lawyers. Hence i
would also ask debian-legal for advice and the ftp-masters because in
the end they decide what can be distributed or not.

Thus said, if i were you, i wouldn't package the steam client for linux
in its current form. Let alone the license, which is ugly, i think there
are other opportunities to promote these kind of game clients for Debian.

For example there is Desurium. [1] You can call it a competitor to Steam
but they target mainly indie and free software games. They don't promote
DRM but i cannot exclude that they also offer games which are subject to
DRM mechanisms. More importantly the game client is free software and is
licensed under the GPL. We have more control about the content which
they deliver and IMHO this is also more beneficial to all Debian users.

If you or anyone else intends to package Desurium, i'm interested in
helping out here.

I don't believe in good and evil software. I don't think Valve is evil.
They have finally discovered that Linux can be beneficial for their
business model and they don't want to lose more money to app stores led
by Microsoft or Apple, that's all.

In my book it's better users play non-free games on a free platform
rather than on Windows or Mac. In this regard i'm completely in line
with Richard Stallman. [2] The article is quite remarkable because he
also differentiates between free software and free game art. But i
strongly disagree with his image of humanity. In an ideal world it
wouldn't be necessary to hide the fact that non-free software exists,
people would simply choose the best of all solutions.



[1] http://bugs.debian.org/656903
[2] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/nonfree-games.en.html

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