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Re: scummvm dependent games: non-free?

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jens persson wrote:
> Hello,
> What I found strange and RC, (but haven't acted upon yet) is that I
> could not find any source. the upstream package just contains binary
> file (queen.1c for Flight of the Amazon Queen) that is copied into the
> package. I haven't looked into scummvm if there is a tool to decompile
> the game into something more sutable for change.

I asked the ScummVM developers via IRC about the source of the two
"freeware" games (for my own curiosity; IANADD), and they provided much
useful information:

* The sources for the original game programs are not going to be
  released, but the original game programs are not needed to run the
  games with ScummVM.

* The sources for the game scripts are no longer available, even to the
  original game developers.  However, the format of these scripts are
  specified by the ScummVM source.  Based on this, they could be
  decompiled, changed, and recompiled, by writing tools to do so.

* The other resources are already in a suitable format for modification,
  except for being part of a disk image.  There are tools to extract
  the resources from the image, such as queenrebuild.  The formats of
  the resources are specified by the ScummVM source.

For more information, see the #scummvm IRC log at:
Grep for JoshTriplett to find the relevant discussion.

Based on this information, I would say that other than being packed into
a game image, the data is already in a format usable for modification;
this format is well-specified by the Free code in ScummVM that uses it.
The game data could be extracted, modified, and recompiled, if someone
wanted to modify it.  That's not exactly ideal, but many other old
emulated programs are in the same situation: no source is available
anymore, and there are enough people around that don't need source to
modify them, so what's available should be considered the source.  I
believe that there was previous discussion debian-legal about this
issue, and the conclusion was that if a given format is the _only_
format available, even to the original developers, then it must be the
preferred form for modification.

- - Josh Triplett
Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Debian - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


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